Graduates reflect on, share the joys of their Catholic education

By: LINDA CALDWELL
Special to the Florida Catholic

ORLANDO – Between May 17-25, Bishop John Noonan celebrated a Baccalaureate Mass for each of the five Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Orlando.

This Mass is opportunity to honor the graduates and to thank God for the many blessings that He has brought forth upon the students, faculty and families during their years of schooling. During his homily, Bishop Noonan urged the graduates to strive to make a difference and to follow the example of those who have made a significant impact on our world.

“Today, I say to you, the graduates of the class of 2016, as you go through life, be inspired, be inspired by greatness,” Bishop Noonan said. “And realize that you all seek the Truth, the Good and the Beautiful. For by that inspiration you seek and by that grace you bring, above all, Christ to others.”

Also, during the Baccalaureate Masses, two seniors were recognized for writing the best essays on what their Catholic education has meant to them. Below are excerpts from some of the winning essays.

Alex Rivera, Father Lopez Catholic High School, Daytona Beach
My faith means everything to me. I am proud to be Catholic, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to express my faith in school every day.

Michael Schofield, Trinity Catholic High School, Ocala
Catholic school taught me more about caring for others than any other school could have, and for that I am grateful. It has not only taught me the importance of love and understanding, but also acceptance and inclusion.

Max Diaz, Melbourne Central Catholic High School, Melbourne
I have had the honor of spending my high school years in a school community that promotes our faith and teaches us to discern God’s hand in our lives.

Amanda McRae, Bishop Moore Catholic High School, Orlando
I have cultivated lifelong friendships. I have been a part of a team and learned what dedication and teamwork truly mean. I have shared meaningful experiences on retreats and grown alongside my peers both inside and out of the classroom. Bishop Moore has shown me what it means to be a child of God.

Daniela Davila, Santa Fe Catholic High School, Lakeland
Being in a Catholic school throughout my four years of high school has been one great experience that I won’t forget. I have learned the importance of giving to others with a gentle spirit and appreciation for all God’s creation.