It was graduation day and mom and dad were on campus, mom armed with the camera to capture the momentous occasion in photos. She wanted a picture of Junior in his cap and gown with dad. “Let’s try to make this look natural,” she said. “Junior, put your arm around your dad’s shoulder.” That prompted dad to announce, “Well, if you want it to look natural, why not have him put his hand in my pocket?”

Humor aside, much of college graduation focuses on achievement, and well it should. Achievement can be celebrated by the students, the faculty and the families that make it all work. There are awards, fellowships and honors given to acknowledge success. It is a great time.

In the midst of the self-congratulatory frenzy, gratitude shouldn’t be ignored. The custom of the Baccalaureate Mass invites the academic community to express gratitude to God and gratitude to all who supported those graduating.

This year’s Commencement Mass is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 23, at the Cathedral of St. Paul. The Mass is certainly a celebration. The music will be great. Graduates with their families have attended in the past in good numbers.

Over the years the venue has changed, but the location for Baccalaureate now is firmly established at the St. Paul Cathedral. It is a majestic building and captures the significance of the event. Broad participation by faculty and staff in Friday’s Commencement Mass would be a fitting way to start a weekend filled with graduation festivities. It would also be a visible show of the university community’s support and gratitude to the Class of 2014 and their families and friends as well as provide an opportunity for the graduates to express their thanks to those at the university who helped them reach this milestone.

I urge you all to attend, and faculty are especially encouraged to participate and wear academic regalia and process with other Mass participants by being part of the procession. Please wear academic regalia and meet in the sacristy of the cathedral.

In addition, Campus Ministry would love the help of hospitality ministers. Contact Kellen O’Grady to volunteer. See you on the 23rd!