Words every Catholic graduate should contemplate

| June 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

One of the dismissal options at Mass reads: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”

It’s a wonderful way of acknowledging that our commitment to the faith doesn’t end when we finish singing the last hymn at Sunday Mass. After exiting the church doors, we are called to live out our faith in our daily lives, bringing the Good News to our families, workplaces, schools and communities.

We would all do well to recall those words daily. But they serve as a particularly fitting reminder for this year’s class of graduating seniors, many of whom are about to leave the doors of their home and embark on the next stage of their lives at colleges and universities across the country.

Over the course of the next few years, these young adults will be focused on choosing the right major so they can have successful careers and financial security. Many earnestly want to make the world a better place to live.

All of these are wonderful goals. But the words from the close of Mass also are a reminder that, no matter what we do, our lives should also serve God and his Church. We are all called to live in synch with the Gospel values that form the heart of our faith and not be afraid to share those values with the rest of the world.

Integrating faith and life

How can we help this year’s graduates to do that? First, we can help them stay connected to, and learn more about, their faith while they’re away at college, where a host of other ideas and values — some of them not healthy — will be competing for their attention. Parents can assist by helping students to connect with a school’s campus ministry program, Newman Center, local parish or organizations like St. Paul’s Outreach.

We can also help young adults think about integrating their Catholic faith with their majors and career choices. What does it mean to be a Catholic scientist? How should it impact one’s research choices and goals? What values should a Catholic business professional bring to the job? Should being a Catholic make any difference in the work of a web developer?

In other words, we need to assist young Catholics in thinking about how they will make their faith an integral part of what they do in the workplace and beyond — not in a proselytizing or in-your-face way, but in a way that promotes positive values and truly makes the world a better place by showing respect for human life and dignity and promoting the common good. Our faith, after all, should be part of who we are — 24/7, not just on Sundays.

Perhaps some young adults may even consider using their talents and skills after college in ministry positions that help to form the next generation of Catholic leaders in society and the Church.

Whether or not your parish uses these words of dismissal at the end of Mass, this summer is a good time to talk about them with any graduates you have in the family. In fact, it would be good for the entire family to talk about what the words mean for us as Catholics.

Towalski is editor of The Catholic Spirit and publications manager for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

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Category: Editorials