Northfield’s Thomas Aquinas College bids farewell to Class of 2024

Thomas Aquinas College’s Northfield campus bid farewell to the 30 graduates in the Class of 2024 on Saturday.

Thomas Aquinas College’s Northfield campus bid farewell to the 30 graduates in the Class of 2024 on Saturday. COURTESY PHOTO/SAM LIVINGSTON

Thomas Aquinas College’s Northfield campus bid farewell to the 30 graduates in the Class of 2024 on Saturday.

Thomas Aquinas College’s Northfield campus bid farewell to the 30 graduates in the Class of 2024 on Saturday. COURTESY PHOTO/SAM LIVINGSTON

Thomas Aquinas College’s Northfield campus bid farewell to the 30 graduates in the Class of 2024 on Saturday.

Thomas Aquinas College’s Northfield campus bid farewell to the 30 graduates in the Class of 2024 on Saturday. COURTESY PHOTO/SAM LIVINGSTON

Thomas Aquinas College’s Northfield campus bid farewell to the 30 graduates in the Class of 2024 on Saturday.

Thomas Aquinas College’s Northfield campus bid farewell to the 30 graduates in the Class of 2024 on Saturday. COURTESY PHOTO/SAM LIVINGSTON

For the Recorder

Published: 05-20-2024 1:54 PM

NORTHFIELD — Thomas Aquinas College’s New England campus bid farewell to its Class of 2024 on Saturday, marking just the third commencement exercises on the East Coast since the campus opened its doors in 2019.

His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke offered the Baccalaureate Mass of the Holy Spirit in the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel, assisted at the altar by the college’s chaplains and a host of student acolytes. The Thomas Aquinas College Choir, directed by Stephen Grimm, led hymns and chants.

In his homily, Cardinal Burke prayed that the 30 graduates in the Class of 2024 may experience a new Pentecost, “that the life of Christ in them, the life of true sons and daughters of God, through the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in their souls, may continue to flourish, inspiring and strengthening them to serve God faithfully, generously and purely, and bringing them each day securely along the way to their true destiny.”

Following the Mass, graduates mingled with their families and friends before reconvening for the commencement ceremony in the Moody Auditorium. After a brief welcome from President Paul J. O’Reilly, the day’s speakers reflected on the graduates’ achievements.

In the senior address, Paul Habsburg exhorted his classmates to continue nurturing the appetite for excellence that they have cultivated during their four years at Thomas Aquinas College.

“Understand the importance of what we study, especially for our society, [and] embrace it,” Habsburg said. “Let us go out and do great things for God on this Earth.”

Cardinal Burke reminded the graduates in his commencement address that they can do anything for God — great or small — by remaining close to the Lord through prayer and the sacraments.

“The exceptional Catholic education [that] you, dear graduates, have received has led you to the truth to which your reason is naturally attracted and which your faith identifies in all its wonderful richness,” Cardinal Burke said. “The all-beautiful and lasting fruit of your education is a life lived in Christ.”

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After the speeches, graduates received their hoods and diplomas. O’Reilly continued a longstanding Thomas Aquinas College tradition by concluding the ceremony with the “Charge to the Graduates,” written by the college’s founding president, Ronald P. McArthur, for its first commencement on the California campus in 1975. Upon hearing these words, the graduates sang the hymn Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini Tuo da gloriam — “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory.”