GARY — Before a full congregation Thursday morning at the Cathedral of Holy Angels, Bishop Donald Hying delivered a message of transcendence, gratitude and purpose to the Bishop Noll Institute graduating class of 2019.
In the past four years, Bishop Noll has invested in its students' academic, athletic and spiritual growth, so that those students are prepared to find their paths beyond high school in service of others, Hying said after turning to the 133 seniors seated behind him.
"You're sent into the world not for yourself, but for others," said the bishop, whose Thursday morning Homily will be the last given to the school as bishop of the Diocese of Gary. "To take all of those gifts that have been honed and shaped and formed to use in the service of God and of his people. That's the ultimate transcendence."
Hying will leave Northwest Indiana next month to become bishop of the Diocese of Madison. His appointment to the Wisconsin diocese was announced in April.
Near the end of the Mass, the Bishop Noll seniors returned Hying's well wishes with a gift. On behalf of the senior class, Brandon Fuentes presented Hying with a navy and gold Bishop Noll letterman jacket to wear during "those bitter Wisconsin winters."
"Through every encounter I had at Bishop Noll, I always felt embraced, I always felt loved, and I always felt inspired," Hying said accepting the jacket. "Please know that you'll always be in my heart, and I will always hold you in my prayers."
Fuentes said he was honored to be selected to represent his class and send off the bishop, who joined the Gary Diocese in November 2014.
"It was very impactful for me, especially because I'm leaving in the fall," said the 18-year-old graduate, who plans to study bioscience next year at the University of Arizona. "I'm going to take his words and hopefully they can inspire me to become a new person and open up more in my life."
Bishop Noll Principal Lorenza Jara Pastrick was last to address the graduating seniors in the Thursday morning Mass. Tearing up, she told the story of her two children — one of whom "roundhouse kicked" the other the night before.
"Within 10 minutes they forgave each other, and as we get older we forget that," Pastrick said, issuing her students a challenge. "Forgive each other, forgive yourselves and move forward from what happens to you and you will do great things."