Father Allain Caparas
by Fr. Allain Caparas, Director of Catholic Identity
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Below is an excerpt of my homily to the Junior High Class of 2014 given last June. It speaks of what we are all about at Gloucester Catholic:
…Nobody is really surprised that we would prefer to do stuff we like more than stuff we don’t, yet we all immediately acknowledge that doing only what you want will ultimately get you nowhere. You got to where you are today not because you always did what you want to do or feel like doing, but because you did what was needed to be done. You are where you are, because you worked hard and you gave it your best. You are here today because of the sacrifice of others, especially your parents, and the love and concern of your teachers.
Doing what you want doesn’t get you anywhere… doing what is right, hard work, gratitude, discipline, sacrifice, and being there for others is what will get you somewhere in life. We too often fall into the trap of believing that simply following our own dreams and desires is enough to find the happiness and peace we need. Look around you: we are the most well educated, technologically advanced, efficient society in the world to ever exist. We can do just about anything and many of us live in a great deal of comfort because of our advanced society. With all this progress we still see that entire continents live in poverty that you and I can only imagine. There is more war and violence than ever before in recorded history. We use cell phones and technology to bully and isolate ourselves from one another. The number of abortions is beyond our ability to imagine.
Graduates, these problems are real and need to be taken seriously by you even as early as high school. I would like you to take very seriously the challenge your Gloucester Catholic education poses. I want you to see the world through the eyes of Jesus Christ and our call to follow Him, not ourselves or anyone else. Let me give some things to just think about – as you prepare for and transition into a new phase in your life:
1) Pray daily for everything and everyone. Go to Church every Sunday. These help us to understand the broader world and mission that we are part of — that the world is not for our amusement, but rather for us to care for.
2) You will be faced with difficult choices as you embrace the Catholic life. Life for us is not about finding the easiest path, but about making ourselves and our world better.
a) Be the person who doesn’t use drugs, drinks, or smokes. Be the person who skips the party where you know those things will be found.
b) Be the person who waits to have sex until you are ready to be married and embrace the responsibility of raising a family.
c) Be the person who seeks to be kind and merciful, who doesn’t gossip or slander others. Be the person who doesn’t write the nasty stuff on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube videos of friends for all to see.
d) Be the person who helps out at the soup kitchen or in church without having it be for service hours.
e) Be the person who doesn’t use bad language even if others – including the adults in your life, do.
f) Be the person whose life choices reflect a desire for a better world and not just what you want.
And above all, be the person who follows Jesus….not your friends, and not yourself.
Be the person of integrity and dignity that God has called you to be, the person who knows that you were created in the image and likeness of God and sees that same dignity in others.
I am going to say something to you that you don’t typically hear at a graduation ceremony: Don’t follow your dreams, your desires, or your passion. Don’t go out and make the world the place you want it to be. Rather, follow Jesus. Make the world the place he has designed it to be. Follow his dreams, desires, and Passion for you. Make the world a place where Jesus is present and welcomed.