January 24, 2020

Catholic School Week Supplement

Archbishop encourages seniors to turn to God amid struggles

Chris Schwartz, a member of St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus and middle school religion teacher at the parish’s school, poses with Louvenyz Bouchette in 2016 during a mission trip to Limonade, Haiti. (Submitted photo)

Chris Schwartz, a member of St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus and middle school religion teacher at the parish’s school, poses with Louvenyz Bouchette in 2016 during a mission trip to Limonade, Haiti. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

BROWNSBURG—For Ryan Flick and Eliza Leffler, the message that Archbishop Charles C. Thompson shared with them and their peers during the annual Archdiocesan High School Senior Mass hit close to home.

“I liked the archbishop’s homily about humility and hope—and how he connected it to the next chapter of our lives, whether it’s college or whatever vocation we’re called to,” said Ryan, an 18-year-old senior at Roncalli High School and a member of St. Jude Parish, both in Indianapolis.

Eliza also appreciated the archbishop’s understanding of the hardships that high school seniors have faced in the past four years.

“He knows how tough it is—the struggles of being a senior and trying to figure out next year,” said the 17-year-old senior at Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School and a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, both in Indianapolis.

At the beginning of the Mass on Dec. 2 at St. Malachy Church in Brownsburg, Archbishop Thompson greeted the seniors from across the archdiocese with these words, “What a wonderful time to be together in your senior year. There’s joy and excitement and anticipation, but also knowing there’s almost a starting over in just a few months as well—all for the glory of God.”

The archbishop continued his focus on the connection between God and the seniors in his homily.

“Jesus came to make people be aware that God desires to be in an intimate relationship with each and every one of us. God desires to bring us that peace, that joy, that sense of healing to our very spirits, to our very lives.

“He gives us the strength and grace we need to persevere in the struggles and challenges and hardships of our lives. He calls us to be people of hope, to expect the unexpected, the unimaginable—to be ready and prepared for the many blessings and the ways God continues to grace us, even in the hardships and difficulties of life.

“You as seniors, you didn’t get to this point without hardships, without challenges—whether in your individual lives, whether in your homes, whether in your classes, whatever it may be, but you got here. You have other hardships and challenges ahead, but you also have a great hope, a belief in your future.”

The archbishop encouraged the seniors to include God in their future, to keep him close.

“May that future not be without God’s grace, not without being Christ-centered wherever you journey, wherever you go, whatever you do. That you allow that intimacy of God’s grace to permeate your beings, to continue to guide and lead you and lift you up as people of hope, as people of joy.

“We celebrate today the nearness of God to us—how God is near and dear to us each and every moment of our lives, each and every fabric of our relationships. We are indeed not worthy, but the healing grace of God continues in our lives.” †

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