One hundred fifty-nine University of Notre Dame graduating seniors embarking on a year or more of service in this country and abroad were honored during the University’s annual Senior Service Send-Off ceremony May 19 (Saturday) in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Leighton Concert Hall.
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president, commended the seniors for their commitment to service whether mentoring AIDS orphans in South Africa, helping protect and preserve our environment, serving the economically poor or marginalized, fostering spiritual formation in the nation’s parishes, or providing a host of other services that match the mission of Notre Dame.
Katie Bergin, a 1994 graduate who did her postgraduate service as a Holy Cross Associate, offered three insights to the graduates. She reminded them to be “gentle” with their parents who might be feeling a little fear for their child’s safety and to be innovative and adaptable with their lives to allow their vision to evolve. Finally, she extolled the seniors to pay attention to their service, because “genuine engagement in your service work, your careful listening and focused attention will guide your responses to the vital question: ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’”
Graduating senior Kenenna Amuzie, who will serve with the Lasallian Volunteers; senior Greg Woods, who will serve with the Holy Cross Overseas Lay Ministry Program; and senior Marilyn Blasingame, who will spend two years with the Peace Corps, introduced Father Jenkins, Bergin and Rev. William M. Lies, C.S.C., executive director of the Center for Social Concerns, who will be leaving the Center on July 1 to become the vice president of mission engagement and church affairs.
Father Lies, in addressing the graduates, said: “This moment is for YOU — but it is for your parents and families, too.” Turning to the parents, Father Lies said, “You’re the ones who planted and nurtured in them hearts for service, born of faith. You’re the ones who gave them and nurtured their intellectual curiosity, their compassion and their zeal. That’s why they’re really here today.”
Among the service programs in which this year’s Notre Dame graduates will participate are Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education, which provides teachers for understaffed parochial schools in dioceses across the United States; Notre Dame’s Echo Faith Formation Leadership Program, which trains and provides religious educators for Catholic parishes; the Peace Corps; AmeriCorps; and Teach For America.
Many of the graduates became involved in service and social action through the programs and courses of the Center for Social Concerns. They join a community of more than 4,000 Notre Dame alumni who have chosen postgraduate volunteer service since the Center for Social Concerns was founded in 1983.
Contact: Mike Hebbeler, director, Senior Transitions Programs, Center for Social Concerns, 574-631-5779, Hebbeler.firstname.lastname@example.org