John J. Brennan, chairman, Notre Dame Board of Trustees: Opening Prayer

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Thank you, Tom.

Graduates.

It’s my privilege and honor to Congratulate and Thank You on behalf of your Board of Trustees and the whole Notre Dame Family.

First, Congratulations on all you have accomplished during your time here. Those accomplishments will be formally acknowledged in a few minutes when you will become  the latest recipients of a Notre Dame degree.  We are very proud of each of you.  

Second, you have our sincere thanks and admiration for the way you’ve handled the disruption to your final semester with us. You have demonstrated great character and fortitude in very challenging circumstances and you have impressed us with your resiliency.  You will always be the ‘Unique’ Class of 2020 for having handled adversity so well and we salute you.

Finally, in preparing for today’s ceremony, I wanted to capture how Notre Dame’s leaders would describe you as a group. So, I asked our board members and the University’s senior leaders to each provide me with a one word description of The Class of 2020.  In the form of a Word Cloud, here is what they said. You can, I hope, sense our immense admiration for each of you, as reflected in this image.  And, I can assure you, these sentiments are heartfelt.  You will all receive a beautiful copy of this Word Cloud shortly, we hope you will display it with pride. As Fr. John has said, you---the Class of 2020---will always occupy a special place in the hearts of the Notre Dame family.

For today’s invocation, I’d like to ask you to join me  on a virtual  visit to the Grotto.

Let us pray.

Dear Lord,

We gather here at the Grotto on this special day, where so many prayers of the Notre Dame family have been spoken and answered, to give You thanks for the graduates we honor.

You have blessed these graduates with many gifts, Lord.  We thank you for:

  • their joy for life
  • their character
  • their talent
  • their faithfulness
  • their resiliency
  • their concern for one another
  • their commitment to community
  • their commitment to go out into the world to make a positive difference
  • their Fighting Irish Spirit…..

And for so much more, Lord.  

Encircle our graduates with Your love, Lord, wherever they may be. Grant them joy and a sense of accomplishment for all they have achieved.  Help them to always use the gifts You have given them to serve You and one another.

We thank You also for those who helped to bring our graduates to this day:

  • for Notre Dame’s faculty, who taught, challenged, and mentored them;
  • for the University’s leaders, rectors, ministers, coaches, and staff members, who inspired by word and example;
  • for the friends that have come into their lives through Notre Dame, steadfast companions for a lifetime;
  • for their loved ones who have passed, especially for AnnRose Jerry, a member of the Class of 2020, and all those members of Notre Dame family who now rest with You;
  • and most especially, Lord, we thank you for their parents and guardians, siblings, grandparents, spouses and families, who helped make their success possible through their love, prayers, and support.

Lord, the road ahead is not without its challenges, in this time of pandemic.

Be with our graduates.

Keep them healthy and safe.

Guide them as they continue to discern what You have called them each to do.

May they always know of Your love for them, and in turn share this love generously with all they meet.

Until we gather here on campus next May to celebrate them in full measure, may these candles and our prayers light their way.

And through the intercession of Our Lady, Notre Dame, may Your unending grace and blessing descend upon them and be with them always.  Amen.