Honors Day Invocations

List of invocation leaders

As we gather to recognize the achievements and to honor the accomplishments of Xavier’s students, let us pray.

O Holy Spirit, let us give thanks for days like these, when we can pause to reflect on life’s accomplishments.  As we have learned over the last year, being together even in this way at this time is no small matter.

God of Wisdom, only you know the true cost and effort expended by these students to be here today.  There is no way for us to easily reckon the long hours in the lab, the quiet mornings in the library, or the late nights composing term papers.  We cannot tally and recite the sacrifices, known only to the individuals who’ve made them.  Help us though as we try to honor the final result, the recognition of excellence. 

Grant these students the wisdom to understand how their parents, family, friends, and professors have performed “love’s austere and lonely offices”[1] on their behalf across the many years, and may they learn the greatest gratitude for that support are not tokens of thanks but a life well lived.  

And so, help us to remember that we set out not simply to find ourselves but also to create ourselves.  Let the students honored here today continue to seek your greater good in themselves and in their neighbors.  May they feel deep within the truth that your great glory becomes most manifest when they are most truly alive.  May they go forth and set the world aflame so that we may see their light.  Amen.

Tom Strunk, 2021

[1] Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays


We come to you today to celebrate the many feats and accomplishments of the class of 2017. As we hear our own names spoken aloud today, and receive diplomas and certificates of accomplishment, let us also hear your voice calling each one present to receive a word of purpose and direction in life. You tell us Lord, "Do not say I am only a youth for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. do not be afraid of anyone for I will be with you to deliver you". Continue to remind us that you are with us Lord, and to not be afraid. For you did not give us a spirit of fear Lord, but one of power, love and discipline. Continue to remind us that, even when no one else acknowledges it, that to you Lord we matter and we are somebody. And so with friends and loved ones gathered we hope that you will reside with us today Lord.

- Jeremiah Pennebaker, 2017

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In 1817 the first Jew arrived in Cincinnati. His name was Joseph Jonas, and as a silversmith and watchmaker he joined the 6000 other residents of Cincinnati. People in the area had never seen a Jew before. A Quaker woman traveled 100 miles just to see the Jew, and when she caught sight of him she politely asked Mr. Jonas if she could turn him around and inspect him on all sides. After she had inspected him, she loudly proclaimed, "Why thou art no different to other people."

What a wise woman she was, and would that we could have learnt that simple lesson back in 1817.

How good it is to come together this morning to celebrate and to honor.

You have each journeyed in the fields of academics, athletics and leadership. Our Jesuit heritage and your commitment to higher education serve as a beacon of light for the understanding garnered 200 years ago on the banks of the Ohio River.

Creator of the Universe:

May our arms feel the warmth of every family drawing closer in an expectation of today's honors. Your students have delighted us with their beauty and variety, equal in creation, equal in opportunity, equal in blessing. May it be Your will that these blessings never cease. May Your students stand proud in their accomplishments. May we through them so improve the quality of life for all those whom they touch, that this day, this glorious beginning day, will help us understand the magnitude of our opportunities to open a doorway for all to a richer and more meaningful life.

- Rabbi Abie Ingber, 2013

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Gracious God,
We ask your blessing upon these young women and men who we honor today for their achievements.
We celebrate their capacity for creativity, for critical thinking, for focused effort.
We are grateful that they and their families entrusted Xavier's faculty and staff to engage them intellectually, morally, and spiritually.
Thank you for their confidence to discover and explore new possibilities and knowledge to discern what is right and good and just.
Enable them to draw upon the wisdom and experience of yesterday as they respond to the questions and concerns of tomorrow.
Support our honored student leaders as they continue to make a difference in the world and lead a life 'For the Greater Glory of God.'

- Debra Mooney, 2012

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O Who is like you, God, who is holy and loving like you Source of All Blessing, we desire your presence here among us as we honor our fine students and their dedication.
We celebrate their capacity for creativity, for critical thinking, for focused effort. You, O God, are the source of inspiration, the spark that urges us on to excellence.
We thank you for this university which embodies Jesuit and Catholic values and which provides an educational opportunity that transforms minds and hearts.
We thank you for families that offer emotional, financial, and spiritual support.
Finally, we thank you for Ignatius of Loyola, whose leadership has made this institution a wonderful place to work, to learn, and to grow.
O Who is like you, God, who is holy and loving like you?

- Sarah Melcher, 2011

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O God, Most Creative and Sustaining Spirit,

Through the long sweep of time, and within the vast distances of space, we in this present moment, and in this place, acknowledge you and praise you. We are privileged to come together today on a happy occasion, in which we celebrate the particularly wonderful human beings we call our children, our students, our friends.

As their parents, we thank you for our treasured children, loved from the first moment we knew of their existence. Though once helpless and dependent on us, they have become the young adults we celebrate and admire today through a transformation that has never ceased to amaze us.

As faculty, staff, and administrators at this University, we are grateful to you for the opportunity to participate in the development of these students, to honor them for their hard work and achievement, and to thank them for the inspiration they provide to keep us going in our chosen professions.

And as their friends, we thank you for the gifts of loyalty and kindness they have shared with us, and for the models of service and dedication they have been as we ourselves have struggled to grow to adulthood alongside them.

O God, you sustain all of us at every moment, as we work and weep and worry, and as we rejoice and celebrate! You have inspired us with your creativity, displayed throughout this ever-evolving universe and echoed in the varied academic achievements of the students we honor in this convocation. As we celebrate them today, we ask that you bless and guide their future lives.

We pray that they, and we, may use our many gifts of intellect, heart, and soul to address the problems that the human community faces in bringing justice more fully into the world and in tending wisely to the lovely garden that is our earth and our home.

- Linda Finke, 2008

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In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The future of God's kingdom begins with me and God's gifts to me. Did you ever say that to yourself and consider what it means?

Holy Trinity, God our Lord, in the vision and conception of the world St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier passed down to us, the creation and redemption of the world reveal your habits, your ways in history, active and present in creation and at its service.

The central and essential event in this history is the Incarnation of your Son, who comes to serve, not to be served.

With their vision, our holy founders remind us that, as You serve by creating and bestowing the gifts of being and the various talents and abilities we have come to Xavier to develop and perfect, and today to celebrate, we must imitate you by serving you and our sisters and brothers.

May we thus return with gratitude and in love the gifts you have given us to share! May we, O God, remain inspired by our founders' vision; and, through thankful development, use, and celebration of our own persons and God-given talents, be sacraments of your presence in our world today.

The future of God's kingdom begins with me and God's gifts to me. Did you every say that to yourself and consider what it means?

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

- Cyril W. Whitaker, S.J., 2006

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Let us open our hearts and minds in grateful prayer: for all creation; for all people; for all who are with Xavier University; and most especially for those whom we come to recognize and honor this day.

Generous God,
you freely give each of us uncountable gifts and talents;
help us to be good stewards of these;
and by your example,
may we generously share everything we have for the benefit of all. 

Personal God,
you humbly give your very self to us, through all holy people, and in Jesus Christ;
help us to love all things and all people;
and by your example,
may we humbly give of ourselves, in love and forgiveness.

Energetic God,
you labor to nourish and sustain us;
help us to participate more holistically in your creation;
and by your example,
may we earnestly labor with you, in global
solidarity, to build peace and justice for all people.

Loving God,
you lavish all of creation with your grace;
help us to constantly seek you in all things; and by your example,
may we struggle to understand that, ultimately, all we truly need for a
full and joyous life is your love and your grace.

O, Good and Gracious God, we pray all things with faith, hope and love.

- Glen Chun, S.J., 2005

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God of Grace and Mercy,

We thank You for this moment,

a moment to gather as a University,

as a family of scholars.

a moment to give thanks for the excellent work

of professors, teachers and administrators.

a moment both to single out and recognize the accomplishments

of dedicated and gifted students.

a moment to celebrate what we have been called to do

to teach,

to learn,

to become one in your world as we prepare ourselves for the mission of living our lives as men and women for others.


Finally we thank you for this moment of prayer and acknowledge that you are the Giver of every good gift. All is yours and all has been generously given to us. Indeed, this is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad. Alleluia!

- 2005

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Good and loving God, we place ourselves-- Xavier faculty, students, parents, all members of the Xavier family--- in your presence to celebrate the academic achievements of the Xavier community of teaching and learning. As we gather, we are mindful of the words of Paul:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all people. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit in these various gifts is given for the common good. (I. Cor. 12: 4-7).

We thank you for the gifts of mind and will by which we all participate in this academic culture, to know the truths of your creation, to understand our role of service in this world, and to order those aspects of your world under our control to the fulfillment of your Will. We thank you for the common renown to Xavier's community of learning gained by the recipients of special departmental academic honors.

Bless Xavier's faculty who faithfully respond to your call to teach the truth of their discipline. Give them your spirit to minister as teachers to the spirits and minds of their students in their effort to form them intellectually and morally and spiritually in rigor and compassion according to Xavier's mission. Give your spirit to the students to engage in dialog and research, in reflection and application of the truths they come to know and believe in through faculty guidance and mentoring. Give them the courage to dedicate themselves now and in the future, to the scholarly way of life, characterized at Xavier by discipline in study, by academic integrity, by collaborating in learning with faculty and peers, by learning from service of others; and by growing in a relationship with You their God.

We ask You to bless these tangible awards of books and plaques and citations that they may memorialize for those who receive them the exceptional gifts you have given them and the special opportunities that they have had as part of their Xavier experience. Let Dr. Daily's service to students, recognized in the Teacher of the Year Award, be a never-ending symbol of the Xavier's caring faculty; let each student awardee's recognition call them and all students to a commitment to scholarship as a fulfillment of their calling to university life and learning. Grant that these awardees may truly show by their lives the fruits of excelling in a Xavier education where they learn to find you in all things as they seek to perfect the human condition by service in our world.

- 2003 

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O God of all seasons, with artistic splendor,
you have given us another overture of the resurrection of spring from the cold tomb of winter.

It is joy at this glorious season that our thanks for your gifts overflow,
as the beauty of your spring appears to cover the gray of your winter world.

O God, so gracious and loving.
I hear your words in the laughter and tears of your people.

I touch your face
in those whom I see in my home
school, work and church.

Help me to speak your words of life in a world stained with sin.

Help me to give your compassionate loving voice sound in our world.

Help me, gentle and almighty God,
to be your voice, your face, your touch in this world.

Help me to live your words of life.

Lord, I will always be mindful that we are pilgrims on our journey to you.
Help us to treat each day and everyone we meet
with reverence and love.

May God the Father of all Creation, shield you in the valleys.
May Christ aid you on the mountaintop.
May the Spirit bathe you on the slopes,
in the hallowed valleys and plains to aid you and enfold you each day and night of your lives.

May the joy of today remind you that to those to whom much is given, much shall be expected. Congratulations for meeting those expectations.

- 2002

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Loving and wise God, help us to respect one another, to respect ourselves, to accept one another, and to accept ourselves. I want to be in solidarity with all my sisters and brothers, those who agree with me and those with whom I disagree, those whom I like and those I don't like. May I learn from others, even those who may not seem as though they have something to tell me.

I pray that we ask why we don't have a more humane world, a fairer world, a more loving world. May we be open to changing any structure that may be oppressive. I pray that in serving others I use my hands and my heart, but also my mind in analyzing changes that may need to be made in present structures. May I see interdisciplinary academic service learning as a non-violent but powerful way of changing our world to one more in accord with God's Will.

I pray for "a sustained interdisciplinary dialogue of research and reflection, a continuous pooling of experiences and insights according to their different disciplines in a 'vision of knowledge which, well aware of its limitations, is not satisfied with fragments but tries to integrate them into a true and wise synthesis (Pope John Paul II as quoted by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J. at Santa Clara, October, 2OOO).

Jesus, you came not to be served, but to serve. May I leave no stone unturned, no path untried, no mountain unsealed until together with you, Jesus, we make this not a perfect world, but a better one.

I pray in God's Spirit.

- Benjamin J. Urmston, S.J., 2001

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Creator God,
on this beautiful day,
in this wonderful place named Xavier,
we give you thanks for bringing us this far.

We pray for all those who have made it
possible for us to celebrate this happy moment:
especially our parents, our grandparents, our families and friends,
our teachers and administrators.

Help us always to rejoice together in the knowledge of your truth.
Continue to enlighten with your wisdom all who teach and all who learn.

Lord God, nurture the deep hopes which are in our hearts this day.
As we take off now along different roads, may we know a world where there is peace.

May we be ever filled with your mercy and compassion,
your light and your life.

May we always use our talents, our achievements,
our knowledge of truth for others.

And may all that we do be ever for your greater glory.

This in faith we pray.

- James M. McCann, S.J., 2000

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Blessed be the name of the Lord (Now and forever)
May the God of wisdom, knowledge and grace be with you always (and also with you)
Sisters and Brothers listen to the words of the book of Sirach
If you wish you can be taught.
If you apply yourself, you will be shrewd.
If you are willing to listen, you will learn.
If you give heed, you will be wise.
Frequent the company of the elders;
whoever is wise, stay close to him.
Be eager to hear every godly discourse;
let no wise saying escape you.
If you see a man of prudence, seek him out;
let your feet wear away his doorstep.
Reflect on the precepts of the Lord;
let his commandments be your constant meditation.
Then he will enlighten your mind
and the wisdom you desire he will grant.
Word of the Lord
Lord God, your spirit of wisdom fills the earth and teaches us your ways.
Look upon these students;
Let them continue to enjoy their learning and take delight in new discoveries.
Help them to persevere in their studies and give them the desire to learn all things well,
To seek you in faith and serve you through justice,
Let them become men and women for others.
Look upon these teachers
who serve you in classrooms, laboratories, libraries - in many place all from the Heart of the Church.
Let them strive to share their knowledge with gentle patience and endeavor always to bring the truth to eager minds
Look upon these parents the first teachers of their children that their faith and love may be an example to us always

May God teach us all his ways and lead us to the joys of his kingdom now and forever

May Almighty God bless you all

The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

- Matthew Gamber, S.J., 1999

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In the play A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, Robert Bolt puts the following into the mouth of Sir Thomas More...

"God made the angels to show him splendor-as he made the animals for innocence, and plants for their simplicity. But Man he made to serve him wittily, in the tangle of his mind.

If we lived in a State where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us good, and greed would make us saintly... we'd live like animals or angels in a happy land that needs no heroes. But since in fact we see that avarice, anger, envy, pride, sloth, lust and stupidity commonly profit far beyond humility, chastity, fortitude, justice and thought, and we have to choose to be human at all -- why, then, perhaps we must stand fast a little--even at the risk of being heroes."

So, let us pray:

Gracious God, thank you for the gifts of our mind and the practice of all virtue. Fill up in us whatever is lacking, remove from us any sloth or indifference, and increase our desire to become Heroic in your sight. We ask this in your Holy Name.

- David V. Meconi, S.J., 1998

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O hidden Holy One, You author life in us today, have done so in the past, and will continue to respond to our trust in You. Thank You for gathering us today to recognize the special gifts that distinguish our academic honorees, our student leaders, and our scholar athletes, all of whom we honor today. Thank You, too, for the parents, teachers and friends, who have nurtured these gifts of Yours.

Through your poet John Ruskin, You have taught us: "To each is given a gift, however seemingly trivial, which if worthily used, will be a gift to his race forever." The gifts we honor and acclaim here today are far from trivial, since what makes these young men and women "Xavier's finest" are rare gifts indeed that call for responsible cultivation. When these academic honorees experience lights in their minds and promptings towards the better in their hearts, may they become increasingly convinced that with You in their midst they are co-creating a better world--a world whose families, cities and corporations urgently need their insights, courage, stick-to-it-ive-ness and compassionate service.

So, we ask that You pour out your Holy Spirit upon these honorees so that they clearly recognize Noblesse oblige, that the loftier Your endowments in them, the more urgently You are calling them to use these gifts more wisely and generously. We ask this through your divine Spirit who breathes gratitude, reverence and an eagerness to serve all your sons and daughters, especially the most needy, to the fullest extent of Your gifts in all of us.

- F. Oppenheim, S.J., 1997

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Blest are you, Lord our God, creator of all that is.
Everything in our experience -
the world in all its beauty and wonder;
life in its abundance and variety;
the mysteries of the human mind and spirit -
everything reflects the creative power of your hand and the vital beauty of your heart.

Blest are you, Lord our God, creator of all that is.

You are blest in your children;
the talent, ingenuity, perseverance, energy, and leadership manifested in those we honor today-
all are sparks struck from divine fire,
kindled in minds and hearts shaped by your care.
Blest are you, Lord our God, creator of all that is.
It is your hand and heart and fire at work when timidity and prejudice are shattered by courage, vision, and integrity;
when cold and implacable ignorance yields to truth, when narrow comfort and complacency
are enlarged and shaken free
to encompass the multifaceted, wondrous diversity your loving design reveals.

Blest are you, Lord our God, creator of all that is.

- 1996 

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God of all Knowledge,who inflames our minds with the passion to learn and to understand,

God of all Creation,
who enlivens our imaginations with the desires to build and to create,

God of all Hope,
who transforms our hearts with a yearning for the world of Your wildest dreams,

We praise you for the knowers and the seekers, the builders and the makers,
the lovers and the dreamers who are gathered here to be honored this day.

We give thanks for the wealth of talents represented here today, for our advances in wisdom, knowledge and understanding;

We pray for a deeper sense of our poverty and ignorance, that we may never fail to admit our dependence on one another, our ultimate inability to understand even ourselves.

We give thanks for the pride we take in our accomplishments,
as individuals and as a society;

We pray for humility, that we may never ignore the tendency of our educational and technological accomplishments to widen the gap between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless.

We celebrate with You our success:
degrees completed, papers written, jobs well done;

We mourn with you our failures:
failures to see one another not for what we have done, but simply for who we are.

May we never cease to praise You for the Light
that only knowledge and understanding bring.

Yet may we never deny our deeper need for the Warmth
that only lives of love and compassion promise.

We ask all this in Your Name,
confident that the deepest hopes we bring to You must surely pale
next to the deepest hopes You have for us.

- Joseph F. Wagner, S.J., 1994 

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Most Sacred and Holy God:

We are moved by reverence and gratitude, as your infinite goodness gathers us here today to rejoice in the achievements of our gifted young people.
In your presence, the faculty and staff of their Alma Mater congratulate them and their beloved parents for having accepted with diligence and scholarship the treasures of learning, skill, and experience set before them by their chosen university.
We, their elders, their mentors and their parents, happily look forward to their becoming the comfort and strength of our advancing years.
We admire their wisdom and prudence they brought to their tasks of assimilating the learning and culture of the university.
We eagerly await the opportunity to cheer them on, as they prepare to set forth on the challenging tasks of building their lives and of making their own way in the world. Inspired by the joyous occasion their years of scholarly effort have made possible, we are glad to share with them the ideal that human life is a vocation to communicate happiness, and that individual achievement is always and intrinsically a social treasure.
We experience with them on this joyful day the truth that solitary goodness, lonely labor and toil, never remain alone, but become the basis of that meeting of hearts which is truly -- in the realm of the soul -- an interpersonal fusion.

Acknowledging, Dear Lord of All, that in you we live and have our being, we humbly petition you to grant ongoing graces of faith, hope, and charity, of prudence and justice, of fortitude and temperance to these wonderful young people.
We ask you to grant to all those you have gathered here the graces of many years of shared companionship and love, so one day we may all be gathered in your presence for a shared eternity of achievement, everlasting joy, and unalloyed love.

- Fr. Johnson, S.J., 1992

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This is the day the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it!

O, gracious and all loving God, we praise Your holy name! We thank You for Your presence in our lives and for the abundance of gifts with which we have been blessed.

Today, we gather to honor our outstanding students who have excelled in their work here at Xavier. We know they have been given many talents. We pray that they will always acknowledge You as their Source and that they will use their gifts wisely and compassionately in this world of ours.

May they always seek Your honor and glory, rather than their own; may they be concerned as much about the needs of others as they are of their own; may they always strive to live the ideals that they have been taught; may they ever be mindful of the need to use their abilities to enrich the lives of others, and to preserve the beauty of this world that You have so wondrously made.

Help us all, O Lord, to listen and to give our unqualified "Yes" to the prompting of Your Holy Spirit so that our deeds and our very lives may inspire and encourage others to reach their potential.

May we learn to trust completely in Your loving Providence and may we accept Your will in all things. We ask that You take away all undo anxiety from our lives so that we may truly be Your holy people.

We ask you, Lord, to continue to bless our students and their families, and all of us who are a part of the Xavier community. Help us always to search for You and may Your love always be with us!

- Mary Rischmann, R.S.M., 1991

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Lord, we acknowledge you as our loving God. We thank you for creating the world and all its lowliness. We thank you for creating us, for our own selves, for one another, for the goodness you have implanted in each of us. You are the source of all we possess. How generous you are to us! You are present today dwelling among us, your people. Never let us forget you, and who you are to us.

We come together today to acknowledge and honor those students who have excelled in their work at Xavier. You have given them the talents for which they are now receiving acclaim. May they always acknowledge you as the source of their strengths and goodness and be grateful. May they use these gifts to promote peace/ justice and your honor and glory in this world. May their love and care for the forgotten, the unfortunate, the unwell, be a sign of your love in this world. Lord God, bless those we honor today and keep them near to yourself.

We pray also for the entire Xavier community, for everyone who strives to keep Xavier a good place to be, for administrators, teachers, and those who keep our campus functional, clean and attractive.

We pray that we may work together, support one another and make this world a fit place to live, a place where no longer is there anger, hatred and war, but only peace and love.

- Theodore Thepe, S.J., 1989

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Blessed are You, Lord Our God,
Who has given to each of us
A personal destiny and purpose in life

We thank You, God of Mysterious Ways,
that we are, each of us,
special to You,
that our names are written in the palm of Your hand
and our place in history,
our purpose for existing,
is known within Your heart.
since endless ages.

We are grateful
for that long line of holy people,
who since ancient times have inspired others
by their faithfulness
to their own special destinies

They, by their very lives,
shout out to us not to compromise our destinies,
but to live fully within Your eternal design.

Blessed are You, Inscrutable Lord,
for those events, persons, talents and loves
which have helped us to discover adventure and purpose.
fruitfulness and meaning,
in our sometimes empty and seemingly insignificant lives.

Blessed are You
for teachers, parents and other guides
who call us out
from the cocoon of comfort and contentment
to embark upon that unique path which You have set forth
for each of Your sons and daughters. 

Blessed are You, Lord our God.
who has given to each of us a personal destiny and purpose in life.

- Sr. Elaine Charters, R.S.M., 1988

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Gracious God, every day you continue to bless us with your marvelous gifts.There seems to be no end to your desire to give us even more. Out of your deep and faithful love you have lavished upon each of us: life, wisdom, beauty, and hope for the future. You have given us the ability to love, to forgive, and to share the blessings given to us with others.

The words "thank you" seem so small compared with the grandeur of your love. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to take your blessings for granted. So, we pause to reflect on our gifts and to express our gratitude.

We are especially grateful today for the gifts you have given to the men and women honored in this ceremony and for the way they have used your gifts and grown in so using them. You have touched their lives with intelligence, insight, leadership, appreciation of beauty and a thirst for knowledge.

You have given them patience, determination, and a desire to excel.They have responded by developing your gifts to distinction.

We pray that these women and men will always show their gratitude by continual growth and by sharing their talents with others. May the world be a better place because of their love and care for the less fortunate and for those in need.

Finally, we pray that the knowledge of your never-ending choice to love each of us would continue to sustain us in peace and thank-filled joy today and all the days of our lives.

- Eugene J. Carmichael, S.J., 1987

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