May 18, 2019
2019 Commencement

New graduates of The Catholic University of America were called to transform the world with love, as founder and global editor of Aleteia, Jesús Colina, addressed the Class of 2019 during the University’s 130th Annual Commencement Ceremony. 

“You, the new graduates, future politicians, artists, physicians, architects, lawyers, business men and women - you are also called to transform the world, to build a better world. It is a fact, it is history, it is your calling,” he said.

Colina shared his personal experience of being a journalist. He started working as a journalist in 1991, and asked himself, “What’s the difference between a Christian or Catholic journalist and any other journalist?” He stated, it wasn’t better set of skills or professional ethics as the rules of journalism are the same for everyone and all journalists are or should be committed to telling the truth. He found his answer through Jesus Christ (quoting the Gospel of John), “by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Colina encouraged graduates to love as it will transform their next step in life as a professional. And for a Christian, he reminded the graduates, this means loving even one’s enemies.  

“Loving one’s enemies changes everything: if your ‘enemy’ feels that you stand up for the truth and for what is good, and that you respect him, that you even love him, he will be able to listen, to read what you write, to open his mind. If the enemy feels that you are simply opposing him and nothing more, he will never entertain the idea of listening to you, much less of changing his ways,” said Colina. 

Colina ended with one piece of advice for the new graduates in their next phase of life, and that is to love. “Now you know what makes you unique: love. If you really love, you will transform your environment, you will transform America, you will transform the world.”

Speaking from the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Colina was joined by three other laypeople who have made a contribution to society and the Church who are receiving honorary degrees. Those honorees included:

Entrepreneurs Art and Carlyse Ciocca each received honorary degrees in a private ceremony earlier this year.

University President John Garvey encouraged graduates to consider the good they can achieve through the virtue of constancy. 

“I want your spouse and children and your friends to be able to say: “He was someone I could depend on; I knew where she stood,” Garvey said. “So be constant. Be true to God, your neighbor, and yourself.”

Before the closing of the ceremony, the University honored Thérèse-Anne Druart, professor of philosophy and University Marshal, with the Shahan Medal for Service. Druart retires this year after after serving more than 30 years as a professor and more than 15 years as University Marshal.

The ceremony closed with a final benediction from University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry Rev. Jude DeAngelo, O.F.M. Conv. 

“For graduates today and yesterday have served in at least seven foreign wars, they have been priests and religious who have graduated. They have been lay men and women who have given honor to their chosen professions. And the growth of knowledge and wisdom in the study and betterment in humanity. May these new graduates continue this legacy of working for the common good of society renewing Holy Mother Church as well as building the kingdom of justice and peace that Christ commands us. In a special way we pray for all of our lay men and women graduating today, help them never to forget their Christian vocation to transform the world by bringing the gospel to their families, their friends, their communities, and their professions,” Father Jude said. 

The University conferred approximately 1,620 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees during the ceremony. The Columbus School of Law Commencement, traditionally held inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. on May 24. Judge William T. Newman Jr., chief judge for the Arlington Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Virginia, will be the principal speaker for the ceremony.

Other graduation events held over commencement weekend included the Honors Convocation and the Baccalaureate Mass, both held on May 17 at the Basilica.