Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

What I Have Seen and Heard (May 16, 2006)

Published May 18, 2006

Pride will be written all over the faces of countless thousands of people during these next two weeks as our local graduates walk across a stage somewhere to receive a diploma. Grammar school, high school and college graduates have the universal ability to bring tears to the eyes of parents and grandparents with the simple gesture of accepting a certificate that attests to the fact that they have completed a program of studies and have succeeded. Graduation means that these youngsters are growing up and that alone is a reason for parental joy.

I will be able to participate at the graduation ceremonies for four of our high schools this week. I will see many happy faces and proud parents and students. I congratulate all of our students and their families.

The word graduation itself comes from the Latin word gradus, meaning “a step.” These young people are taking a step into their futures. I pray that all their futures will be filled with even greater successes and much happiness.

I hope they also will take a second to thank their parents for the sacrifices that they have made in helping them to achieve this moment in their lives. The sacrifices that families make to help their youngsters succeed are usually quite heroic. The cost of tuition, the expenditures of time in attending games, social events, parent-teacher conferences, not to mention the encouragement and the applause that parents daily provide in the quiet of the home are quite an investment of love. I pray that our young people will realize how much their parents have given them in order to prepare them for life. No wonder there are a few tears at graduation time. I am actually surprised that there are not even more!

I have never met a parent who was not happy to support the growth and success of their children. No matter what the cost, most parents are willing to sacrifice so that their children will be prepared for life. Love always speaks the language of sacrifice best.

As this year’s crop of graduates walk across the academic platforms throughout North Georgia, I can only hope during those few moments of public glory, these young people will reflect on their good fortune not simply because they have finished a course of study, but that they have such generous and loving parents and grandparents who are beaming in the audience and whose openhandedness has made it possible for them to step into their futures.

Not to be forgotten at that moment are the teachers, administrators, pastors and silent benefactors of our schools and religious education programs who have partnered with their parents in the enterprise of their education and formation in the Catholic faith.

Education is such a precious gift. I trust and pray that all of our graduates will be grateful for the many sacrifices that have been made to provide them with such an advantage in life. May their sincere gratitude be translated one day into being generous with their own children in providing them with a fine education and, where possible, a Catholic education, so that at some moment in the future a generation as yet unborn will take a step into an even brighter future.

May the tears that flow during these next few weeks be tears of joy and of thanksgiving for all that love has made possible. Congratulations to all of our graduates and to their parents throughout the Archdiocese of Atlanta!