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Cardinal, Catholic writer address Christendom grads

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Christendom College in Front Royal celebrated commencement weekend May 12-14, awarding 109 bachelor of arts degrees and honoring the Vatican’s Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal Gerhard Müller and Mary Ellen Bork, Catholic writer and lecturer.


Cardinal Müller celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass on Friday, received an honorary doctorate during the commencement ceremonies on Saturday, and delivered the commencement address. Bork was awarded Christendom’s St. Catherine of Siena Award. 

The cardinal honored the graduates and the Christendom community with his presence over the weekend, spending time individually with countless families. During his commencement address, he focused on Christian anthropology, inspiring graduates to recognize Christ in others as they now enter into a fuller participation with society.

“The Father wills that, in all men, we recognize Christ our brother and love Him effectively in word and in deed,” said Cardinal Müller. “By thus giving witness to the truth, we will share with others the mystery of the heavenly Father’s love. As a consequence, men throughout the world will be aroused to a lively hope, the gift of the Holy Spirit, that someday at the last they will be called up in peace and utter happiness to that fatherland radiant with the glory of the Lord. The summary of all natural and Christian anthropology is to say ‘dare to be great’ in the grace of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

After receiving the St. Catherine of Siena Award, Bork praised Christendom for its education and for its outstanding faculty, encouraging the graduates to go out and become diplomats and guides for all those looking for Christ in society today.

“This award reveals the soul of Christendom College, and I would like to say that we can emulate St. Catherine of Siena in two ways: her peacemaking ability and her fidelity to the life of prayer,” said Bork. “We too are standing against today’s forces of dissolution, and we will have many opportunities to encourage peaceful solutions to problems whether they be familial, political, or societal, knowing that we are rooted in Christ and in the treasures of the Catholic tradition.

“My wish is that you may be diplomats, peacemakers and guides to all those who are looking for the bridge that is Christ. The world needs you. As Catherine famously said, ‘Be all that you can be and you will set the world on fire.’ ”

Closing the ceremony, college President Timothy O’Donnell delivered his charge to the graduates.

“May you always carry this concrete reality of what is true, beautiful, good and knowable in you wherever you go,” he said. “May you always bear Christ and His Church joyfully in your heart, and when you encounter, as you will, toxic bubbles, which have imprisoned your brothers and sisters, may you joyfully and confidently — a fruit of your education here — share the bursting forth of your bubble, with that strong breeze of the spirit and all the exuberance of the Gospel, that it may wash over them and guide them to the one who alone can set them free. Restore all things in Christ, and know that our hearts and prayers go with you,” he said.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017