May 17, 2014
Cardinal Tagle Urges Graduates to Find their Place
|Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle
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At the Baccalaureate Mass for the Class of 2014, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, urged the graduates to find the place Jesus has prepared for them in life.
Addressing the crowd of more than 3,000 people who filled the pews and lined the walls of the Great Upper Church in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, May 16, Cardinal Tagle assured the graduates that “each of you has a place God has prepared for you.”
The excitement in the Basilica was particularly high because the popular cardinal from the Philippines was the principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass on the eve of Catholic University’s 125th Annual Commencement Ceremony.
University President John Garvey welcomed Cardinal Tagle along with University Chancellor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington; Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States; and Monsignor Walter Rossi, rector of the Basilica.
Cardinal Tagle, a CUA alumnus who received his licentiate in sacred theology in 1987 and a doctorate in theology in 1991, began his homily by asking the graduates to give a hand to their parents, whom he called “true heroes.”
Reflecting on the Gospel reading (John 14:1-6), in which Jesus says to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me,” Cardinal Tagle noted that the graduates looked happy and excited, but he could also see that they looked troubled.
“The reading speaks to us,” he said. “Jesus says ‘I will prepare a place for you in my Father’s house.’ You have to look for that place. It may not be a geographic space, it could be a human space. Some might be led by Jesus to be in the company of the sick, the homeless, the dying. You might find yourself working in a bank. Each of you has a place God has prepared for you.
The faculty processes into the Basilica.
“Whatever it might be try to see how that place has been prepared by Jesus. For in the end the dwelling place of God is Jesus himself. God dwells in him. So if you belong to Jesus you can be anywhere and find a home, but to get to the dwelling place the way is Jesus.
“So my dear graduates, find the place that Jesus has prepared and then wherever that might be, take the path of Jesus, seek his rightiousness, proclaim his truth, live by his compassion, seek his love.”
Some 30 priests and deacons also celebrated the Mass, while the Commencement choir and musicians from the University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music filled the Great Upper Church with sacred music.
“I loved how he related us to Jesus’s disciples, incorporating how we should not be so fearful and trust that God has made a space for us,” said Ashley Ahlfeld, who is graduating with a B.A. in education.
“We may not know what it is but we know he has a plan. It was good to hear because as seniors we stress about what we will do for the rest of our lives and it was a little reminder to let go and trust God.”
Ahlfeld, who was president of the Filipino Organization of Catholic University Students her senior year, said it was “super exciting” to have Cardinal Tagle be part of CUA’s Commencement festivities and “reminded me how proud I am of my heritage.”
At the conclusion of the Baccalaureate Mass, prayers were offered for students who will serve in the military, are entering the priesthood or religious life, or who are embarking on a long-term service commitment.