June 12, 2013

And they're off

This past Monday and Tuesday we said our final goodbyes to the Class of 2013.  On Monday we had our Baccalaureate Mass at Saint Anselm Abbey Church and last night was our Commencement at Saint Anselm Sullivan Arena.

The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Francis Christian, the auxiliary bishop of Manchester (he and Bishop Libasci rotate saying the Baccalaureate Masses at the four Catholic high schools each year).  We were blessed to have four concelebrants - Msgr. Charles DesRuisseaux, Fathers Richard Dion, John Fortin, OSB, and Richard Kelley. In his homily Bishop Christian urged the students to live a life of meaning and to keep in mind that we are simply passing through.  Our choir was beautiful as always and added so much solemnity to the Mass.  Following the Mass, two students - Angelita Connell '13 and Patrick Taillon '13 - offered reflections.  They both had a common theme, Angelita never wanted to come to Trinity and Patrick wanted to transfer on two occasions.  But thanks to so many teachers, they came to love the community and the opportunities that presented themselves.

Following the reflections, the choir sang a song of blessing as each student received and lit candles.  After the blessing the students processed out of the church with the candles, symbolizing that as they leave us they are to go into the world and be the light of Christ.

We always begin our commencement with a sort of receiving line.  The faculty line up and the students process in and are greeted individually by each teacher.  It actually began about 20 years ago because a former principal was worried the students would be carrying in beach balls or other items and he did this as a way for the teachers to see that the kids didn't have any contraband on their person!  Luckily it evolved quickly into an opportunity for all of us to say goodbye and good luck one last time.  I was privileged to offer an opening prayer.  I brought with me the processional cross we use at our Masses to help introduce my prayer.  The right arm of Jesus broke off about a year ago and even after we fixed it, it fell off again.  Around the same time I heard a talk from the superintendent of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Memphis, TN who said she was reluctant to take on the job and asked Jesus to wrap His arms around her and help her.  Shortly thereafter she came across two crucifixes, both of which had no arms.  She took that as a message from Jesus that He was not going to wrap His arms around her, she had to be His arms.  I decided then to not put the arm back on our crucifix as a reminder to all of us that we too are to be Christ's arms.  After telling this story I prayed the following prayer by Mother Theresa:

Make us worthy Lord to serve our fellow men throughout the world,
who live and die in poverty and hunger.
Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread
and by our understanding love give peace and joy.
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.
That where there is hatred I may bring love,
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony,
That where there is error I may bring truth,
That where there is doubt I may bring faith,
That where there is despair I may bring hope,
That where there are shadows I may bring light,
That where there is sadness I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted,
To understand than to be understood,
To love than to be loved.
For it is by forgetting self that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,
it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.
Father Richard Dion concluded the commencement with a benediction and offered a final blessing to the newest alumni of Trinity High School.

Best of luck to the Class of 2013!  Please stay in touch.

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