"You are more important than you know," said Mary Tedeschi Eberstadt, American author and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C., addressing 1,248 undergraduates, now alumni of one of the nation's leading Catholic universities, at Seton Hall University’s 157 Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony held today at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
"You can be proud all your lives of the great ethical truths that you have been taught in this great Catholic university. They aren't arbitrary theological edicts, but universal truths with a claim to every heart and mind. It’s good, not bad, to defend the defenseless – the destitute, the castaway, the throwaways – against the powerful and predatory," she said.
Eberstadt was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University, as was His Eminence Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, who served closely with Pope Saint John Paul II for 40 years.
"I am sure that John Paul II would endorse the vision of the University as 'a home for the mind, the heart, and the spirit,'" Dziwisz told the graduates. "Since now on, I belong to your academic community in a special way, and I am convinced that we are united by the same ideals of service to God and man, as those of Saint John Paul II."
The cardinal's sentiment was echoed by University President A. Gabriel Esteban who said, "Today, I charge you, Seton Hall class of 2014, to find your passion and make the most of your lives and the gifts you’ve been given."
This year, Brother Leonard Joseph Carlino Jr., S.B.D., had the distinction of being the first graduate from Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology to be chosen to give the valedictory address. Graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in Catholic Theology, Magna Cum Laude, Brother Lenny, an accomplished musician and choral singer, shared, "We now become mentors, leaders, teachers, professionals, and God's servants in the world. We are called to be proactive in creating the environments for growth, by serving others and sharing ourselves. And let’s do so, enjoying every chord, rest, and note that’s a part of the Seton Hall symphony."
Seton Hall graduates approximately 2,411 undergraduate and graduate students this Commencement Season. Separate ceremonies are being held for Seton Hall University's 1,163 graduate students, who will become 2014 graduates.
To view the list of commencement speeches, photos and stories, visit: commencement.shu.edu.
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