June 15, 2016

46th Commencement

Last night, the 46th graduating class of Trinity High School was sent into the world.  The ceremony was held in the Sullivan Arena at Saint Anselm College and as always, began with a sort of receiving line for the graduates.  Each year, the faculty and staff line up and shake the hands of, offer a hug to, and say goodbye to every graduate.  Ironically, this custom began many years ago because the principal at the time was worried that the students might have engaged in some extracurricular activities before the ceremony and he wanted to be sure!  Now of course it's a poignant send-off to our newest alumni.

I was honored to offer the opening prayer and before so, spoke of Saint Katharine Drexel.  Drexel was a 19th century wealthy native of Philadelphia who was concerned about the plight of African-Americans and Native Americans.  She visited Pope Leo XIII in 1887 asking for help with her efforts and his response to her was, "What about you?  What are you going to do about it?"  I told the students that they are about to enter a world that needs so much help and my question to them is the same question from Pope Leo XIII - What about you?  What are you going to do about it?  Jesus Christ, I told them, is no longer physically here and it's up to them, to me, and to all of us to carry on His mission and to be Christ to others and to bring His light to the world.  That is why they left the Abbey Church the night before at their Baccalaureate Mass carrying lighted candles, to symbolize their call to be the light of Christ.

For our prayer, then, I prayed the great prayer of St. Teresa of Avila "Christ has no body."  I had planned to read it off my phone but the internet connection in the arena was horrible.  So, I scribbled down the the words on the cover of the program and I wasn't able to read one of the words I wrote (it was "change")!  One of the monks at Saint Anselm Abbey said I write like a mass murderer, I guess he's right!  Our chaplain Fr. Richard Dion offered the final prayer and a final blessing for the newest alumni of Trinity High School.

Here is the St. Teresa of Avila prayer in full:

Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything. Whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.

No comments:

Post a Comment