Dear Catholic High School Graduates of the Class of 2011,
God is good! You have now graduated from your Catholic high school and are ready to begin the next great journey of your life. This year, I had the pleasure to attend several graduation ceremonies at Archdiocesan high schools. I found these events to be both moving and impressive. For me, it was powerful to witness your many successes and accomplishments, knowing fully that most of you have attended Catholic schools since pre-school or kindergarten. Overall, the class of 2011 set a new standard of excellence amongst our high schools. Consider the following statistics:
• Approximately 3,300 seniors graduated from the 22 Catholic high schools of the Archdiocese.
• Over 98% of these seniors will attend college in the fall.
• Approximately 60 seniors were named National Merit Finalists and about 45 were named National Merit Semi-Finalists (the specific numbers are still coming in).
• In total, the class of 2011 was offered over $235 million in scholarships to college.
Not only have I been impressed by your academic achievements, but I have been moved by your commitment to the Catholic faith and serving others around you. Many of you spoke eloquently about how your faith was awakened during your years of high school. You passionately described your experiences at school Masses, Kairos retreats, service trips, and other events. A few of you even spoke to me about potential vocations to the priesthood or religious life.
You have my sincerest gratitude for your hard work and accomplishments over the past four years. As you move into adulthood, the world will challenge you in new ways. It is vital that you stay connected to your families, your friends, and your high school. Most importantly, you must remain connected to your faith. You must let your faith be the bedrock of your life; by keeping the Light of God aflame within you, you will be well equipped to overcome obstacles and stay close to God’s plan for you. No matter what vocation you ultimately accept, I challenge you to make prayer a constant part of your life, participate in Masses and other sacraments, and cultivate a close relationship to Christ.
You will accomplish great things in your life. Know that I pray for you daily. Know, as well, that your parents are owed a tremendous amount of gratitude for their many sacrifices for you. Remember to stay grateful.
You will always be a child of God. May he continue to bless you, and grant you many years of happiness and fulfillment.
With Great Love and Highest Hopes,