The Diocese of Camden was honored to have four Camden seminarians graduate from Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J., on Monday, May 16. One of the men, Peter Gallagher, was the valedictorian for the School of Theology and salutatorian for the entire graduating class. He gave his salutatory address on Sunday, May 15, which is excerpted here:
Fellow graduates, fittingly on Pentecost Sunday, we are sent out on a mission, a journey, in order to pass on what we have received: whether it be applying math equations, treating a patient or simply sharing the truths of our faith.
Those present here today have excelled in the classroom, achieving high marks in your studies. We now take on a special responsibility: to excel as models outside of class and act like servant leaders as Seton Hall has prepared us.
The Class of 2016 is bursting at the seam with young adults: ready to enter the working world for the first time, seeking to make the world a better place for their future families. But where is the fuel for this passion, what is it that can truly make the world a better place? Class of 2016, I propose that the answer is love, charity, the gift of self. This love encompasses both the cross and also many bursts of laughter along the way. Let us continue to use the gifts given to us by the God who loves us beyond measure, especially finding time to serve those most in need. I assure you that you will find joy in doing what you have been made to do!
May our dedication, our perseverance, patience, cooperation, and courage radiate in our families and our workplaces, leaving an example worthy of being followed. Of course, we have much to learn from those who came before us! Class of 2016, we came together in moments of joy and success — I think of sporting events and fundraisers such as PirateTHON — as well as in solidarity and despair, supporting and praying for those in need: whether it be the recent Ecuadorian earthquake or our friend’s personal intentions. This unity is necessary; we can all agree, my fellow classmates, that it is peace we long for in the depths of our hearts. We cannot do this alone or by our own effort. Let us pray for our friends and those we find hard to love: our freshman year roommate or younger sibling, remembering these words from Pope Benedict: “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort, but greatness.”