November 18, 2022

Archbishop Thompson offers priceless reminder to high school seniors

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson joins the seniors of Seton Catholic High School in Richmond for a photo following the archbishop’s annual Mass with high school seniors from Catholic schools across the archdiocese on Oct. 26 at St. Malachy Church in Brownsburg. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson joins the seniors of Seton Catholic High School in Richmond for a photo following the archbishop’s annual Mass with high school seniors from Catholic schools across the archdiocese on Oct. 26 at St. Malachy Church in Brownsburg. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

By John Shaughnessy

BROWNSBURG—For high school seniors, this last year can be a time to shine, to lead, to make the most of the friendships and experiences that are at the heart of this pivotal point in their lives.

It can also be a year when seniors can be overwhelmed by questions and doubts about their future, the increased demands on their time, and the struggles and challenges that can come with being a teenager.

Knowing both these realities, Archbishop Charles C. Thompson offered a timely reminder to nearly 1,200 seniors from across the archdiocese on Oct. 26—a reminder of just how extremely valued they are.

Speaking to the seniors during his annual Mass with them, the archbishop shared this quote that Pope Francis had once addressed to the youths of the world: “Young people, beloved of the Lord, how valued must you be if you were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. Dear young people, you are priceless.”

Throughout the Mass at St. Malachy Church in Brownsburg, the archbishop reinforced the pope’s message by both celebrating the seniors and gently challenging them.

At the beginning of the Mass, Archbishop Thompson told the seniors, “We’re here to celebrate, to celebrate all that you have accomplished, to celebrate who and what you are at this very moment. And celebrate your faith as you continue your journey.”

Later during his homily, the archbishop reminded the seniors that God is always with them on their own unique journey. He also asked the seniors to reflect on this question, “As you look back upon your four years, what are my foundations, what is it that I believe, what are my values and principles?”

Then pointing to the altar, he offered another reminder to the seniors in reference to the Eucharist being the foundation of the Catholic faith: “This is the center of our universe. This is the center for our foundation and our message. Because here, the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We believe this is the real presence of Christ himself.”

And just as the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ, so are we called to transform the world by our faith and our life, the archbishop told the seniors.

“Don’t take for granted that your life has been purchased by Jesus Christ,” the archbishop said. “With each chapter of your life, remain rooted in Christ. Stay Christ-centered.”

That message was appreciated and embraced by the seniors who attended the Mass from 11 Catholic high schools in central and southern Indiana: Bishop Chatard, Brebeuf Jesuit, Cardinal Ritter, Cathedral, Father Michael Shawe Memorial, Father Thomas Scecina Memorial, Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Providence, Providence Cristo Rey, Roncalli and Seton Catholic.

“I thought his homily was beautiful,” said Olivia Fields, a senior at Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School in Indianapolis. “It’s really going to help a lot of us as we graduate, especially how God and other people are helping you move on to that path that’s chosen for you.”

Will Rees said he has already seen in his own life the wisdom of the archbishop’s message about staying rooted in Christ.

“If we keep Jesus at the center of our lives, everything else will fall into place,” said Will, a senior at Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Oldenburg. “That’s something I try to do. When I keep Jesus at the center of my life, it works.

“When I put other things above him, that’s when I tend to fall out of line and find myself far from God and have to center myself back on Jesus. And my relationship with him just becomes better after that.”

In his remarks during the Mass, Archbishop Thompson also voiced his extra appreciation for the schools and the seniors who traveled from far outside the Indianapolis area to attend the Mass, citing Oldenburg Academy, Our Lady of Providence in Clarksville, Seton Catholic in Richmond and Shawe Memorial in Madison.

Seeing that unity among the Catholic high schools also stood out to the seniors.

“It’s very interesting to see all of the other seniors from the surrounding Catholic schools,” said Marissa Eckstein, a senior at Oldenburg Academy. “It just shows how many young people are still interested in their faith and take pride in it.”

John Walther of Our Lady of Providence High School echoed that sentiment: “It was a great experience getting to be with a lot of other schools from the Catholic community. You realize there’s a lot more people in that community in Indiana than you think. So it was great being together and a pretty good sermon as well. I connected with that part about when we make choices, we need to keep Christ at the center of that.”

Before the seniors returned to their schools, Archbishop Thompson had one more reminder for them as the Mass ended.

“What you do day in and day out is sacred because you are sacred,” the archbishop said. “No matter how sometimes you get down on yourself, don’t let anybody make you ever forget that you are indeed priceless, that you have been bought at a great price.

“You have meaning. You have purpose.” †

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