One of the most intimate and unique gatherings at Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry is that of the annual Graduating Student Liturgy. Faculty, staff, students and close family and friends gather in the Chapel of St. Ignatius for an inclusive gathering dedicated to the blessing and support of graduating students. Songs were sung that spoke to the meaningful work that each student has committed to, as leaders for a more just and humane world. Call and response readings affirmed the calling that each student has within them, and the unique gifts that they bring to communities in which they serve. A special candle lighting ceremony created the opportunity for each graduating student to say a few words in response to their experience in the program. The students surprised the gathering with a special acapella song set to beats the students created with their hands and paper cups, with lyrics written by two students--Melissa Smith and Hannah Hochkeppel (see right; click for an expanded version of the image). Participants continued to celebrate with a outdoor barbeque after the gathering.
The photo collage below shares just a few snapshots from the evening.
The closing benediction was as follows:
"May God bless you with discomfort
at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you will live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you will have a passion for justice, equality, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed
for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war,
so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them,
and change their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with the foolishness
to think that you can make a difference in the world,
so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.