Bishop celebrates Baccalaureate Mass for university

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the main celebrant at the Baccalaureate Mass for Ave Maria University on May 3, 2024, The Feast of Sts. Philip and James, the Apostles, in Ave Maria.

A Baccalaureate Mass is a Mass of Thanksgiving for God’s many blessings upon the graduates.

During the Mass, Bishop Dewane encouraged the graduates to place themselves into the hands of God as they move forward, remembering the virtue of faith as they live their lives. To do that, they must know who God is in their own lives.

“Faith is an act by which a human being freely commits him/herself to God,” Bishop Dewane said. “It is a gift that should never be taken lightly. Being Catholic is about cherishing the bond that you can develop with God and with His Son, Jesus; a bond that will make you ever more Catholic and hopefully deepen your faith.”

The Bishop noted that St. Irenaeus, a 2nd century bishop in France, teacher, leader, martyr, saint, and Doctor of the Church, said, “The Glory of God is the human being fully alive.” That fullness is meant in terms of striving to fulfill a new dimension of our own humanity.

“Knowledge is always good in itself; it can fill our minds and souls,” Bishop Dewane continued. “Knowledge has many uses which will bear much fruit in your life in choices you make, allowing you to live the fullness of the Lord, being more that man or woman of God you are called to be.”

St. Irenaeus also said, “The glory of the human person is the vision of God.”

“That groundwork was prepared for you by the accumulated knowledge you received here at Ave Maria University,” Bishop Dewane said. “Seek God in your lives. Let that be the glory of life for you as graduates.”

Following the Mass, Bishop Dewane greeted the graduates outside of the church and many complimented him on his words and support of the university.

Ave Maria University is celebrating its largest graduating class in its 25-year history, with more than 250 students receiving their diplomas during Commencement Exercises on May 4.

The commencement speaker was Father Mike Schmitz, of the Diocese of Duluth who is director for youth and young adult ministry and is well-known for his online content such as weekly videos from Ascension Presents, as well as podcasts “The Bible in a Year” and “The Catechism in a Year.”

Receiving honorary doctorates during the commencement exercises were Father Schmitz, Nicholas Healy, the first president of Ave Maria University, and Father Richard Martignetti, OFM, who is departing as Chaplain of Ave Maria University to a new assignment after six years.

Father Joseph Lugalambi is the new Chaplain at Ave Maria University, effective May 4, 2024.