I recently went to St. Mary School eighth grade graduation  dinner. It was an outstanding event with students, families,  faculty and staff, and clergy. After dinner Mr. Riester, eighth grade teacher, and Mrs. D’Angelo, principal, gave heartfelt  remarks about the class and their final year as students at St. Mary’s. What impressed me most was what happened next. There was a thirty-minute video showing pictures of the Eighth Grade Class from kindergarten through their final year, including pictures from their Washington, D.C. trip. I watched the video being shown, but also watched the class standing around each other, some with arms around each other’s  shoulders, giving cheers for each picture that came up for a different classmate. You could definitely see the strong bonds and admiration they have for each other.

I was also fortunate to participate in the eighth grade exit  interviews recently. Two teachers from the school and I, interviewed three students, who presented their student portfolio highlighting academic, social, and spiritual achievements. They also answered questions about their experience at St. Mary’s School and future goals. After the three interviews it was clear that each were very proud to have gone to school at St. Mary’s, and were ready to move forward to new opportunities and endeavors.

June is a time for school graduations and reunions. At the beginning of the month I attended my 25th high school reunion. Like the eighth graders at St. Mary’s, I am still proud of the school I went to, and still have bonds and admiration for my classmates from 25 years ago. I plan to be more intentional about staying connected as time moves forward.

Besides graduations and reunions, it is also now the beginning of wedding season, and with the good weather, time to gather with friends and family for picnics and outdoor events. Today, in this season of special events and celebrations, let us be grateful for all the gifts we have been given. I once read, Gratitude opens us up to experience God’s love. Today we give thanks for all the gifts in our lives.

God bless,

Fr. Ryan