“Make the world a good place,” said Bishop Crosby in words of encouragement to graduating students at a special mass in their honour.
“You are young, you are energetic, you are full of new and creative ideas, and you are good. The world needs you to get out there and make a difference, a positive difference.”
The bishop was celebrating a Graduates’ Mass at St. Mary Pro Cathedral on May 16 attended by more than 400 graduating students from the board’s seven Catholic secondary schools.
“When your life is about to change in such a major way, it’s always a good time to pray,” said Bishop Crosby. “In the midst of all the excitement and in preparation for graduation and whatever the future holds, it is a good time to give thanks for what has been.”
Emphasizing the importance of gratitude, he offered as the key takeaway from the day’s mass: “If you want to happy, be grateful.”
During these final days of high school, he urged students to express thanks often – to their parents who raised and supported them, to their teachers who encouraged them and helped them discover their unique talents and skills, and to the friends they’ve made over the years.
“Not only will your simple words mean a lot to them, they will help you realize that the world is a pretty good place after all. And there are many people who every day help make it the good place it is, and so do you.”
Noting that gratitude is just one of the intended outcomes of the graduates’ mass, the bishop added that “a second thing we do while we’re here is to pray that God will support the good things we do now, that God will help us find work, keep us safe in all we do, give us courage when we are afraid, support us in the particular difficult challenges we might be facing, listen to us as we confide our deepest thoughts, or as we try to work out and understand that particularly difficult concern.”
In short, God provides encouragement for what lies ahead.
The third thing that we do, said Bishop Crosby, is pray “that God will guide us as we move into an unknown future, that God will watch over us, love us and keep us safe as we move forward confidently.”
Remember the past with gratitude. Live the present with enthusiasm. Move forward confidently.
Gratitude. Enthusiasm. Confidence.
These are the watchwords that bring focus to our life.
“Graduates, it is my prayer that you leave school with the fundamental conviction that God calls you to go about doing good, making a difference, using the gifts and talents and skills that are yours to make the world a better place for all,” said the bishop.
“Go about using the great education you’ve received as the springboard for a full and happy life spent for others. Live so that others have a better life because of your goodness.”
As the mass ended, Director of Education David Hansen added his own thanks – to the Bishop for celebrating the mass and for his ongoing support, to the organizers for arranging the day’s mass, and to the students, a graduating class unlike any other.
“When I take you back to your grade 9 year,” he addressed the graduates, “that March of 2020, the world changed forever.”
There has only been one other time in history – the second world war – where a graduating class could claim the same level of disruption to their learning.
“When the story is written of COVID and all that happened, you are the graduating class that experienced octomesters and quadmesters and masks, and all the things that we asked you to do.”
Theirs will be a story of resilience, incredible patience and incredible courage, he continued. In the midst of it, they carried on with faith celebrations, proms, clubs and sports, and everything else that is part of high school.
As their high school comes to an end, the days ahead will bring new discoveries, he added, quoting Mark Twain: “There are two great days in life: the day you’re born, and the day you figure out why.”
“You’ll continue to find out the ‘why’ of your life as you leave us and go on to the great things you’re going to do.”
He urged the students to remember Jesus’ final words to his apostles upon his Ascension: “I am with you until the end of the age.”
“As you go through life, take that with you.”