Farewell Mass; April 27, 2016
Acts 15:1-6 Ps 57 John 15:1-8
Deacon Jim McFadden; St. Francis High School
Soon the St. Francis community will temporarily disband as we venture into summer vacation. We say Farewell to several of our teachers and staff, who are being sent to other ways of serving the Lord and the Church. To them we, say, “Thank you, good and faithful servants” for generously sharing your gifts, your talents, and your very life with this community over all these years.
Looking back on this school year, we should all have a sense of satisfaction for a job well done and for the grace that empowered us to do our very best. The Frosh class of exuberant Thumpers, determined and energetic, have not only survived their first year of high school but have prospered and excelled in all domains of campus life. Our Soph class of Squirts, fun loving and loyal friends, have made their transition into full bore adolescence with all of its challenges and have emerged stronger and more confident. Our Juniors Stitches, lovable and loyal friends, brought their A game as they encountered the myriad number of academic expectations and they delivered! Finally, we pay special attention to the graduating class of 2016, our beloved minions, who know the power of working together and having fun. For four years, they have met the challenges in the classroom, sports, Fine Arts, clubs, and Christian Service. Their labor is nearly completed at this exciting time of their life. No wonder they feel a justified sense of pride for a ministry which resonates in joy.
As the Class of 2016 prepares to leave St. Francis High School, they will always be connected to the community as Troubie alums. I would invite them, as well as all of us, to DARE TO DREAM! We do so because we are a people of Hope. We look into the future with confidence because we know how to value ourselves. Based on our family upbringing, which is the domestic church and based on the nurturing that we experience at S.F., we know that our endeavors, our personal story, are worth the effort. Troubies, with your hands, with your heart, with your mind, you can be persons of hope. You know what its like to walk together with your Troubie sisters; you know what it’s like to dream together. You’ve experienced sisterhood in Serra Court, in the classroom, on the court or field or in the pool!, and in service to the poor. You know what it is like to move forward in hope; you know how important it is to walk together.
We can continue to do that in a sustained way that will last a lifetime, despite the complexities and challenges we face, because we know God has been born within us at a deeper level. We have encountered Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God among us. We have encountered the Risen Christ and he is the one who continually renews in us our hope. Why? He is the Vine and we are the Branches. And, if we abide in Jesus, if we remain in him, our Lord promises us that “we will bear much fruit.” That’s why we enjoy life; that’s why we continue to dream because WE ARE NOT ALONE. The Lord reassures us of that fact because he calls us to be his friends.” Jesus, the Lord of the Universe, wants to be your friend. He thirsts for your love! And, that’s why he tells you everything he has heard from his Father so that you may become fully alive, fully human!
On this journey as we dare to dream, we also know that there is no guarantee that life will conform to our wish list. Not all of our expectations will met. We also have to be vigilant not to succumb to our consumer culture that wants to name our worth by what we have. And, the older we get, we do have to deal with loss, rejection, and failure.
But, we have something that no one can take away, which is the experience of being loved, embraced, and accompanied. It is the delight of enjoying an encounter with our Lord, the delight of dreaming and desiring genuine encounter with my sisters and brothers. We are people of hope who dare to dream because we have a deep feeling of belonging to a faith community.
As we say Farewell, we do so then as a family. There, we have learned solidarity; we have learned how to share, to discern what’s true and good. Troubies, always treasure your family at home, which is the domestic Church. There you learned your true value. And, be grateful for your St. Francis family, which has striven to nurture your gifts and talents to help you prepare for adulthood. And, finally, remember through your baptism, you have been initiated into the Church family, the Body of Christ.
Farewell, Troubies, farewell and DARE TO DREAM!