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Notre Dame graduands enter a new chapter in the story of their lives

By Matthew Lau

Jubilant University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA) graduands have this month embarked upon a new beginning stretched out before them as the world awaits their contribution to our society by becoming “salt of the earth and the light of the world”.

Two Graduation Masses were held at St Mary’s Cathedral on Monday, 12 July to celebrate the achievements of UNDA Fremantle Campus students.

Hundreds turned out for the 2pm UNDA Graduation Mass on 12 July at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Max Hoh.

The 2pm Mass included the Faculties of Education, Philosophy & Theology, and Faculties of Arts, Sciences, Law & Business. Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB led the Mass, joined by St Charles’ Seminary Rector Fr Phillip Fleay, Redemptorist Mater Seminary Rector Fr Michael Moore SM, Vice Rector Fr Luis Tijerino, Spirtual Director Fr Noe Navarrete and UNDA Chaplain Fr Joseph Laundy.

The 6pm included the Faculties of Medicine, Nursing, Midwifery and Health Sciences. Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB also led the 6pm Mass, with Fr Phillip Fleay, Fr Joseph Laundy and Mgr Michael Keating as his concelebrants.

Ceremonies were held from 13 to 15 July for 2020 graduands, with ceremonies on 16 July for the July 2021 graduands.

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB performs the act of transubstantiation during the 6pm UNDA Graduation Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on 12 July. Photo: Michelle Tan.

The history of the graduation ceremony can be traced back to the first universities, which were developed by the Church from the 11th Century onwards. Graduands had to meet academic requirements and be of good character. Upon approval, they were then admitted to the ‘grade’ or ‘degree’ of Bachelor, Master or Doctor.

The chancellor’s authority to confer degrees originally came from the Church.

The bishop of a diocese was the sole authority to license a teacher.

Over time, this authority was delegated to his chief secretary or chancellor.

When teachers began to request a licence to teach in more than one diocese, papal approval was required.

The chancellor’s authority then came directly from the Pope.

In his homily for the Graduation Masses, Archbishop Costelloe outlined how Jesus Christ is “a sure guide for the living of our lives to the full”.

“For people who are celebrating the successful completion of their studies and are about to step, in one way or another, into a new chapter in the story of their lives, as you are all about to do, it is a precious gift to know the mind and heart of Jesus,” His Grace described.

“The challenge, of course, which is also the adventure which beckons to you, is to grapple with the reality that what the words and deeds of Jesus, the mind and heart of Jesus, put before us is in so many respects the very opposite of what our instincts, shaped by the world around us, might be leading us to embrace.”

Living as God intends us to, according to how Jesus detailed in the Sermon on the Mount, he added, brings happiness and blessings to those who adhere.

“To all of you who are graduating, and indeed to the rest of us as well, Jesus offers a recipe for a life fully lived.

Many people attended the 6pm UNDA Graduation Mass on 12 July at St Mary’s Cathedral, including the Hon Christopher Ellison and Notre Dame Vice Chancellor Prof Francis Campbell. Photo: Michelle Tan.

“Jesus does not promise material wealth or a stellar career or a life free from challenge and difficulty. He promises instead a life of deep peace and profound inner harmony which will make us precious gifts to those we love, and valued companions on the road to those with whom we share our lives,” Archbishop Costelloe continued.

“We really will be, then, the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”

Graduate’s Farewell Addresses were delivered at each ceremony by Errol Xavier Lobo, Simon Michael Joachim, Brian Wai-Henk Cheung, Kathleen Anne Irwin, Ashleigh Kate Parker, Reid Anthony Bevan, Renata Louise Sivacolundhu, and Sascha Anne Elizabeth Oliver, respectively.