Commencement marks a rite of passage for CBA graduates
On May 20 members of the 50th graduating class of Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, gathered to celebrate Mass together as a class for the last time in St. Catharine Church, Holmdel, just days before they would say their goodbyes after their commencement ceremony, May 24, at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft.
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., principal celebrant of the Baccalaureate Mass, was joined by concelebrants, Father John Folchetti, pastor, St. Leo the Great Church, Lincroft, and chaplain at CBA; Msgr. Eugene Rebeck, pastor, St. Catharine Parish, and assisted by former faculty member Rev. Mr. Garry Koch, St. Catharine Parish, Spring Lake. The Mass was the first Rev. Mr. Koch had assisted at since his ordination as a transitional deacon on May 19.
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The theme of transitions figured prominently in
the homily preached by Bishop O’Connell, who reminded the young men that they were no longer adolescents and that graduation marked a rite of passage. Referencing the Gospel of John to address the senior class, the bishop said, “In the world, you will have trouble but take courage I have overcome the world.”
“Tonight the Lord, Jesus himself, gives that same message to you,” he continued. “You be the difference, believe what the Lord has taught you, believe in his presence. Believe in him who has overcome the world.”
As a school founded in the tradition of St. John Baptist de La Salle, a CBA education is marked by a commitment to faith through service. This year, William Nerney was recognized for his service to his school and community with the Bishop O’Connell Service Scholarship, providing him with a full scholarship to The Catholic University of America, Washington.
During a ceremony focused on new beginnings and opening doors, CBA president Brother Frank Byrne announced that Brother James Butler, who served as school principal for four years, had been appointed president of LaSalle College High School, Philadelphia. He also announced that Peter Santanello, a faculty member at the school since 1974 and former associate principal, will become the eighth principal of CBA and the first lay person to hold this job in the school’s history.
“We express our congratulations to you and on behalf of the diocese I pledge you my support and friendship during your long tenure,” Bishop O’Connell expressed.
As Bishop O’Connell acknowledged the love and support of the parents, their overwhelming sense of pride was evident as mothers, each holding a flower that was given to them by their son, spoke fondly of the school where their sons have grown into young men.
“It’s more than just an education,” said Karen Cangialosi, a member of St. Catharine Parish, whose son Peter won the Religion Award and will be studying biology at Duke University in the fall.
“There’s something about this school, you know they’re going to go out into the world and be successful,” Beth Koerwer continued. Her son Christian will be attending the University of Notre Dame.
During the commencement ceremony, an additional honorary diploma was conferred on Brother James as the Class of 2012 paid tribute to their principal who began his tenure in 2008 as the graduates began their freshman year at the all-boys school.
Brother James was lauded not only for his exemplary leadership skills, but also for his innovative thinking. “(He) ultimately prepared us for a life that involves the challenge to compete and challenge to give,” said Stephan Brennan, student council president, citing examples of CBA’s success in athletics and raising funds for the Christian Brothers School in Ethiopia and the San Miguel School in Nicaragua.
After receiving his honorary diploma, Brother James said, “It has been an absolute delight cheering for you these past four years. And I am richer for it by far.” Brother James certainly had much to be proud of when speaking of the accomplishments of the 233 graduates. In this class, 96 percent will be attending four-year universities next fall. Thirty-eight percent of the class will be attending a Catholic school. The graduates also received $25.8 million dollars in academic scholarships.[[In-content Ad]]