May 30: “Comes Once in a Lifetime!” Baccalaureate Prayer Service

“Like the lamp, you must shed light among your fellows, so that when they see the good you do, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16.

Welcome to family and friends to this Baccalaureate Prayer Service for our Santa Catalina graduating class of 2020.

Most of all, we greet our young women who have prepared for this day and are ready to bring their gifts of knowledge, creativity, and service to a world that genuinely awaits them.

You gather at home, surrounded by family and friends, knowing that despite our “shelter in place” directives, your achievements will not go unnoticed. Not on this day – it’s a once in a lifetime day!

While here on campus, the faculty, administration, and staff, truly miss you. Join me, especially in thanking our teaching faculty for their efforts these past weeks. We will long remember this surprising transition to online teaching, as well as your remarkable ability to adapt to these new modes of learning.

Yes, this is your High School Graduation, in a Senior Year disoriented by the onset of Covid-19.

Not to belabor the point, some have suggested this period in our lives is much like Bill Murray’s movie “Groundhog Day,” where we wake up to an alarm clock that’s stuck on a day that repeats itself, again and again.

Or this dream of ours could be the surrealist painting of Salvador Dali – to be exact, his 1931 artwork “The Persistence of Memory.” Dali’s small-scale landscape painting of minute detail depicts a vivid dreamworld where the faces of wrist-watches and clocks are melting and suggesting that time itself has gone bonkers.


So, we really need a pick-me-up!

For me, in the last few days, an old Broadway song has been fixed in my mind. “Comes Once in a Lifetime,” by Jule Styne, Betty Comden, and Adolf Green with a melody not easily erased. The lyrics repeat and repeat:

“Every day comes, once in a lifetime. Think of now; tomorrow is waiting in the wings. Who knows what it brings? While the future waits, the present swings.” The songwriters propose: “So, live today!”

Come to think of it, not a bad idea! “Carpe diem,” or “Seize the day!” wrote Horace, the Roman poet, in his Odes (23 B.C.).

Are you ready to seize this day for a swinging celebration? I hope so! Today we celebrate as best we can, and certainly in the days ahead.

Your future is waiting in the wings, high school graduation comes once in a lifetime! We’re here to celebrate you!

According to Saint Matthew, in today’s gospel, you are salt and light. Preserve all that is good from your time at Santa Catalina, and be led by the light of Christ into your most promising future.

In the Book of Wisdom, we read, “Blessed are those who are friends of God.” In this sense, we have the comfort of a community of friends, friends in Christ.

Despite all the loss we have experienced in these past weeks – we know of God’s love for us, and because of our Santa Catalina family, we have blessings for a lifetime.

As graduates, yours is an “attitude of gratitude” to family and friends –as “precious as rubies,” according to J.K. Rowlings.

Grateful to your parents and grandparents and all who have loved you and provided the support, care, and resources to accomplish graduation with such distinction.

Grateful to your classmates and teachers — that a collection of friends created in the study halls, on the playing fields, in the art studio, or theater and recital halls. Such friendships will sustain you now and in the future.

Grateful to the traditions here at Santa Catalina, whose patron, Saint Catherine of Siena, reminds us of our best selves: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!”

I see your light that fire shine today — so bright, so lasting!

“Like the lamplight, your radiance casts a glow, so that when others see the good you do, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.”

Tomorrow is waiting in the wings, how you live today will determine tomorrow!

Congratulations, Class of 2020!

Rosary Chapel, Santa Catalina School, Monterey, CA.

Here’s Judy Garland singing “Comes Once in a Lifetime,” enjoy:




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