Last night, we held our 46th Baccalaureate Mass at Saint Anselm Abbey Church. We have held the Mass at Saint Anselm for a number of years now and it is such a beautiful church (it's my favorite church). Usually Bishop Libasci and Bishop Christian celebrate the Mass, rotating every other year but this week all of the American bishops are meeting in California for their annual spring meeting. So our chaplain Father Richard Dion stepped in and was joined by our superintendent, Fr. John Fortin, OSB, and Fr. Richard Kelley, the pastor of St. Christopher Parish in Nashua.
The Mass is a "typical" Mass but begins with the graduates and the faculty processing in followed by the opening hymn and the procession of servers and priests. We used the Mass settings for the Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua as it was his feast day but for the readings we used Sirach 1:1-10 (about Wisdom) and Matthew 5:1-12 (the Beatitudes). Gabrielle Fitzgerald '16 proclaimed the first reading and Fr. John read the gospel.
In his homily, Fr. Richard told the students that people will often think they are crazy in some respect. But, he said, people thought people like Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II were crazy for wanting to do what they did and they changed the world. He also had all the parents stand and sing "Que Sera Sera" even though Fr. Andrew Nelson and I told him the parents might not know the song! But, they belted out the refrain quite well!
Following communion, it is our custom to have two students (one boy and one girl) offer reflections about their experience at Trinity High School. This year Irean Ali '16 and Matthew McCahill '16 offered beautiful and poignant reflections. Both spoke of how Trinity wasn't their first choice for high school but coming here changed them and now they can't imagine leaving. Irean focused on how she grew over the past four years to become prepared for college and Matt talked about how moving here from California and repeating his sophomore year was the best thing for him. Because he repeated a year, he couldn't play football his senior year. But, he said, not playing helped him refocus on his grades and his relationship with his parents and it was the best possible outcome.
Following the reflections, the choir sang a song of blessing as the seniors stood and held lighted candles. They carried the candles out in the closing procession to symbolize bringing the light of Christ into the world as they leave Trinity High School.
The Baccalaureate Mass is always quite beautiful and poignant. Tonight is our commencement which we hold at Saint Anselm College's Sullivan Arena.