5/2/12 | 871 views
‘A Beacon of Light’
The following is the text of remarks delivered by Kieffer Peralta of All Hallows High School in the Bronx, the student speaker at the Mass for High School Seniors celebrated by Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral April 25.
"Pro Fide Et Patria," which your Eminence knows means "For Faith and Country," has been the motto of All Hallows for 103 years. This phrase is currently instilled in the school’s more than 660 young men. An All Hallows graduate, as well as all of the graduates of the Catholic high schools represented here this morning, must proclaim and be witnesses to our Catholic identity; to stand in solidarity with those marginalized by poverty and injustice; to pursue excellence in all our endeavors; and as men and women of God, demonstrate leadership skills.
All Hallows is just one of many schools here today that witness to the excellence of a Catholic education. That tradition can be seen in its fullness in this cathedral. I am personally a proud member of the 100th graduating class of All Hallows High School.
We are all here representing our respective schools. Yet we are bound in the same cause as graduating seniors, taking the next steps in our lives. We are about to embark on a new journey that is sure to be filled with its hurdles. We all know the world that awaits us. We live in a time when fear is prevalent and morals and values no longer hold the high ground. These next steps in our lives won't be easy but it is with great joy that I say to you all, as brothers and sisters in Christ, that we seniors are well prepared to face what is beyond these doors.
With the upmost confidence I say that our Catholic education has prepared us for the future. Our education in love and faithfulness in Christ rivals no other. The value of what we have learned over the last four years is incomparable. Our Catholic education is similar to the "Valuable Pearl" mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew. What price tag can be put on an education that teaches us to embrace the poor and the sick, to feed the hungry and to stand up for the defenseless? In our classrooms we are taught to love and to be virtuous. We are taught to treat others with dignity, and to respect all human beings. A teacher may be able to teach us how to add and multiply but only Christ can teach us how to truly love. These essential elements that we have been taught are what allows me to say with confidence that we are prepared to be the next leaders of our future. These elements are what makes our education unlike any other. This solid concrete foundation is what will sustain us as we go along the journey.
For more than 200 years our beloved Archdiocese has stood firm as a beacon of light to all of us in the role that she has played in our education and that of countless others. For that we owe a debt of gratitude. We also must not forget those who have accompanied us along our four-year journey. Our education would not be possible with out the loving support of our parents, principals, teachers and, of course, you, Your Eminence.
Your Eminence, it is my honor on behalf of every graduating high school senior m the Class of 2012 to express to you our sincerest thanks. We thank you for being the guardian of our faith and education.
Might I even add that this graduating class and you, Your Eminence, share a special relationship. Four years ago in the month of September, we enrolled as new freshmen. A few months later in April you were installed as the new Archbishop of New York. Together we were beginning a new phase in our lives. Four years have passed and we are now graduating seniors, and you, Your Eminence, a newly created Prince of the Church. We are your first four-year graduating class and that my brothers and sisters is an honor. As we depart today humbly in service of our Lord, let's call to mind that we are called to serve Christ in everything we do. Our futures may be bright but remain uncertain, but hold confidence in the fact that Christ will always be there.
I leave you with a quote from Blessed Pope John Paul II "Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
Thank you, and may God bless us all and the Class of 2012.
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