Naples | Graduating high school is always a nice achievement for teens who struggle with classes and hope just to move on with their lives as they enter adulthood.
The standards of achievement and bar for success are much higher for the more than 330 graduates of Catholic high schools within the Diocese of Venice, who each earned their diplomas in May.
With a Christ-centered education to guide them into the future, the graduates of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota, and Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers confidently crossed the stage to receive their diplomas knowing they are well prepared for whatever challenges life may put in front of them. These graduates are armed with knowledge that Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit will enable them to face any obstacle. The class of 2018 at the Donahue Academy in Ave Maria will graduate on June 1.
The Diocese of Venice class of 2018 graduates with 98 percent of students opting to go on to pursue an advanced education at some of the top colleges and universities across the country. Of the total, 46 have committed to going to Catholic colleges and universities. One has even earned an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. As a group they head off to college having been offered more than $22.7 million in scholarships and grants.
The achievements of the class of 2018 are more clearly reflected in their commitment to others as the graduates combined for more than 50,000 service hours, helping social service organizations and programs throughout the region reach out to those in need.
For the high schools, with the exception of one due to a scheduling conflict, Bishop Frank J. Dewane celebrated the Baccalaureate Masses, which were concelebrated by priests from the supporting parishes in the area. The Cardinal Mooney Mass was celebrated May 16 at Incarnation Parish; St. John Neumann, May 17, at St. John the Evangelist Parish; and Bishop Verot, May 18, at St. John XXIII Parish.
The Bishop noted how a Catholic Education begins with the commitment of parents who prize the value of what Diocesan Catholic High Schools offer their child. The value is reflected in the faculty and staff whose lives are dedicated to educating the whole student in mind, body and spirit using core Gospel values as the basis for everything.
Bishop Dewane thanked the parents for making the commitment to send their child to a Catholic high school because they recognized the value that went much deeper than academics, as Catholic education also helps to develop the soul of the students.
“Your parents wanted the best for you and they found it in a Catholic High School,” Bishop Dewane said to the graduates. “You have each been prepared well for what comes next and have the talents, skills and intellect to be an important and productive part of society. However, you are called by Christ to do more. I know you can live up to this challenge.”
That call of Christ must serve as a guide to the graduates as they face a world where they will hear many other contradictory voices, the Bishop continued. Each graduate needs to know the voice of Christ and let Christ know their voice.
“Be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and listen to the voice of Christ. Let it resonate in your heart, not just in your mind,” he said. “Express the love that permeates from Christ and multiply that love and reflect the Light that is of Christ to others.”