TCA graduates encouraged to follow true superheroes

By Rose O’Connor, Correspondent

TURNED TASSEL • Graduates of Trenton Catholic Academy, Hamilton,from left, Camryn Neary, Carla Lopez, Taylor Griffith, Katrina Rivera and Sulyvette Almodovar get ready to flip their tassels during the commencement exercises May 30. Joe Moore photos

“I am here tonight, not as your commencement speaker, I’m with you tonight as your Bishop … God has a message for you and he wants me to give it,” said Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., as he presided over the Baccalaureate Mass for Trenton Catholic Academy in St. Anthony Church, Hamilton, May 30, prior to commencement exercises.

Photo Gallery: TCA Baccalaureate Mass/Graduation 2018

In his homily, the Bishop reflected on the three virtues of faith, hope and love, presenting them as three messages from God

“God’s word to you, graduates, is simple. What he says to you, he also says to everyone who surrounds you in this happy time, no matter where their life has been or where your life will lead. God’s three messages to you are an invitation, an encouragement, a challenge, a comfort, a goal presented ‘special delivery’ through Christ Jesus, Our Lord. You are graduating from Catholic school but not from your Catholic religion. Bring it with you wherever you go.”

Following the Baccalaureate Mass, 54 graduates listened to the words of classmates, beginning with Class of 2018 Salutatorian, Camryn Neary.

“The bond that we have with our teachers and classmates … are the bonds from which we thrived,” said Neary, who will attend Stockton University, Galloway Township, in the fall to study marine biology.

Among those he thanked, Valedictorian Keneth Arias noted his teachers. “In some way, you have all taught me something and helped me get through high school. I appreciated the time and welcomed the guidance you took in shaping us. You are truly modern day heroes,” he said.

Arias, one of only 10 recipients for the $4,000 TCNJ Global Experience Award, will attend The College of New Jersey, Ewing, where he will study computer science in the fall.

St. Joseph Sister Dorothy Payne, president of Trenton Catholic Academy, addressed the group one final time, focusing on the yearbook, which had a superhero theme.

“My concern for you is very simply, who is your super hero? Who do you wish to imitate? The world we live in offers you many opportunities to make choices… I pray that you choose wisely and listen to the advice of true superheroes,” she said.

JoAnn Tier, diocesan superintendent of Catholic Schools, congratulated graduates and shared advice for the future. “There will be instances that call for personal courage and conviction, the courage to stand apart rather than go along with the crowd. You are an Iron Mike at all times. The strength and fortitude to do great things will always be a part of the climate of your lives,” Tier said.

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