Graduates of 2020, if you learned nothing else at Notre Dame, you have learned how to wait. When we sent you home in March 2020, I thought, “We will be able to bring them back in May for Commencement.” Then we had to postpone until 2021, when I thought, “Certainly, we will be able to bring them back in 2021.” Alas, we had to delay to Memorial Day, 2022. And finally, here you are! At last!! Thank you for waiting, and thank you for coming back to campus for it. It is so good to have you back on campus again. As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.
Now I gave you a charge at your on-line Commencement in 2020. And I’m sure all of you have committed it to memory. I said then that you were graduating at a time of massive social, economic and public health challenges. You were the Fighting Irish, and I encouraged you to fight through the challenges. I said then you should make your story a tale of resilience and hope, of friendship and solidarity and of the kind of courage and persistence that conquers despair and discouragement.
Class of 2020, I have seen how well you have responded to that charge over the last two years.
One of my true joys as President of Notre Dame is to meet alumni from all around the world and hear of their remarkable accomplishments and their dedicated service. This weekend, I’ve had the chance to meet you, two years after leaving Notre Dame, and I’m proud to call you graduates. As graduates of the class of 2020, you will always, always, have a special place in my heart, for you had to overcome special challenges. I look forward to the time when we will meet again, and I will have even more reason to be proud that you are a graduate of Notre Dame.
You have been and will always be in our prayers here at Notre Dame. Know wherever you go, and whatever happens in your life, you will always have a home at Notre Dame to renew your heart and refresh your spirit—as, I hope, you have done in the past few days.
So as we go our separate ways, I’m going to ask our graduates to stand and bow your heads for a blessing. And I’m going to ask, also all of you parents, guardians, friends, family, also faculty and administrators to stand as well, and extend your hand over these graduates like this and we’ll give them a blessing as we send them off.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May he shed his light upon you.
May he direct your steps
To walk in His way and always to know his love.
May the Holy Spirit fill you with the work of grace
And inspire ardent, dedicated love.
And may Notre Dame, Our Lady,
Guard, guide and protect you always.
And may God bless you,
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.