Cardinal Timothy Dolan to the Class of 2013: Embrace the ‘adventure in fidelity’

June 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Over the last few weeks, The Ignatian Educator has been posting some great reflections from Ignatian educators around the country. The reflections are mini commencement addresses, a few short paragraphs of advice for the Class of 2013. You can find a compilation of the addresses at this link.

As I’ve gathered reflections from my friends and colleagues in Ignatian education, I’ve also been searching for insights from commencement speakers at other schools around the country. One of the best speeches I’ve read or seen this commencement season was the address of Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York. He spoke to the graduating class at the University of Notre Dame.

Among a number of profound remarks, he said something that speaks to all of us in Catholic education, at every level. It’s on a matter that I tried to develop in a recent post, and it has to do with the unique mission of Catholic education, what we might call the totality of our responsibility in reaching not just minds, but souls.

Speaking of the mission at Notre Dame (and, by extension, the mission of Catholic education), Cardinal Dolan said: “Here our goal is not just a career, but a call; not just a degree, but discipleship; not just what we’ve gotten but what we’re giving; not just the now but eternity; not just the ‘I’ but the ‘we‘; not just the grades but the gospel.”

Wow. I’ve dwelled on those words over the last few weeks, and I can think of no better summation of the added dimensions of Catholic education, the features that make Catholic education different from all other models. I can think of no better way to describe the decisive and crucial roles that Catholic schools and Catholic teachers are called to play in the lives of students. Catholic education must have its eyes not only on the world, but on heaven. While we prepare them for jobs and graduate school, we have to prepare them to live out their response to God’s initiative in their lives.

To put it another way, as I’ve written about before, we are preparing students for their own encounter with the burning bush, their own exodus out of Egypt, their own “yes” to a relationship with Christ. This is exciting, challenging work, and makes every moment in our schools, from lectures to lunch time, imbued with kairos.

You can find the rest of Cardinal Dolan’s commencement address here. Or watch it below:

Posted by Matt Emerson.

 Related links:

The Gospel in the Digital Age (the blog of Cardinal Dolan, hosted by the Archdiocese of New York).


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