This weekend I have the occasion to participate in the Commencement Exercises of our two Catholic Universities: Avila and Rockhurst. At Conception Seminary a special Mass similarly will mark the completion of the school year and bestowal of degrees in Philosophy. May and early June brings the end of the school year for thousands of our young people. I wish to offer prayerful best wishes to all of our students and school administration, faculty and staff. Congratulations to those who have reached milestones in their education: graduates of 8th grade and high school, college, and the completion of graduate degrees.
With God’s help you have persevered in realizing these significant accomplishments, and I pray you will continue to be guided in your next endeavors with a living faith. I commend our school leaders and teachers for the dedication and expertise by which you seek to form our youth. I thank you for regarding our students as holy persons who need and desire your best example and encouragement to grow intellectually, spiritually, and as mature and responsible men and women.
This weekend is also Mother’s Day, a wonderful occasion to reflect on the vocation of Mothers (and Fathers) who give their children life and faith. Parents are entrusted with a blessed dignity to protect, provide for, and form the lives of God’s precious children. They are not only caretakers of their children in a material sense. They must also be attentive to the eternal salvation and spiritual welfare of their sons and daughters.
A vital part of the care of our young people is their education and formation. Parents are the first educators and primary teachers of their children. The Church also has a role in the work of educating children. She must support and guide parents in this primary responsibility. I am grateful for the dedication of many of our parishes with schools and for the constant and significant support they provide for this important work. Many of our other parishes also fulfill pledges of financial support for these schools. They commit large portions of their parish income to prosper the program of Catholic education. They are parishes with the same bills and worries as other parishes. Alongside the parents, who make great sacrifices to keep their children in Catholic schools, these parishes accept heroic commitments to keep our schools going strong. I know it isn’t easy. I thank the pastors and contributing parishioners.
I cannot stress enough how the endeavor of Catholic education and the support of parents in the formation of youth is essential to the work of the Church. Without Catholic schools the Church would be more limited in fulfilling her mission of evangelization and catechesis. Statistics make clear that students who attend our schools are more likely to be actively engaged in the life of their parishes as adults.
As the school year draws to a close I thank you for all you do to help our schools fulfill their work of assisting parents and families.
On behalf of us all who are supremely grateful to God for the grace of our earthly Mothers, I extend a “Happy Mothers Day” to all our Moms.
Congratulations to our graduates, and to the administrators, faculty and staff of our schools. May you enjoy some rest and recreation this summer!