Maryland: Archbishop Urges Grads to Step Forward with the Spirit of God

06 Jun 2019

Story and photos by Fr. Mike Mendl, SDB


Abp. Gregory preaching the graduating class and their parents and teachers.

(Takoma Park, Md. – May 31) – Eight days after his installation as archbishop of Washington, Abp. Wilton Gregory happily presided at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School’s baccalaureate Mass on May 29. The Mass was celebrated in the crypt church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington in the presence of the Class of 2019’s 69 members, their parents and family members, archdiocesan officials, and DBCR’s faculty and staff.

Abp. Gregory opened his homily by acknowledging the challenge of preaching to a class about to graduate, then noted that graduation refers to stepping forward to a new phase in one’s life. He advised the seniors to be grateful to those who have helped them step this far, especially their parents and benefactors.

Then he advised the class that they will need the Spirit of God as they go forward from DBCR because they’ll meet numerous challenges, including problems in our society and culture that weren’t resolved by the young people who preceded them. He singled out the problem of violence in its many forms: violence glorified by the media, violence in our streets, the violence of war, the violence of abortion.

The archbishop also mentioned intolerance, racism, and sexism, hoping that the Class of 2019 will help the world outgrow them, outgrow all the foolish histories and hatreds in our world.

Director of corporate work-study Ana Chapa (left), Fr. Mike Conway (center), and principal Elias Blanco (right) present a Bible to each senior.

The solution that Abp. Gregory proposed to the seniors is the wisdom taught by Jesus: to believe it and, guided by the Holy Spirit, to embrace it. The Spirit, he added, will help them to fulfill their dreams of making the world better.

Finally, he prayed that the Spirit of God fill them with hope and guide their lives every day.  “May  you step forward with the Spirit of God.”

At the end of Mass, each senior was given a Bible so that she or he might be encouraged to make the Word of God part of daily life and prayer.






Before Mass, Abp. Wilton Gregory posed with the concelebrants (l-r): Fr. Manny Gallo, Fr. Mike Conway, Msgr. John Ensler, Abp. Gregory, Fr. Mike Mendl, Fr. Dieunel Victor, and Fr. Dennis Hartigan.