Graduates and Families Gather for Baccalaureate Mass

May 02, 2014

From left: The Right Reverend Camacho, ’95; Bishop Lynch, ’97; and Monsignor Morris, ’79.

Students, families, administrators, faculty, staff gathered Friday afternoon for the traditional Baccalaureate Mass in honor commencement weekend at University Campus.

Most Reverend Robert N. Lynch ’97 presided at the Mass. Bishop Lynch heads the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, to which the University Campus area belongs, and also serves as a university trustee. The Mass is open to people of all faiths in the Saint Leo community, and offers a time for spiritual refreshment and thanksgiving for the accomplishments of the graduates taking part in weekend commencement activities. The Mass also offers students headed to their distinct graduation the opportunity to come together, whether attended Saint Leo as commuters, resident students, or online. Administrators, faculty, and staff are welcomed at Baccalaureate Mass, and it is also made available for viewing online.

Bishop Lynch’s homily reflected this spirit of unity. In offering guidance to the graduates and others assembled for the Mass, Bishop Lynch noted he was passing along three core teachings embraced by a number of faiths. He counseled acting with mercy, meaning taking the time and patience to understand the suffering of others. Compassion—acting to help those is need whether we know them or not—follows next, Bishop Lynch said. Forgiveness is the third pillar, Bishop Lynch explained. Seeking and granting forgiveness requires being open to new feelings, and “is the touch of Jesus,” he said.

Clergy celebrating the Mass with Bishop Lynch were: The Right Reverend Isaac J. Camacho, O.S.B. ’95, abbot of Saint Leo Abbey and a Saint Leo University board of trustee; The Reverend Monsignor Robert F. Morris ’79, vicar general of the diocese of Saint Petersburg and a Saint Leo University trustee; Reverend Stephan Brown, S.V.D., M.Div., assistant to the president for university ministry; and Reverend Michael W. Cooper, S.J., S.T.D., assistant professor of pastoral studies and theology. Reverend Carl Melchior, diocese of Saint Petersburg, will be the master of ceremonies.

Members of the Class of 2014 were involved in the Mass as well. Newton Culmer provided the first reading, and Dominique Spano was one of the four student altar servers. Newton Culmer graduates with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and Dominique Spano with a bachelor’s degree in religion. The Saint Leo Singers, Just the FACTS (faculty-staff chorus), and the Saint Leo Praise Team provided the music ministry.