As Xavier Headmaster Dave Eustis explained the symbols on the Xavier class rings to the juniors receiving them, one could not help but think of everything the Class of 2022 has been through.
Just about a year ago life shut down as we know it because of COVID. The last three months of their sophomore year were spent in a virtual learning setting. This year, too, has been different as we slowly but surely move out of the grips of the pandemic.
Yet here they stood, socially distant and resolute, for the Mass and Blessing of the Rings. They have endured. They have flourished.
“Adversity will make you stronger if you choose not let it beat you,” Principal Brendan Donohue told the juniors. “You’re Xavier men in the spirt of the Xaverian Brothers and all the Xavier alumni who have come before you. I am very proud of you as a class and each of you individually.
“Xavier is stronger today than it was a year ago precisely because we have not let adversity beat us. I want to thank you, the class of 2022, for your leadership and adaptability. As Xavier men you have shown true zeal for your studies and compassion for each other during this trying time.”
The Rev. John Gancarz of St. John Bosco Parish, who celebrated the Mass, spoke of the school motto, “Be A Man.” He mentioned how society defines that in so many ways, but that there is really only one way: Be A Man. A Man Like Jesus Christ. He spoke of people that might have earned the respect of those gathered, maybe a parent or an uncle or a teacher or one of the Xaverian Brothers in our school.
And why might that be? If you think about it, you’ll likely have seen in these people some of the qualities of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Gancarz also reminded the students that the ring, today and forever, can be a reminder of what Xavier stands for and what it means to be a man in the image of Jesus Christ.