The first celebration on my Graduation Day was the Senior Mass at my parish. The Senior Mass is a special service in recognition of the Senior Class members of the parish. The Seniors wear their full graduation attire: black robe, orange stole, black cap with black and orange tassel, and other “optional accessories”, such as a gold cord representing membership of National Honor Society, a silver cord signifying fulfilling the requirements of the volunteer program Silver Cord, and symbolic pins (In addition to the standard graduation attire, I wore the NHS cord and two pins, which symbolized being the Top Student in my Spanish II and Spanish IV classes.). The Seniors also sit together during the mass and fulfill some of the duties of the mass, including lectoring, singing the Responsorial Psalm, and bringing up the gifts. At the end of the mass, the Seniors are “capped” by their parents and receive a special blessing.
The Senior Mass was a beautiful, happy service. I enjoyed celebrating the mass among my peers; to my right sat one of my fellow Valedictorians, whose faith is strong and inspiring. Leap of Faith cantored the mass (apart from the Responsorial Psalm). The group’s energetic, passionate, and more modern music was a delight and perfect for the Senior Mass. The Responsorial Psalm was one of my favorite songs, “On Eagle’s Wings,” and it was sung beautifully by two Seniors. These two Seniors are cousins (and one is a good friend of mine); I imagine that singing the Responsorial Psalm together was very special to them and their family. The priest also gave the Seniors a personal gift (in addition to a prayer booklet and a San Damiano cross). His personal gift was singing and playing the piano to “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” He sang and played the song beautifully, and I smiled through the entire song (To be honest, at first I was very surprised that my priest had such musical talent, but after my initial surprise, I thought, “Of course!”). Also, the Sending Forth song was “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which is not only another one of my favorite songs, but it is also one of my dad’s favorite songs.
(Image courtesy of a friend.) (I am in the top row, third from the left.)
The Senior Mass was the quintessential way to begin my Graduation Day: with God, with my dad, with my peers, and with absolutely, positively happy, beautiful music.
My next entry in my Graduation Day mini-series is about the graduation ceremony!