Dr. Mary Kay Clark’s Speech to Seton Graduates, May 21 2014
Reverend Fathers, parents, graduates, and guests, thank you so much for coming here this afternoon so we may celebrate this graduation together.
Perhaps you graduates should be congratulated especially for finishing your Roe v Wade paper!
We Are United
You graduates may not realize it, but most of our graduates could not make this graduation ceremony because they live at a great distance. Seton students come from all 50 states and several foreign countries. And while it may seem like we are all separated by very great distance from each other, in truth, we are all very close.
We are separated from one another but only by mere distance. In truth, we are all united by Jesus Christ.
We are all united by our concern to pass on the Catholic Faith of Jesus.
We are all united by the work that we do in teaching the Faith to our children or by the work that we do in learning the Faith through the Seton Home Study School courses.
This became clear to me several years ago when I was in Rome. I met a Saint, Pope John Paul II. I presented the pope with my book, Catholic Home Schooling.
Though the pope had yet to read the book, Cardinal Gagnon, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, had arranged the meeting and spoken to the pope about Seton Home Study School.
As he looked at my book, Pope John Paul said “Good Work, Good Work!”
I wanted to tell you about his praise because I am sure Saint John Paul II and Our Lord both are now saying to you students and to you moms and dads who taught your children, “Good work! Good work!”
And the 150 people who work at Seton want to add our congratulations for your achievement: “Good work! Good work!”
Doing Good Work
Today, only a few days before the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, we are reminded about our union with Our Lord in the good work assignment that He gave to His apostles.
He commanded them, and us, to “Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature!”
The good work that He gave all of us present-day followers of Jesus Christ, is to spread the message about the love of Jesus as well as about obeying His Commandments. Jesus certainly expects us to do the good work to preach the Gospel: in our own homes, in our own families, in our own communities, in our own country.
As you know, the Catholic Church, the beloved Church Jesus Christ founded, is suffering in this once-Christian nation. Just two weeks ago, Harvard University, the first university in the United States, was allowing the students to perform a very offensive improper Mass on campus.
Only after the public outcry and the local bishop’s formal complaint, were the students forced to hold the performance off campus! What we can learn from this historically tragic event, as well as from many other anti-Catholic events in the public squares of America, is that the colleges and universities have turned their backs on Jesus Christ and are crucifying him in the classrooms of our nation.
Of course, Jesus saw these times approaching. Remember the time when the apostles of Jesus were pushing the children away from Him, and Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me!”
Remember the time when Jesus was carrying His cross to Calvary when He met some mothers with their children. The mothers were crying to see Jesus in pain. Jesus said to them and to the mothers of future times, to the mothers of this present time: “Weep not for Me, but weep for your children!”
The fact is that the schools and colleges of America are not allowing the students, the children, to come to Jesus. All of us need to be weeping for the children of America, and for all the children of the world, who are not being allowed to know and to love Jesus.
But you know Him and you Love Him!
As in every stage in the history of Christendom, the Church desperately needs men and women who love God enough to make a difference.
You graduates are those young men and women who are desperately needed to defend Jesus and to promote Jesus Christ and His teachings. And You must be eager to do this “good work!”
This gives you a great challenge. Jesus told us, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.” Your challenge is to respond to hate with love.
Your parents and I believe that you are strong enough in your Love for Jesus to respond to hate with love. You will be called to do that in different ways: some of you will be priests and religious, some of you will be fathers and mothers.
But all of you must be evangelizers.
All of you are called to spread the Good News of the Gospel. All of you are charged with letting the world know this: Christ is Risen. Indeed, He is Risen. By death, He trampled death, and to those in the tombs, He granted life.
Pray for the power to proclaim the Gospel. Pray for the humility to sacrifice for Jesus Christ. Pray for the grace to love God with your whole heart, with your whole mind, with your whole soul, and with your whole strength.
Pray for the charity to love your neighbors as yourself and to love others enough to talk to them about Jesus.
Where Grace Abounds
Pope John Paul II gave us a good example of a young man who was determined to live the Catholic life, to be an evangelizer, in spite of terrible hardships. His mother died when he was only 9 years old,
a brother died when he was 12, and his father died when he was 21.
As a young man, he started working as a laborer in a chemical factory. He started college when he was 19 in 1939, but the German Nazi occupation forces closed the college only a few months later.
Then he had to work as a stone cutter in a quarry in 1940 when he was twenty years old. It was four years later before he was able to secretly attend an “underground” seminary in Poland.
Graduates, never doubt that God’s grace is sufficient no matter what difficulties you need to overcome. Pope John Paul II inspired thousands of American teens and serves as a great example today to you and to other young people.
In 1999, the pope came to this country and spoke to 20,000 teenagers in St. Louis at the Kiel Center, a huge sports arena. He gave an important message for all American teenagers. He reminded the young people of America of the words of Jesus:
You are the light of the world. Your light must shine before all men.
The pope continued.
Dear Young People, ask yourselves: Do I believe these words of Jesus in the Gospel? Jesus is calling you the Light of the World. He is asking you to let your light shine before others. I know that in your hearts you want to say “Here I am Lord!” But only if you are one with Jesus can you share His light and be a light to the world.
Then the pope asked the young people:
Are you ready for this? to be a Light to the world?
The crowd of young people gave a loud yell “Yes!”
Then the pope asked a second time, “Are you ready for this? Are you ready to be a light to the world?”
The young people stood up and started yelling again “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
And when they settled back down in their seats, again, for a third time, Pope John Paul asked the teenagers, “Are you ready to be a Light to the World?”
At this question for the third time, 20 thousand young people jumped up out of their seats and yelled louder than ever, screaming and chanting: “Yes, Yes, John Paul II, Yes, Yes, John Paul II!”
They clapped their hands and they stamped their feet and they waved their arms back and forth over their heads, and they yelled louder and louder: “Yes, Yes, John Paul II! Yes, Yes, John Paul II!”
Are You Ready?
After several minutes of this wild excitement, the pope spoke loudly into the microphone:
“If you look to Jesus, if you live the Truth that is Jesus, you will have in you the Light that reveals the truths and the values on which to build your own happiness, while building a world of justice and peace. Remember what Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; Those who Follow Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life!
Because Jesus IS the Light, we too become Light when we proclaim Him. This is the heart of the Christian mission to which each of you has been called … through Baptism and Confirmation.
You are called to make the Light of Christ shine brightly in the world…
“Young friends,” the Pope continued,
“In the days and weeks and years ahead, remember that the Pope came to the United States, to call the young people of America to Christ, to invite you to follow Jesus Christ! Jesus came to challenge you to be the Light of the World! The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.”
“Jesus, Who has conquered sin and death reminds you, “I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS!” Jesus says to you “Courage! It is I! Have no fear!”
“In a thousand different ways, you must reflect the Light of Christ through your lives, your lives of prayer and joyful service to others! With the help of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, you young people of America can do this ….. Magnificently!
Remember! Christ is calling you. His Church needs you! The Pope Believes in you, and He expects Great Things of you.
Graduates, always remember these words of Saint Pope John Paul to the young people of America.
All of us at Seton wish you the greatest of God’s blessings in the years to come. And God bless you and your parents for your “good work, good work!”