In a poignant ceremony June 5 highlighting the “shining light” of recipients receiving the highest honor given to a Catholic school student, nine seniors were honored at the Archbishop’s Medallion ceremony with Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, and Marti West, superintendent of Catholic Schools.
Honorees recognized were Ameila Tristan of Holy Cross of San Antonio, Angelica Flores of Antonian College Preparatory High School, Daniel Guerra of Central Catholic High School, Frankie Valdovinos of St. Anthony Catholic High School, Isabelle Purcell of Incarnate Word High School, Madleine Pawelek of St. Gerard Catholic High School, Nikos L. of Our Lady of the Hills Regional Catholic High School in Kerrville, Tristan Ornelas of St. John Paul II Catholic High School in New Braunfels, and Victoria Huedpohl of Providence Catholic School.
In remarks at Assumption Seminary to the students, their families, and school administrators, Archbishop Gustavo told attendees that it is a strange part of life that those things we work the hardest at always seem to surprise us when we finish them. “You have been working to finish your time in high school for years now, and I know you have been looking forward to it. But now that it is here, I would bet that you are a bit surprised that graduation has come already!” he laughed. “Thanks be to God for such a wonderful surprise!”
The archbishop told the graduates that they were being recognized because they worked to “assist your school, parish, and community to encounter the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to promote Catholic teachings and values,” and that it was an honor to be with them.
He added that they are also receiving the award precisely because they have been living out archdiocesan priorities in their own lives. “We hold as a priority the witness and faith of you, our youth and young adults. We have a priority of quality catechesis and formation, which you received and excelled at in at your respective high schools and in your parishes,” Archbishop Gustavo emphasized. “Lastly, you are being given this award because you have helped make disciples in the mode of the New Evangelization.”
The Missionary of the Holy Spirit acknowledged to the awardees that they have probably been hearing the phrase graduation is not an end but a beginning, and he congratulated them for a great beginning in life so far.
“I hope you see in this award that we, your brothers and sisters in Christ, are proud of you and have great confidence in you. God has a wonderful vocation planned for each of you. He has called you to a life that will bring you great joy and will benefit the church and the people of God through you. Be open to that calling!” he stressed. “Keep witnessing to Christ in your colleges and in your workplaces, when you find the future spouse God has for your or when you enter seminary or a religious order. Do not be afraid; you walk in the Light of Christ, and the future is bright. Thank you for your discipleship. Thank you for your faithfulness.”