How the gift of a Catholic Education lives on through students’ actions, lives

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Reverend Monsignor Gary addresses how the gift of Catholic Education keeps on giving, during his speech as the keynote speaker for Maryknoll’s graduation ceremony on June 2, 2017. This address can also be found on our Diocese of Honolulu E-Newsletter.

By Reverend Monsignor Gary L. Secor, Vicar General

Thanks for the privilege of addressing the class of 2017. As a member of the class of 1969, after 48 years, I remain grateful for the blessing of my high school years at Maryknoll.

Maryknoll prepared me well for College and Graduate School in Theology.

Maryknoll also blessed me with great friends and the spiritual and moral guidance that equipped me to respond to God’s call to be a priest.

I know that you graduates have received similar blessings. Tonight I join you in giving thanks for the privilege of a Maryknoll education and for those who have made many sacrifices to make that possible for you – your families, faculty and staff, and benefactors.

Noblesse Oblige:  To those who have been given much, much will be expected and required.

Our school motto reminds us that this gift of Catholic education must now be given away. But what does that concretely mean?

Let me suggest four specific ways that you are being challenged to give away what you have received.

First of all, you are called to be life-giving. We are all designed to give life — it is built into the very nature of our bodies. For most of you, this will mean being parents and giving life to your children. For some of you, this might mean a life lived singly but with a commitment to giving to God and others. I am very honored that Bishop Larry nominated me and Pope Francis selected me to be a Monsignor. But I must admit I also am honored to be called “Father” especially since the title reminds me that I am called to be a life-giving “Father” to all of you–not biologically but in other real ways. In the Holy Land two major bodies of water are the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee looks healthy and has fish in it. That is because water flows in and out. The Dead Sea is dead because the water has no outlet. Your love and energy must have an outlet.

Secondly, find your passion and live it with purpose. For example surfing, in surfing there is a certain discipline, skill, and hard work involved in catching waves. But, it is all so that you can find the “sweet spot” in the wave that will take you way faster and farther than you could ever have paddled. You will go much farther in this life if you find what you delight in doing, what you are passionate about, and make it your life’s work. This will bring you great joy and great joy to those who benefit from what you do.

Thirdly, love even when it hurts. There is so much about love today that is misunderstood and merely self-serving. Real love, after the example of Christ, is discovering the joy in sacrificial giving. It was this kind of love that inspired the Maryknoll missioners to come to Hawaii and establish this school. It continues to be expressed in the lives of our faculty and staff who give beyond the requirement of their monetary compensation. Continue to learn to love in this way and you will be loved and blessed beyond what you can now imagine.

Finally, be open to a personal relationship with God that is an integral part of your life. You have been blessed to attend a school where faith in God and the values that spring from that faith can be expressed openly. Open your hearts and minds to come to know God better. Recognize that God loves each of us personally, no matter what our faith backgrounds or our faults are. Let God love you. And take that relationship with God into every aspect that relates to your lives.

As you end this chapter and begin a new one in your lives, I pray that you will be life giving, find and live your passion, love authentically, and allow God to love you.

And don’t forget to thank God and all those who have loved you so much that they made your Maryknoll education possible. You have been given a great gift. Go now, and gift it away. Noblesse Oblige!!!!

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