Our John Carroll Class of 2014 celebrated a big rite of passage last week as they received the onyx-and-gold John Carroll rings. It is a three-day celebration filled with rituals, prayers, and lots of photographs. On Thursday night the juniors and their families gathered for the special Ring Ceremony where this important symbol of the John Carroll education was blessed and distributed. The next morning we continued to celebrate with the Junior Ring Mass, and on Saturday night the students danced the night away at Ring Dance, similar to a Junior Prom. As our graduates can tell you—for the ladies, it’s a three-dress affair.
I thought and prayed a lot before writing my opening introduction and prayer for last night’s Ring Ceremony as I wanted to tie in a connection with our new Holy Father Francis. For the past few weeks I updated our school community with news and mini-lessons before the start of each school day. It seemed important to tie in the new Holy Father with our celebration of the John Carroll ring. Here is what I shared with the juniors and their families on Thursday night:
Opening Prayer for Ring Ceremony for the Class of 2014
The recent weeks have been filled with new beginnings: As a Catholic school community, we learned and prayed each day as our Church went through a fast evolution of changes in leadership and structure, and a new chapter in Church History unfolded before our eyes. Just yesterday these changes culminated in the election of a new shepherd to guide our Church in the years to come. He is a simple and holy man who embraces deep faith and the intellectual life as a Jesuit, along with a humble spirit and a deeply caring heart for the poor as shown in the selection of his new name: Pope Francis.
Just as our juniors gather now to receive their John Carroll ring which will symbolically bind them together as a class and unite them with the generations of John Carroll graduates who have come before them since the first Class of 1968, so too our new Holy Father will receive a new ring: This Tuesday on the Feast of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of the universal Church, Pope Francis will receive the Fisherman’s Ring which will unite him with all those who served the Church as Bishop of Rome and “Servant of the Servants of God.”
May the juniors feel a special bond with this new Francis who has quickly come to show us the Light of Christ, and may the John Carroll rings that they will receive this evening make them conscious of being an instrument of God’s peace to all whom they encounter each day, as they too attempt to share the Gospel by how they live their lives.
And so we open our Ring Ceremony with the prayer of the also gentle and humble Saint Francis of Assisi, a role model to our new Holy Father and to all of us:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
God is Good: All the time!!
Archbishop John Carroll, pray for us.
Four Generations of John Carroll: Hope Kelly ‘14 (center) received her John Carroll ring last night. Hope is the daughter of Robin Bond Kelly ‘95 (second from right) and Brian Kelly ‘96 (not in picture), granddaughter of Mary Ellen Carpenter Kelly ‘72 (second from left) and David Kelly ‘72 (not in picture), niece of JC Math-Science teacher Susan Carpenter Kraft ‘74 (far right), and great-granddaughter of family matriarch Helen Carpenter of Bel Air (far left).
Book of Remembrance for the family of Xavia Pirozzi who passed on to Eternal Life last March: Scrapbooked prayers and notes written on Junior Retreat were presented to Xavia’s Mom and Grandma at today’s Junior Ring Mass.