At the Baccalaureate Mass, Seniors of 2015 Are Encouraged to Remain Open to the Holy Spirit
At the Baccalaureate Mass for the Class of 2015 in the Chapel of the North American Martyrs last Saturday (May 16), Jesuit president Fr. Anthony McGinn, S.J. ’66 reminded seniors and their parents, as well as faculty, that the 2014-15 year has been one of significant change if only because two longtime educators are leaving the school.
Mr. Paul Frederick is retiring after almost 60 years at Jesuit as a Spanish teacher, department head (Modern Foreign Languages), and as an administrator. During the last few years, Mr. Frederick had served as a coach, mentor, and advisor to teachers seeking ways and new methods to enhance the classroom experience.
Fr. Raymond Fitzgerald, S.J. ’76, a theology teacher and administrator who worked in the downtown offices of Jesuit’s Southern Province before serving three years as president of Jesuit (2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14), is moving to Grand Coteau this summer where the Jesuits are better able to provide him with appropriate medical care for his illness.
Fr. Fitzgerald announced in January 2014 that he had been diagnosed with ALS, or amyotrophic laterals sclerosis, and would step down at the end of that school year. Fr. McGinn said that Fr. Fitzgerald has had a profound influence on the lives of students, faculty, parents, and, indeed, the whole structure of Jesuit High School.
“We will miss both of them as they move on,” Fr. McGinn said of Mr. Frederick and Fr. Fitzgerald during his homily. “We are very grateful for what they’ve done. Two different teachers, their styles were different in the classroom, but they managed to teach very effectively, each in their own way.”
In addressing the 274 seniors who are graduating Friday, May 22, Fr. McGinn encouraged them to always be open to the power of the Holy Spirit.
“The Holy Spirit wants to work in you and we know we have the power of the Holy Spirit when we display the fruits of the Spirit,” he said. “As the Apostle Paul tells us, those fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, fidelity, generosity, and self-control. When we have those characteristics, we know the Holy Spirit is at work in us.”
Fr. McGinn also told the Blue Jays to thank God for the many ways in which His Spirit is “already at work in you, transforming you, helping you to grow, helping you to grow into the men God is planning for you to become,” he said, noting that such a transformation is a long, long process. “Open yourself to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. Let us thank God for the progress you’ve already made. Let us pray that God continues to bless you and give you the Spirit in your life so that you can respond more fully to his Kingdom which is really his rule over you and your life.”
Fr. McGinn had a final word of thanks for the Class of 2015 “for all that you’ve done for Jesuit High School during your years here, especially the ways in which you’ve displayed leadership and also the ways you’ve displayed patience and love and joy and kindness and generosity and self-control,” he said. “Thank you for displaying that in your life here during your years among us. Thank you and thank your parents as well for all that they’ve done to help make you the success that you are now and will be in the future.”
Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2015 takes place Friday, May 22 at 8 p.m. at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. Graduation rehearsal begins Friday morning at 9 sharp.