SJC Long Island hosted its annual Baccalaureate Prayer Service virtually on Thursday, May 20, offering the Classes of 2020* and 2021 a moment of reflection on their time and all their accomplishments at St. Joseph’s College, ahead of the College’s official commencement on June 4.
“We join virtually today to celebrate and bless our graduating Classes of 2020 and 2021,” said S. Suzanne Franck, CSJ, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies and director of the Academic Advisement Center. “In a special way, we pray that our creator God bless our graduates with eyes open and ears attentive to the suffering and the joy of the world.”
The theme of the event was service, reflecting on one of the College’s five pillars — and one that members of the SJC community have been actively living out, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased outcry against social injustice.
Going Above and Beyond in Service
“The challenge to reach beyond ourselves and our own desires is daunting in the world we live in today, said Cristian Murphy, director of Campus Ministry. “Without enthusiasm, hard work, inner transformation and great generosity, this core value would become meaningless.
“We honor the Class of 2021 in rising up to the challenge through their perseverance, tenacity, focus, and their hope-filled choices to serve others without reservation, especially the poor and marginalized,” he continued. “Congratulations to the Class of 2021 as you continue your journey with gratitude and hope for the future.”
Undergraduate student speaker Yicel Moreno addressed her classmates, encouraging them to continue to live a life characterized by service.
“The significance we bring to our service is that which is lasting,” said Moreno, who’s earning a bachelor’s degree in child study with a concentration in speech. “Today, we make the decision to use the knowledge we have thus far to create and reshape this world, starting with our local communities.”
Graduate speaker Michael DeCicco shared Moreno’s sentiment.
“As we enter this next chapter in our lives, we may think back to St. Joseph’s College, as well as the opportunities ahead for both change and improvement in these coming years,” said DeCicco, who earned a bachelor’s from SJC Long Island in hospitality and tourism management with a concentration in health care in 2018 and who’s now set to earn an MBA in Health Care Management.
Wishing Them Well
Throughout the event, students also heard from Bryan Gill and Michelle Frati, executive director and assistant of Student Involvement, Leadership and Intercultural Engagement, respectively; Thomas Petriano, Ph.D., professor and chair of religious studies; Adriana Silva, associate director of admissions; and Janelle Hill, associate vice president for Student Life.
“We celebrate the Class of 2021’s academic achievements, and honor with gratitude all our SJC families and friends for encouraging and supporting our graduates to be open-minded and open-hearted while they yearn to take their role in the transformation of the universe,” said Gill.
Musical performances were done by Anna Malzone, director of SJC Long Island’s Council for the Arts, as well as students Alyssa Montes ’21 and Julia Schaefer ’22.
Watch the full Baccalaureate Prayer Service below.
*With last year’s commencement taking place virtually due to the pandemic, members of the Class of 2020 were invited to RSVP to walk at this year’s ceremony, which is set to take place on campus on Friday, June 4. Attendees were required to register in advance.