May 29, 2024 // Bishop

Dwenger, Luers Grads Encouraged to Strive for Greatness

By Georgia Lieb and Joshua Schipper

Ahead of their respective graduation ceremonies in which the class of 2024 at Bishop Luers and Bishop Dwenger commemorated the end of their high school careers, Bishop Rhoades celebrated separate baccalaureate Masses to honor their achievements.

Graduating seniors at Bishop Dwenger High School processed into St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne for a baccalaureate Mass on the morning of Thursday, May 23. Parents, students, and administrators listened as Bishop Rhoades spoke of the benefits of Catholic education and the many challenges that the graduates will face as they enter the world.

Bishop Rhoades shared similar sentiments to the graduating class from Bishop Luers High School during their baccalaureate Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Fort Wayne on Friday, May 24.

Joshua Schipper
Bishop Dwener High School students sing at the school’s baccalaureate Mass.

More photos from Bishop Dwenger

At both Masses, Bishop Rhoades spoke about the Gospel reading that told of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, reminding the graduates that Jesus used the Beatitudes – these “fundamental attitudes,” Bishop Rhoades said – to teach the disciples how to live in the world. Jesus tells the disciples to build their houses on Him, meaning that following His teachings would lead the disciples to eternal life.

Georgia Lieb
A cantor sings during the baccalaureate Mass for Bishop Luers High School.

More photos from Bishop Luers.

“I invite you, at this important moment of your life, to reflect on this Gospel. You’re going to be following different paths. Most of you will be going off to college, various colleges and universities, some of you to the world of work, or perhaps military service. Some of you may go into construction work. But I want to say to you this morning: You’re all going into construction work. You’ll be building a house: a house of your life.”

He continued, “The most important thing in the construction process is building on a strong foundation, and that’s what a Catholic education is meant to teach you: to build your life on rock, not on sand. Your education [at Bishop Dwenger and at Bishop Luers] has taught you to construct your house on Christ, the living Word of God.”

Bishop Rhoades said that the saints built their lives on the foundation of Christ and pointed to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. He said that Frassati had a difficult family life that was compounded by political turmoil in Italy. This turmoil contributed to anti-Catholic attitudes in Frassati’s home country. Despite this, he persisted. He joined the Italian Catholic Federation of University Students and the St. Vincent de Paul Society, as well as Catholic Action.

“He didn’t sit and watch the world go by,” Bishop Rhoades told the students at St. Vincent de Paul and at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. “And I want to encourage you, if you’re going off to college or university, get active.”

Bishop Rhoades concluded his homily at both Masses by encouraging the students to strive for greatness like the saints did.

“I am asking Blessed Pier Giorgio to pray for you, graduates, as you go forth,” Bishop Rhoades said. “His motto was ‘Verso l’alto!’ which means, ‘To the heights.’ Remember, he was an adventurous mountain climber with his friends. After Mass and adoration, he would go mountain climbing with his friends, and he would often lead them in praying the Rosary as they climbed.  Graduates, ‘Verso l’alto!’ ‘To the heights!’ Be spiritual climbers! In other words, strive to be saints! Build your houses on solid rock!”

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