Charge to the Class of 2017

We have recognized so many deserving people, but have not yet recognized a group who is perhaps most deserving. Graduates, you would not be here if it were not for the support, care and love of your parents, guardians and families. They have many, many times cheered for you. We need to recognize them. So graduates, I ask you to turn and applaud those without whom you would not be here: your parents and families.

After much ceremony and many speeches, I have little more to add by way of a charge, but this: Take what you have learned here at Notre Dame and let it enable you to go forth and do good. Always be as generous as you can with your time, talent and all you have. In your family life, your professional life and your spiritual life, every day of your life, never forget that your charge as Notre Dame graduates is to be a force for good.

One of my true joys as President is to meet alumni of Notre Dame all around the world and hear of their remarkable accomplishments and of their dedicated service. There will, I am sure, be successes and accomplishments for each of you in your future. I look forward to the time, years hence, when I will meet you and feel proud that you are a graduate of Notre Dame.

I am also sure that there will be challenges, frustrations, disappointments, and detours in your lives. Know that you are in our prayers here, and wherever you go, and whatever happens in your life, you will always have a home at Notre Dame to renew your heart and refresh your spirit.

As we go our separate ways, I ask our graduates to bow their heads for a blessing. Parents, Guardians, Families and Friends, please join me in this blessing by extending your hand over our graduates like this.

May the Lord bless you and keep you,

May he shed his light upon you.

May he direct your steps

To walk in His way.

May the Holy Spirit fill you with the work of grace

And inspire ardent love.

And may Notre Dame, Our Lady,

Guard, guide and protect you always.

And may God bless you,

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

As we conclude, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and honor our guest Rev. Martin Junge, a choir of our graduates will sing a hymn set by Martin Luther, “Komm, Heiliger Geist”. The hymn is based on a Catholic Pentecostal hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus, “Come Holy Spirit”. As we listen to this beautiful hymn, it can be a reminder that our task, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is to take the broken pieces of our world, shattered by misunderstanding and division, and put them together to make something beautiful and harmonious for God. Graduates of 2017, such will be the work of your lives.

God bless you all.