SJV grads urged to look to future ‘with the eyes of faith’

June 17, 2024 at 3:38 p.m.
Graduate Anthony Crockett and Michael Alberque, St. John Vianney curriculum coordinator, share a fist bump at Commencement June 1. In the background is school president Steven DiMezza. Hal Brown photo
Graduate Anthony Crockett and Michael Alberque, St. John Vianney curriculum coordinator, share a fist bump at Commencement June 1. In the background is school president Steven DiMezza. Hal Brown photo (Hal Brown)

By Mary Stadnyk, Associate Editor

Recalling the Gospel story about a blind man who had both the insight and courage to ask Jesus to restore his sight, Father Garry Koch said what was more important for Bartimaeus than to see with his eyes was that he needed “to see with his heart, with the eyes of faith.”

PHOTO GALLERY: St. John Vianney High School Baccalaureate

PHOTO GALLERY:  St. John Vianney High School Graduation

Addressing the 188 seniors from St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, during their Baccalaureate Mass, Father Koch, pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, urged the young people to see the deep faith of Bartimaeus as an example for their own lives and future endeavors.

“The time of self-discovery, of discernment of God’s will in your life, learning how to turn challenges into opportunities and obstacles into new paths of investigation far outweigh your ability to factor a polynomial, analyze a sentence or make a free throw,” Father Koch said.

Michela Marchiano receives Communion during the Baccalaureate Mass in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, for St. John Vianney High School. Hal Brown photo

 “While each of these skills has its place in your formation, your biggest challenge ... remains to become the person that God intended and develop the gifts that God has placed before you.”

Father Koch was principal celebrant and homilist of the May 30 Mass in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold. The school’s graduation ceremony was June 4 at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, where the festivities were enhanced by the presence of six members of the Class of 1974, who marked the 50th anniversary of their own high school graduation, as well as the 15 alumni parents who presented diplomas to their children.

The graduates were praised for many notable accomplishments – their more than 7,900 hours of service; that 11 graduates had earned associate degrees in computer science or social science from Brookdale; and that the total value of college scholarships awarded to the Class of 2024 amounted to $31.7 million.

Reflecting on her daughter’s four years at SJV, Lori Ulrich said she and her husband chose the school for Sophia “because we knew this school would provide a well-rounded Catholic education and afford her new opportunities to advance and prepare her for college.”

“SJV offered the full package, with strong academics, extracurricular activities and community service,” she said.

“Attending a Catholic school has prepared our daughter for life after high school by instilling a strong sense of faith and continuously reinforcing her relationship with God,” Ulrich continued, emphasizing that her daughter was able to attend Mass, take theology classes and participate in faith-based activities.

“A connection to Sophia’s Catholic identity will prepare and serve our daughter well to continue to have a strong sense of faith to guide her throughout her life,” she said.

“St. John Vianney High School gave us the knowledge, strength and trust in God we needed to grow our whole person.” 

Lindsey Jones, valedictorian

The Church needs quality Catholic journalism now more than ever. Please consider supporting this work by signing up for a SUBSCRIPTION (click HERE) or making a DONATION to The Monitor (click HERE). Thank you for your support.


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Recalling the Gospel story about a blind man who had both the insight and courage to ask Jesus to restore his sight, Father Garry Koch said what was more important for Bartimaeus than to see with his eyes was that he needed “to see with his heart, with the eyes of faith.”

PHOTO GALLERY: St. John Vianney High School Baccalaureate

PHOTO GALLERY:  St. John Vianney High School Graduation

Addressing the 188 seniors from St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, during their Baccalaureate Mass, Father Koch, pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, urged the young people to see the deep faith of Bartimaeus as an example for their own lives and future endeavors.

“The time of self-discovery, of discernment of God’s will in your life, learning how to turn challenges into opportunities and obstacles into new paths of investigation far outweigh your ability to factor a polynomial, analyze a sentence or make a free throw,” Father Koch said.

Michela Marchiano receives Communion during the Baccalaureate Mass in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, for St. John Vianney High School. Hal Brown photo

 “While each of these skills has its place in your formation, your biggest challenge ... remains to become the person that God intended and develop the gifts that God has placed before you.”

Father Koch was principal celebrant and homilist of the May 30 Mass in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold. The school’s graduation ceremony was June 4 at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, where the festivities were enhanced by the presence of six members of the Class of 1974, who marked the 50th anniversary of their own high school graduation, as well as the 15 alumni parents who presented diplomas to their children.

The graduates were praised for many notable accomplishments – their more than 7,900 hours of service; that 11 graduates had earned associate degrees in computer science or social science from Brookdale; and that the total value of college scholarships awarded to the Class of 2024 amounted to $31.7 million.

Reflecting on her daughter’s four years at SJV, Lori Ulrich said she and her husband chose the school for Sophia “because we knew this school would provide a well-rounded Catholic education and afford her new opportunities to advance and prepare her for college.”

“SJV offered the full package, with strong academics, extracurricular activities and community service,” she said.

“Attending a Catholic school has prepared our daughter for life after high school by instilling a strong sense of faith and continuously reinforcing her relationship with God,” Ulrich continued, emphasizing that her daughter was able to attend Mass, take theology classes and participate in faith-based activities.

“A connection to Sophia’s Catholic identity will prepare and serve our daughter well to continue to have a strong sense of faith to guide her throughout her life,” she said.

“St. John Vianney High School gave us the knowledge, strength and trust in God we needed to grow our whole person.” 

Lindsey Jones, valedictorian

The Church needs quality Catholic journalism now more than ever. Please consider supporting this work by signing up for a SUBSCRIPTION (click HERE) or making a DONATION to The Monitor (click HERE). Thank you for your support.

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