Graduation season for Notre Dame

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St Mary’s Cathedral was filled to overflowing on 15 December when more than 2500 people gathered for the annual graduation Mass for the Sydney campus of the University of Notre Dame.

The university community celebrated the achievements of the 500 graduates, who were presented with their graduation crosses, a traditional icon of Notre Dame.

The celebrations continued on 16 December with two graduation ceremonies at St Benedict’s Hall, where graduates were called to display mercy, large heartedness, generosity and faith as they embark on professional life.

Three graduates were conferred higher degrees by research.

During his homily, the Archbishop of Sydney, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, congratulated students on their hard work and achievements and reminded them of the power and strength of the Virgin Mary.

The power of Mary was not political, military, financial or fashionable, he said. Rather it was her power to inspire, enlighten, encourage.

“This university is named for her because Christians have called her Our Lady Seat of Wisdom: the woman in whom God found pure docility to His reason, pure receptivity to His will; the woman who pondered the big questions and her own experience of God, the universe and ourselves; the woman who reflected upon what was revealed to her by God, what she received from her fellows, and what she figured out for herself,” he said.

Vice-Chancellor Celia Hammond the best education Notre Dame can provide “is one which encompasses specialised expertise, with the capacity to reflect on broader perspectives, including the ethical and social dimensions of their work, research, decision-making and promoting the common good”.

“We hope and pray that as you go out today confident in your unique gifts and talents, but with an awareness of your own fragility and humanity and with a deeper understanding of your interconnectedness with all human people, that you let God’s mercy into your heart and let it shine through in your words and actions.”

Further graduations were to follow in Sydney, Fremantle and Broome.