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Bishop Celebrates Baccalaureate Mass for High School Graduates

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On Sunday, May 29, Cardinal Gibbons Catholic High School held its 2010-2011 commencement ceremony at Meymandi Hall in Raleigh for 295 students receiving diplomas. Two days earlier, Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, celebrated the class of 2011's Baccalaureate Mass at St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill. The attendance exceeded 1,800, with standing room only in the Church, the large gathering space filled to capacity and more than 300 people watching the Mass on closed-circuit television in the new parish hall.

In his homily, the Bishop spoke of the joint dedication of school administration, faculty and parents who worked together to provide the graduates with a solid foundation for the new world that lies ahead. "Graduates, Cardinal Gibbons has given you an excellent education in all fields of study, provided countless opportunities to utilize your gifts and talents, and wonderful memories that will last forever," Bishop Burbidge said. "But above all else, the school has done everything possible to assist your parents so that you are rooted and built up in Jesus Christ."

Noting how the new graduates will hear about expectations so many people have of them, Bishop Burbidge said those expectations are shared by family and friends joining them in celebration at the Mass. "However, our highest priority for you is that you remain 'firm in faith,'" the Bishop added. "It is what the Church and the world need from you more than ever!"

Bishop Burbidge thanked the Class of 2011 for initiating a Leadership Endowment, which will provide all Gibbons students the opportunity to submit an idea for a project they feel will benefit the school. Each submission must be accompanied by a three- to five-minute video, highlighting such facts about the project as who is involved and how much money is needed to implement it, among other details. The winning submission will receive money from the endowment to fund the project. The Class of 2011 is providing $9,000 to begin the endowment, with each member of the class being asked to pledge $20.11 a year for the next five years to grow the fund.

In acknowledging the endowment, Bishop Burbidge noted how the gift ties in with the mission of the school. "The gift reflects the fact, dear graduates, that you have embraced that mission, which is actually the mandate of Christ Himself: to be men and women of faith, leadership and service in Church and community. With the administration and faculty and the entire Gibbons community, I thank you for your generosity and for affirming the mission so dear to all of us."


On Saturday, Bishop Burbidge celebrated a Baccalaureate Mass for the graduating class of St. Thomas More Academy in Raleigh.


Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge addressing Cardinal Gibbons High School graduates at Baccalaureate Mass celebrated at St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill.

Above: Happy graduates anticipate the Baccalaureate Mass at St. Thomas More Church on graduation weekend.

Above: Approximately 300 people attending CGHS Mass in overflow room at St. Thomas More Church. More than 1,800 people were in attendance at the liturgy, filling the Church, gathering space and new social hall.