Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Congratulations to all of our high school seniors who have already graduated and those who will graduate this week as members of the class of 2013.

It is a time of new beginnings, of looking forward to the future, and of reflecting upon the recent past with gratitude.  As you move on from high school, there will be many exciting challenges ahead of you, ways in which you can make a difference in the world; by responding to the presence of God within you, which will make all the difference in the world for you.

As you go forth from high school, I hope you will take concrete steps to know Christ better.  This was the encouragement of Pope Francis who recently asked the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s square whether they pray and are open to the Holy Spirit every day so they can be “more sensitive to the things of God.”  Looking for a show of hands, the pope said, “Hmm … not many, not many, but we have to do what Jesus wanted: Pray every day to the Holy Spirit so that he opens our heart to Jesus.”  He asked people to take concrete steps to know Christ better, especially during the Year of Faith, by reading sacred Scripture, studying the catechism, and taking part in the sacraments.

“Let’s ask ourselves what steps we are taking so that the faith guides our existence” because “there are no part-time Christians, at certain moments, in certain circumstances, in certain choices,” he said. “You can’t be a Christian that way. You are Christians at all times, completely.”

Peace and all good to you graduates of the class of 2013.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark