Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Senior Dedication Mass held at St. Bernard Prep
Twenty-four seniors at St. Bernard Prep School in Cullman were honored recently during the annual Senior Dedication Mass in the Abbey Church. Abbot Cletus Meagher, Chairman of the Board of Directors; Fr. Joel Martin, President; and Fr. Bede Marcy, School Chaplain concelebrated the Mass.
Abbot Cletus Meagher, O.S.B., was the main celebrant of the votive Mass of the Holy Cross and gave a homily on the mystery of the Cross.”
“As a Benedictine community we are here to seek God and to give witness to this God. You, as students at a Benedictine School, should realize that life is not simply about knowledge and learning and the power that a good education imparts. Life, true life, is about wisdom (about the Cross)—about seeing and seeking the connections between what is learned and the source of all knowledge; it is about seeing a reality, something larger than one’s self, something that imparts ultimate meaning and responsibility for ourselves and for others. It’s about seeking the truth of things and, for us, that truth finds its expression and meaning ultimately in God. More specifically, we find the true expression of what it means to be truly human in the mystery of Jesus Christ.”
The Senior Class was commissioned as leaders in the student body. Noting this “commissioning” takes place in the context of the celebration of a Mass of The Mystery of the Cross, Abbot Cletus told students that such a context should remind them that as leaders, the Cross should be a sign of what they strive for and a call to reflect the values and love that the Cross represents.
“Being at St. Bernard, being Catholic, or being a Christian, means that you accept responsibility and dedicate yourselves to the principles of belief upon which we are founded, “ Abbot Cletus continued.
As a sign of dedication, each senior received a “Benedictine Cross,” and Abbot Cletus explained its symbolism. First, it is a cross, a crucifix. The image of the crucified Christ is presented to remind one of the price of true wisdom and love. If one is truly wise, he or she will learn that life is lived to the fullest in dying to oneself and coming alive to the needs of others.
Abbot Cletus continued his explanation, “On the medal embedded in the cross are a number of abbreviations as well as an image of St. Benedict. On one side are the letters C S P B in the four quadrants of a symmetrical cross: it should read Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (The Cross of our Holy Father Benedict). On the cross itself, on the vertical are the letters C.S.S.M.L. Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux (May the holy cross be my light!); and on the horizontal arm the letters N.D.S.M.D. Numquam draco sit mihi dux (May the dragon – the devil – never be my guide!). Take these words to heart as you wear this cross or medal over your heart.”
Assisted by Mr. Dan Baillargeon, Headmaster of the Upper School, Mr. William Calvert, Headmaster of the Middle School, Fr. Joel and Fr. Bede, Abbot Cletus presented each senior with a cross and each was encouraged to wear the cross and medal of St. Benedict, "with wholesome pride, as a reminder of the privilege and dignity that are yours because you have been called to share in Christ and receive an education that is centered on Christ."
Addressing the senior class, Abbot Cletus said, “Our world needs godly men and women, people whose lives are based on principle, on the discipline of love and a wisdom that is from God. As the senior class of 2014-15 you have been blessed with many gifts and talents. Your task is to recognize those gifts, accept the responsibility that corresponds to the gift, and, most importantly, to give thanks to God for such gifts. Through your leadership you should be an example and a blessing to those who look up to you. You are blessed. Be a blessing to others.”
Abbot Cletus said he was honored to commission the senior class as leaders in the student body. “Just as there are many types of leaders, our goal is to teach ideas and thoughts that shape you as an individual and to help you form and define your life.”
“Life is about wisdom, virtue and seeking a connection of what we have learned in the responsibility for ourselves and for others, continued Abbot Cletus. “Always be aware of who you are and what you have received.”
Abbot Cletus urged students to dedicate themselves to seeking the Love of God . . . of Christ in the mystery of the Cross. “Dedicate your life to the pursuit of goodness and truth and love – to God. After all, that is what we are here to celebrate. As we celebrate this Votive Mass of the Mystery of Christ’s Cross, let us ask for courage and conviction that we may truly be willing to seek Christ and serve Christ in one another.”
Following the Abbot’s homily, the faculty and staff joined the seniors before the altar as a sign of their support. The faculty and staff concurred with the request that the seniors should receive the Abbot’s blessing, which assists them in taking on the role of leadership they assume within the student body of St. Bernard Preparatory School. Representing the Class of 2015, Class President Aimee Cortes assured those present that the Seniors willingly accept the responsibility given them.
Br. Raphael Pattarozzi, O.S.B., served as organist at the Mass. Senior Nicholas Schweers, Grand Supreme Knight, with fellow seniors Alex Anderson, Ozzy Guevara, Tomas Russell and John Paul Stolz served the Mass with other St. Bernard Knights of the Altar. At the conclusion of the service, the Senior Class enjoyed a reception in the Abbey Byre hosted by the SBP Parents League.