My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Mid-May begins the graduation season, first for colleges and universities, and then high schools and eventually for elementary schools. It is always heartwarming to see proud graduates be recognized for the hard work which they put in for being good students. And justly proud they should be for the commitment they have had to using all God’s talents given to them and improve them through the educational process.
It is truly a loss to our society and Church if our young people do not pursue an education to the highest level available to them. The problems today that impede young people from seeking a college education, or even higher education, usually comes in the form of daunting tuitions and interminable loans that need to be taken in order to continue the education process.
Some have even questioned if a college education or professional education is truly worthwhile. From the monetary point of view, research shows that college graduates earn more through a lifetime than those who have not graduated college. It is so much more difficult to calculate, however, the contribution that those educated make to our society.
Of course, there are those who might say that it pays better to be a plumber than a teacher in today’s world. But what is more important is that the individual person chooses his or her life’s work on the basis of the best contribution he or she can make to society, not on the basis of how much money can be earned.
It is difficult for people to be selfless of their understanding of their own life’s work or vocation. But without that kind of commitment, our society will be reduced to a purely materialistic calculation system.
Hopefully, our Catholic educational institutions will especially assist our students in recognizing the value of their lives as Christian participants in the building up of society and the Church. A report issued last year by the United States Department of Education finds that students who attend Catholic high schools are approximately twice as likely to go on to graduate from college.
As I will attend several graduation ceremonies this year, I should keep in mind the tremendous sacrifices made by the parents of the graduates, as well as the graduates themselves. Personally, I believe that every individual should achieve the highest potential in order to satisfy their Christian vocations. The Church constantly tries to assist those who come to us for education to achieve their educational goals in light of their Christian vocation.
Each graduate eventually will put out into the deep in their chosen field. We cannot predict what lies ahead of them, but be assured that little will be achieved unless they give themselves wholeheartedly to their chosen vocation.
As we witness graduations this year, perhaps we can think about what educational effort is and how, as Catholic Christians, we should assist all those who seek an education.