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'Love is the answer'

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“You, the new graduates, future politicians, artists, physicians, architects, lawyers, business men and women — you are also called to transform the world, to build a better world. It is a fact, it is history, it is your calling,” Colina said during Catholic U.’s 130th annual commencement.

Colina shared his experience of being a journalist. When he started his career in 1991, he asked himself, “What’s the difference between a Christian or Catholic journalist and any other journalist?” He said it wasn’t a better set of skills or professional ethics as the rules of journalism are the same for everyone. He found his answer through Jesus Christ, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Colina said love would transform the graduates’ next steps in life as professionals. And for Christians, he reminded the graduates, this means loving even one’s enemies. 

“Loving one’s enemies changes everything. If your ‘enemy’ feels that you stand up for the truth and for what is good, and that you respect him, that you even love him, he will be able to listen, to read what you write, to open his mind. If the enemy feels that you are simply opposing him and nothing more, he will never entertain the idea of listening to you, much less of changing his ways,” said Colina.

“Now you know what makes you unique: love. If you really love, you will transform your environment, you will transform America, you will transform the world.”

Speaking from the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, Colina was joined by three people who have contributed to society and the church and were recognized with honorary degrees, including: Michael Thomasian, principal of St. Anthony Catholic School in Washington; Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V., superior general of the Sisters of Life; and Russell Shaw, longtime journalist and author.

Entrepreneurs Art and Carlyse Ciocca both received honorary degrees in a private ceremony earlier this year.

In his remarks, Catholic U. President John Garvey encouraged graduates to consider the good they can achieve through the virtue of constancy.

“I want your spouse and children and your friends to be able to say: ‘He or she was someone I could depend on,’” Garvey said. “Be constant. Be true to God, your neighbor and yourself.”

Before the closing of the ceremony, the Catholic U. honored Thérèse-Anne Druart, professor of philosophy and university marshal, with the Shahan Medal for Service. Druart retires this year after serving more than 30 years as a professor and more than 15 years as university marshal.

Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry Father Jude DeAngelo, O.F.M. Conv., offered the benediction.

“Graduates today and yesterday have served in at least seven foreign wars, they have been priests and religious who have graduated. They have been lay men and women who have given honor to their chosen professions. And the growth of knowledge and wisdom in the study and betterment in humanity,” said DeAngelo. “May these new graduates continue this legacy of working for the common good of society, renewing Holy Mother Church as well as building the kingdom of justice and peace that Christ commands us. In a special way we pray for all of our lay men and women graduating today, help them never to forget their Christian vocation to transform the world by bringing the gospel to their families, their friends, their communities and their professions.”

Catholic U. conferred approximately 1,620 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees during the ceremony. Other graduation events held over commencement weekend included the honors convocation and the baccalaureate Mass, both held May 17 at the shrine.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019