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Fr. Spitzer sends Christendom College students off with three pieces of advice

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Christendom College in Front Royal awarded a record 127 degrees to graduating students during its 40th commencement weekend May 10-12. The college honored Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer, author, with the St. Peter Canisius Award; and author Janet Smith with an honorary doctorate. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the baccalaureate Mass.

Father Spitzer delivered the commencement speech, discussing his experience in Catholic education from his days as a student to his time as president at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. He left the graduates with three pieces of advice: look for the contributive before the comparative; look for the good news in others before the bad news; and live for Jesus every day, conditioning everything the world says through him.

“I assure you of this. These three pledges every morning will bring you sanity, they’ll bring you salvation,  they’ll bring you protection from your spiritual enemy, the devil, and they’ll bring you tremendously good relationships, tremendously good leadership potential and, at the end of the day, a happy life — not just happy in this world, but happy in the beatific vision with Our Lord Jesus Christ and with one another in heaven forever,” he said.

During his homily at the baccalaureate Mass, Bishop Burbidge congratulated the Class of 2019 for their success and called them to contribute to the church and society.

“Your diploma is a result of your hard work, your dedication and your perseverance,” Bishop Burbidge said. “When people say to you, ‘Congratulations,’ they really mean it. Well done. Accept those words, but do so with a spirit of humility, knowing that all you have accomplished has been with the help and grace of God.

“Your education, dear graduates — and you should be very proud of this — was not just informative but formative, preparing you not just for the rest of your life here but for eternal life,” he said.

Christendom President Timothy O’Donnell closed the May 11ceremonies by calling the graduates to action.

“My charge to you, Class of 2019: Be men and women of courageous faith,” he said. “Do not be timid, be bold. Be a light in the darkness. Our troubled world is so in need of a powerful, spirit-filled witness.

Please, always remember as you go from here, that you are a child of God. That is your greatest freedom, your greatest dignity. Always remember that he loves you personally, perfectly, infinitely and intimately, and he joyfully beckons you to not just gaze at his heart but to enter into the mystery of his heart. He longs to give you all the grace, all the strength, all the courage you will need in your young life.

May you go forth from us today filled with the Lord’s courage and in the joy of the risen Lord on your mission to restore all things in Christ. Know that our hearts and our prayers will be with you every step of the way.”

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019