Janet Patterson
Freelance writer
June 8, 2018 // Schools

Bishop Dwenger graduates called to lives of service

Janet Patterson
Freelance writer

When the 265 graduates of the Bishop Dwenger High School Class of 2018 walked across the stage at the Embassy Theatre Friday evening, May 25, 40 percent of them joined a family tradition … becoming a Dwenger alum. In fact, some of the graduates are the third generation of their families to be educated at the diocesan high school that was founded in 1964.

Like those who graduated in the 51 years since the first Dwenger commencement, the most recent alums were encouraged to live their lives in a way befitting the Dwenger tradition.

“Jesus is calling you to leave your mark in life, your mark on history, both your own and that of so many others,” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades said to the class during a baccalaureate Mass on May 23.

Invoking the words of the first reading at the Mass, Bishop Rhoades quoted St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: “Let your love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.”

Graduates of Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne, throw their caps in the air following a baccalaureate Mass May 23 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. — Katie Burns

He cited the example of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth after the Annunciation. The aging Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist, and Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, hurried to her side. “She literally brought Jesus to Elizabeth’s home,” Bishop Rhoades continued, pointing out that Mary saw a need and answered the call to help her cousin during that time.

Recalling Pope Francis’ message at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, two years ago, he quoted, “Mary is not the type that, to be comfortable, needs a good sofa where she can feel safe and sound. She is not a couch potato!”

“Like the young Virgin Mary,” Bishop Rhoades added, “you are called to go out, to live lives of service, and not to be self-absorbed.”

During the commencement Friday evening, salutatorian Ryan McArdle echoed the message of service by encouraging his fellow graduates to “never sell ourselves to the whims and cares of this world. For it is only by holding fast to what makes us unique that we will each and every one of us make this world a better … place to live.”

Paying tribute to his classmates and the staff and faculty of Dwenger, he reminded them, “In truth, we have all been blessed to have been surrounded with such an incredible group of people, to have been able to understand other viewpoints, and at times, to question our own beliefs.”

McArdle, who will attend the University of Notre Dame next year, said that their education at Bishop Dwenger was “not only of the mind, but of the heart and soul.”

In addition to McArdle, speakers during the commencement included Senior Class President Colin Stroud, student body president Margaret Schroeder and valedictorian Elizabeth Roy.

As a final sendoff to fellow graduates and their families, a chorus of singers from the graduating class sang the song, “A Million Dreams” from the movie, “The Greatest Showman.”

Among their contributions to Bishop Dwenger High School, the Class of 2018 donated a large nativity scene to the school. The figures were delivered last fall and set up during Advent and the Christmas season in the front hall of the school where students pass each day.

Bishop Rhoades’ final blessing and commission to the graduates was to “Go forth and glorify the Lord with your light.”

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