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Football’s Lou Holtz honored during commencement

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Christendom College in Front Royal celebrated commencement May 15, awarding 121 undergraduate degrees to the Class of 2021. Legendary college football coach Lou Holtz was honored during the ceremony and awarded the Pro Deo et Patria Award for Distinguished Service to God and Country before he delivered this year’s commencement address.

Holtz began his commencement address by encouraging the members of the Class of 2021 to count their blessings after being able to spend four years at a school like Christendom.

"I want to tell you the most important thing: count your blessings," said Holtz. "You were able to go to a great Catholic college, where you were able to express your faith and go to Mass every day. You were so fortunate here — don’t take that for granted."

In his address, Holtz emphasized the need to always pursue excellence and never settle for simply remaining comfortable. Instead, Holtz called graduates to always seek to improve their lives — spiritually, personally and professionally.

"Life is nothing more than making good choices," said Holtz. "How can you make sure you make good choices? You only have to follow three simple rules your whole life: do what’s right, do everything to the best of your ability and show people you care. God did not put us on this earth to be average."

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass for graduates and their families May 14. In remarks made before the Mass, Bishop Burbidge joined the graduates in thanking God for the blessings given to them during their time at Christendom. 

"Dear graduates, I am joining you in thanking God for the many blessings he has showered upon you during your time here at the college. For giving you the strength and the perseverance when you needed it to respond to the high academic standards and academic integrity of this institution," said Bishop Burbidge. "And yet, you know you did not do so alone. You did it by the grace of God and through the help of so many people. And so with you, dear graduates, I join you at this Mass in thanking your dear parents, everyone in the administration here at Christendom College for the many ways they inspired you, helped you and supported you. Together at this Mass, we pray for you."

Closing the ceremonies May 15, President Timothy O’Donnell delivered his charge to the graduates, encouraging them to keep Christ’s life, his mission and his teachings a priority as they go forward into the world.

"In your life, there will be many times when there will be rocks, there will be stones and even boulders put in your way, which may discourage you at times," said O’Donnell. "But remember, our Lord at his tomb removed the large stone which was trying to keep him sealed in. The large stone did not stop him: It will not stop you either."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021