Final Aquin Baccalaureate Mass Held
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 16, 2024
FREEPORT—Aquin Central Catholic High School held its final Baccalaureate Mass on Thursday, May 9, for the 15 graduating seniors and the rest of the Aquin Catholic Schools population, at St. Joseph Chapel across from the school.
Bishop David Malloy explained in his homily the logic behind his decision this year to be present at the Baccalaureate Masses for the high schools throughout the diocese instead of at the graduations.
“We’re in this year which the Church has asked all of us to work to deepen and purify our faith in the Eucharist,” he said. “(At the Mass) what happens here is not simply something of a reenactment, it’s not imagination. The bread truly becomes the body of Christ, the wine is the blood …  and all of that means for us, it is at the heart of our Catholic faith … what it is we are about.”
“Especially for me as bishop this year, I want to take the opportunity for all the high schools and ask to come for the Mass to reinforce especially for you graduates the importance of this living relationship … it becomes more and more your own choice and fulfillment of that reality.
“It’s also an opportunity for me as bishop … to come pray for you and with you.”
He asked especially for the graduates to think of how they are different since entering Aquin, noting that as graduates, their perspective is wider than as underclassmen.
“Of course we have the sadness this year. The high school is suspended after this year, after 101 years … so there’s a sadness, but also pride, joy, of being in the last graduating class … (you can say) I am a graduate of those 101 years.”
Even in that sadness, he said, “The (deeper) question is: Do I know Jesus Christ better? … it is an
important question. … have I grown in virtue?”
He quoted the Aquin website: “We are a faith community, founded in Christ, where values and virtues
are at the core of everything we do.”
“That’s what distinguishes us,” he said. It is “the baptism and virtues … that make us even better persons.”
Bishop Malloy talked about some of the virtues, including: charity (living with love for others); chastity (purity in our bodies, thoughts, actions, growing in respect for myself and respect for others); temperance (living soberly, taking only what we need); diligence (that decisiveness to complete what is asked of me); forgiveness; kindness (have you grown in kindness during your time at Aquin?); humility (not taking yourself too seriously).  
“These are the virtues, these are the program whether you are Catholic or not Catholic,” Bishop Malloy said, “to carry through to wherever you will go from here.”
The bishop ended by expressing gratitude and thankfulness to God and to all who, over the school’s 101 years, have made Aquin possible. 
“You seniors, we’re proud of you,” he concluded. “Go forth now and continue to make all of us proud of all … you have received in these years.”
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