I write these comments in the aftermath of the horrible massacre of 9 people of faith participating in a Bible Study in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. I write also in the light of the encyclical letter, Lberato Si, of Pope Francis warning that we human beings are degrading the planet with pollution and putting future generations at risk. Given the challenges that humanity faces, I look for signs of hope.
One such sign of hope took place at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angeles in Los Angeles on June 11, when the Senior Class of Verbum Dei High School graduated and stepped into the future. These young men from South Los Angeles have beaten the odds and mastered their fate. They have proven themselves worthy, and they are now ready for the next step on their life’s path. They prepared themselves not only academically, but also morally and spiritually. Besides completing their course work, they recognize injustice in the world and want to take prophetic action to address it. They have felt the love of God shown to them by their families, classmates and mentors, and they want to share that care for people and creation with the world. These young graduates of Verbum Dei are not our future, they are our present. The will make a difference by making the world a more just and loving place for all to live.
I want to congratulate our graduates and to thank them for their hard work. Congratulations also to the dedicated faculty and staff of the Verb and to the families of our graduates. In addition, on behalf of the graduates, I want to thank the Benefactors and Corporate Sponsors of Verbum Dei High School. Without you, these young graduates would not be where they are today. We are all grateful.
Rev. Michael J. Mandala, S. J.