Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the main celebrant at the Baccalaureate Mass for Ave Maria University on May 5, 2023, 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 use what they have learned, combined with the gifts God has bestowed upon them, to bring the light of Christ and the message of the Good News that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, into the world.
Citing the missionary spirt of the Second Vatican Council and its transformational document Lumen Gentium, the Bishop said each graduate is called to live out that document which calls upon all Catholics to evangelize. They must do this accompanied by Christ, that includes opening up to the Lord in their daily life, their family, their job, in public and in private.
“Your parents sacrificed for you to be here. The faculty has educated and formed you so that as graduates you can realize your potential,” Bishop Dewane continued. “You have been prepared to enter the world. It is my prayer that you will use your influence of faith to make the light of Christ present in whatever position you achieve or vocation you follow as you move forward. That is what being a graduate of a Catholic university is about.”
Bishop Dewane concluded his remarks by telling the new graduates that now that they have received the necessary skills during their time at Ave Maria University, to “go forth as agents of that evangelization; willing to instill that into others during a time when it is ever more necessary. My prayer is that you are blessed to take up the challenge to render the light of Christ wherever you may find yourself.”
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 297 students receiving their diplomas during Commencement Exercises on May 6.
The commencement speaker was Patrick Lencioni, president of Table Group and bestselling author of 13 books, including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.