Front row (l-r): Kim Gao, Mya Agnello, Adrian Smith, Abbot Cletus Meagher, Samantha Silva_Elliot Deep, Phoebe Coccia and Gin Zheng; second row (l-r): Fr. Linus Kluscarits, Chenyan Shi, Gracie Loyd, Christine Lauwerth, Andie Zatarain, Brenda Avila, Emma Pierce, Jacinta Tona and Abigail Curtis; back row (l-r): Fulton Gil, Josie Reynolds, Alden Olyniec, Peter Duan, Zachary McClain, David Kim, Erik Freudenberg, Ethan Shaw, Jost Malczewski, Gavin Whaley, Joseph McCarthy, Carson Holmes, Thomas Fortson and Johann Schulze
CULLMAN – Students at St. Bernard joined with families, faculty and staff to honor the 29 seniors of the Class of 2019 in a special Senior Dedication Mass on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
Abbot Cletus Meagher provided the homily for the service and encouraged students to not only rely on the education they are receiving at St. Bernard, but also cherish the gift of faith they have received.
“Knowledge without virtue is an empty promise,” he said. “Always seek the good, which combines knowledge and virtue. Never fear to ask yourself the question, ‘To what am I dedicating myself and what am I looking for?’”
He reminded the students, “Life is not simply about knowledge and education – it’s about the wisdom of the cross and the connection between what is learned and the knowledge of seeing the truth in God.
“Being at St. Bernard means that you accept responsibility for and dedicate yourselves to the principles of the Christian faith upon which we are founded, “Abbot Cletus continued.
As a sign of that dedication, each senior received a Benedictine Cross, and Abbot Cletus explained its symbolism: “The image of the crucified Christ is presented to remind one of the price of true wisdom and love. If one is truly wise, he or she will learn that life is lived to the fullest in dying to oneself and coming alive to the needs of others.”
Abbot Cletus continued his explanation, “On the medal are a number of abbreviations as well as an image of St. Benedict. On one side are the letters CSPB, which stand for ‘Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti’ (The Cross of our Holy Father Benedict). Vertically on the cross are the letters CSSML, which stand for ‘Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux’ (May the holy cross be my light!); and horizontally are the letters NDSMD for ‘Numquam dracos sit mihi dux’ (May the dragon never be my guide!).”
Abbot Cletus finished by saying, “Take these words to heart as you wear this medal over your heart.”
Following the homily, the faculty and staff joined the seniors and stood with them as a sign of their support. The presence of the faculty and staff indicated their concurrence with the decision of Fr. Joel Martin, president, and Fr. Linus Klucsarits, headmaster, that the seniors should be recognized. The senior class then received a blessing in recognition of the roles of leadership they have undertaken for the student body of St. Bernard Preparatory School.
Ms. Jannie Ratliff was the organist for the occasion and the St. Bernard Choral Music Department provided the singing. The Knights of the Altar present were Gavin Whaley, Carson Holmes and Gin Zheng.
Following the Mass, a luncheon was held in the Abbey Byre for the senior class and their families.