Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.: Charge to Class of 2021

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We have recognized so many deserving people, but graduates you know, you would not be here were it not for the care, love and support of your parents, guardians and families. Though Jimmy Dunne asked you to do it, I’m going to ask you to stand and do it, please stand and recognize your families without whom you would not be here today.

After much ceremony and many speeches, I have little to add by way of a charge, but this:  Take what you have learned here at Notre Dame and let it enable you to go forth and do good. Always be as generous as you can with your time, talent and all you have.  In your family life, your professional life and your spiritual life, every day of your life, never forget that your charge as a Notre Dame graduate is to be a force for good.  You never know when the circumstances of life will call you to a heroic response, as it called Jimmy Dunne in the days following September 11th, 2001.  How you respond to a crisis will be shaped by how you respond to the more ordinary events of your daily life.

Keep alive the friendships you’ve made here at Notre Dame. You will find, as you go on, that they will be among the great treasures of your life.

Class of 2021, you will always have a special place in my heart.  As I often say, the greatest joy in this job is to travel around the country and, indeed around the world, and see the great work and wonderful accomplishments that our Notre Dame graduates realize.

That will be especially true for you, graduates of the class of 2021 because of all that we’ve been through together this year.  I look forward to the time, when I can meet you, hear about all you’ve done and be proud that you are a graduate of Notre Dame. And perhaps we will reminisce a bit about masks and social distancing in this pandemic year.

And for the record, I want to publicly state, that after that Clemson game your rushing the field was exactly the right thing to do and I’m proud of you for doing it!

Just remember, whatever happens in your life, you will be in our prayers here at ND and you will always have a home here to come back to, to renew your heart and refresh your spirit. 

Congratulations and God bless you all.