Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter
May 30, 2023 // Bishop

The Future Is Bright for Graduating Knights of Marian High School

Lisa Kochanowski
Assistant Editor/Reporter

“We call on the Holy Spirit to guide them in their futures and help them continue to grow in their faith,” was the opening blessing by Bishop Kevin Rhoades at the Marian High School Baccalaureate Mass celebration on Thursday, May 25, at St. Pius X Church in Granger.

After four years of academic excellence, spiritual guidance, and athletic prowess on and off the court, the Marian Knights, class of 2023, are graduating and heading on to their next journey filled with hope and inspiration.

“The Marian Class of 2023 has blessed the school in many ways. They are hardworking, caring, compassionate, dedicated, and intelligent. They have navigated the difficulties of the last several years and have emerged truly as an Easter people, filled with joy and hope,” said Marian High School Principal Mark Kirzeder. “We will miss the Marian Class of 2023 and pray that God will bless them in all they do.”

Marian High School Principal Mark Kirzeder celebrated his last Baccalaureate Mass as principal of the school and prays that God will bless the class of 2023 in all they do.

This year is unique for Kirzeder being his last Baccalaureate Mass as principal of the high school.

“At the end of the year, I am always excited for our graduates. They have worked for so long to achieve the goal of high school graduation, and it is gratifying to see them achieve this milestone in their life. I have been blessed to teach many members of the Class of 2023. I have grown to know them closely, and therefore, I am also very proud of them,” said Kirzeder.

A special moment for this year’s graduation exercises is the inclusion of members of the Bernadette Scholars Program. Affectionately known as “the Bernies,” they are pioneers of a program and opportunity for the next generation of learners.

“The Bernadette Scholars program was developed four years ago specifically for students with moderate cognitive impairments. Bernadette Scholars attend classes as a cohort as well as alongside their peers on a daily basis. They also are eligible for an alternative diploma at the end of the program,” notes Kirzeder. “The Marian community is so proud of our first five graduates and all that they have accomplished. Moreover, we have been truly blessed by their presence in our building every day.”

Bishop Rhoades, students, families, and guests came together in prayer and thanksgiving one last time as the Marian High School community for the Baccalaureate Mass.

The Marian High School Baccalaureate Mass brought co-celebrants from around the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese to celebrate with Most Reverend Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.

“Congratulations on your graduation, and I’d like to begin by thanking your parents. Parents, I invite you to think back to the day of your son’s or daughter’s Baptism. You may recall that after your child was baptized, the priest or deacon presented you with a candle lit from the Paschal Candle and said to you and the godparents, ‘This light is entrusted to you to be kept burning bright so that your child, enlightened by Christ, may walk always as a child of the light,’” said Bishop Rhoades. “Parents, thank you for passing on the light of Christ to your children, for raising them in the faith and showing them that faith is not only a way of thinking or an idea but a way of acting, a manner of living.”

He noted how parents were the first to teach their children to pray and introduced them to the life of the church. The family was the first and most important school, a school of faith and love. Then the choice was made to send their child to a Catholic school to educate them within the Church to grow in faith and love.

“In a world where there’s so much darkness, the Church needs you to share the light of faith that you have received, and in the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of faith, hope, and charity in the world.,” said Most Reverend Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at the end of his homily during the Mass.

“Graduates, now it’s up to you. You should go forth from Marian to choose to walk on this path upon which your parents and this Catholic school have guided you. The path of faith, the path of holiness. Jesus invites you to follow Him on this path,” noted Bishop Rhoades. “It is the way of the cross. Jesus said whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

Bishop Rhoades invited each graduate to hang a crucifix in their room wherever they go whether it’s to college, to the work world, or to the military.

“Say a prayer before it every day. Look at the face of Christ, crucified. It’s the face of God, the God who triumphs on the cross,” said Bishop Rhoades. “It’s the face that brings reconciliation and light to this world. When you look at the crucifix, see the outstretched hands and arms of Jesus, embracing it, drawing you to Himself, and folding you in his Hoving hands. I encourage you to entrust yourselves to Him and strive to live in His love and bring that love to others in your daily life.”

Bishop Rhoades concluded, “In a world where there’s so much darkness, the Church needs you to share the light of faith that you have received, and in the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of faith, hope, and charity in the world. May God bless you and may Mary our mother, our patroness, Our Lady of Lords, the greatest disciple of her Son, the Queen of all Saints take you by the hand and encourage you to walk enthusiastically on the path of holiness.”

Pictured are the Marian Legacies, students accompanied by their parents or grandparents who also graduated from Marian High School.

The next journey is bright for the 158 graduates of Marian High School.

“The prayer that I have for all Marian graduates is that they will continue to stay close to the Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary. I pray that they will continue to keep prayer at the center of their lives so that they can truly learn what vocation God is calling them to and that they would have the courage to answer God’s call in their lives,” said Kirzeder.

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