Congratulations and Godspeed, Class of 2019!

Denver Catholic Staff

The sun is out, flowers are blooming, and high school students’ palms are sweating — not for cash, (though there’ll probably be plenty of that) but for their diplomas.

Graduation season is here, and seniors everywhere are rejoicing, especially in the Catholic high schools here in Denver. Those late nights of studying, writing, calculating and procrastinating have paid off, and they’re about to embark on the greatest adventure they’ll ever know: discerning and discovering God’s will for their lives.

High school helped to form their minds and hearts, but for the graduates of Bishop Machebeuf, Holy Family, St. Mary’s, Arrupe Jesuit, Regis Jesuit, and Mullen High Schools, this is just the beginning. We’re sure that God has big plans for each and every one of them and that they’re all going to do great things.

Congratulations, class of 2019! May God bless each of you in your future endeavors.

Bishop Machebeuf High School

Graduation date: Friday, May 24, 2019
Scholarships awarded: $5 million
Number of graduates: 75
Number attending college: 70

I will always have a special place in my heart for the Class of 2019. These students showed tremendous leadership and school spirit this year and I am looking forward to hearing about the many accomplishments that are still to come!” –Kellie Carroll, Interim Principal

Holy Family High School

Graduation date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Scholarships awarded: $14.5 million
Number of graduates: 165
Number attending college: 159
3 enlisting in Navy
Valedictorian: Ceili Opp
Salutatorian: Alexia Simonton

The Class of 2019 has many fantastic accomplishments academically, athletically, artistically, in Mock Trial, in Speech & Debate, in service, and more.  Most impressively, this class provided mature leadership and full buy-in to the Catholic Mission of the school.” –Matt Hauptly, Principal

Arrupe Jesuit High School

Graduation date: Friday, May 24, 2019
Scholarships awarded: $14.1 million
Number of graduates: 92
Number attending college: 92
Valedictorian: Destiny Arias-Buckeye,
Regis University
Salutatorian: Alma Borunda Granillo,
Regis University

Arrupe Jesuit’s class of 2019 has distinguished itself as excellent students, dedicated leaders, young professionals through our Corporate Work Study Program, and as loving young people filled with great faith and hope. We celebrate all the ways their God-given gifts have enriched our school community and send them off as generous men and women for others.”Rev. John Nugent, SJ, Principal

Regis Jesuit High School

Boys Division
Total number of graduates: 230
Graduation date: Sunday, May 19, 2019
Valedictorian: Christopher James Long,
Conner Pettit
Salutatorian: Jacob Thomas Botaish

Girls Division
Total number of graduates: 186
Graduation date: Monday, May 20, 2019
Valedictorian: Megan Lucille Hilbert,
Gianni Eumelia Pacheco
Salutatorian: Lauren Elizabeth Hanley

Total number attending college: 405
Total scholarships awarded: $27 million

After thinking about this for a while now, I have come to the conclusion that being happy is all anyone really wants — to live a joyful life, a life that might not be easy, but a life that is fulfilling.” –Michael Connor Blue, Class of ‘19

Our lives over the next four years will be filled with people who … have never experienced authentic love before. We get to be messengers of God’s love, hope, friendship, community and acceptance. Be authentic! Speak sincerely! Listen thoughtfully! Act compassionately! And always, always choose love! You all are going to do amazing things … I am sure of it, but be known not for your accomplishments, but rather by the way you choose to love. I dare to say that’s the Regis Jesuit way.” –Gianni Eumelia Pacheco, Girls’ Valedictorian

St. Mary’s Academy

Graduation date: Saturday, May 18, 2019
Scholarships awarded: 176 totaling $7.3 million
Number of graduates: 57
Number attending college: 57
St. Mary’s does not appoint Valedictorians or Salutatorians.

Each one of these young women sitting beside me is remarkable. Each one is intelligent, inspiring and — most importantly — a little more themselves because of our time here at St. Mary’s Academy.” –Macey Ann Hayden, Student address

Mullen High School

Graduation date: Saturday, May 25, 2019
Scholarships awarded: $24 million
Number of graduates: 199
Number attending college: 192
Valedictorian: Parker Juels
Salutatorian: Quy Le, Sofia Zinis

Remembering that God is with you will help and inspire you in all that you do.” –St. John Baptist de La Salle

COMING UP: Historical clarity and today’s Catholic contentions

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One of the curiosities of the 21st-century Catholic debate is that many Catholic traditionalists (especially integralists) and a high percentage of Catholic progressives make the same mistake in analyzing the cause of today’s contentions within the Church — or to vary the old fallacy taught in Logic 101, they think in terms of post Concilium ergo propter Concilium [everything that’s happened after the Council has happened because of the Council]. And inside that fallacy is a common misreading of modern Catholic history. The traditionalists insist that everything was fine before the Council (which many of them therefore regard as a terrible mistake); the progressives agree that the pre-Vatican II Church was a stable institution but deplore that stability as rigidity and desiccation.

But that’s not the way things were pre-Vatican II, as I explain at some length and with some engaging stories in my new book, The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform (Basic Books). And no one knew the truth about pre-Vatican II Catholicism better than the man who was elected pope during the Council and guided Vatican II through its last three sessions, St. Paul VI.

On January 25, 1959, Pope John XXIII, thought to be an elderly placeholder, stunned both the Church and the world by announcing his intention to summon the 21st ecumenical council. That night, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini (who would be known as Paul VI four and a half years later), called an old friend. An experienced churchman who had long served Pius XII as chief of staff, Montini saw storm clouds on the horizon: “This holy old boy,” he said of John XXIII, “doesn’t know what a hornet’s nest he’s stirring up.”

That shrewd observation turned out to be spot on –– and not simply because of the Council, but because of the bees and hornets that had been buzzing around the ecclesiastical nest for well over 100 years.

Contrary to both traditionalist and progressive misconceptions, Catholicism was not a placid institution, free of controversy and contention, prior to Vatican II. As I show in The Irony of Modern Catholic History, there was considerable intellectual ferment in the Church during the mid-19th century, involving great figures like the recently-canonized John Henry Newman, the German bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler (grandfather of modern Catholic social thought), and the Italian polymath Antonio Rosmini (praised by John Paul II in the 1999 encyclical, Faith and Reason, and beatified under Benedict XVI). That ferment accelerated during the 25 year pontificate of Leo XIII, who launched what I dub the “Leonine Revolution,” challenging the Church to engage the modern world with distinctively Catholic tools in order to convert the modern world and lay a firmer foundation for its aspirations.

American Catholicism, heavily focused on institution-building, was largely unaware of the sharp-edged controversies (and ecclesiastical elbow-throwing) that followed Leo XIII’s death in 1903. Those controversies, plus the civilization-shattering experience of two world wars in Europe, plus a rapid secularization process in Old Europe that began in the 19th century, set the stage for John XXIII’s epic opening address to Vatican II. There, the Pope explained what he envisioned Vatican II doing: gathering up the energies let loose by the Leonine Revolution and focusing them through the prism of an ecumenical council, which he hoped would be a Pentecostal experience energizing the Church with new evangelical zeal.

John XXIII understood that the Gospel proposal could only be made by speaking to the modern world in a vocabulary the modern world could hear. Finding the appropriate grammar and vocabulary for contemporary evangelization didn’t mean emptying Catholicism of its content or challenge, however. As the Pope insisted, the perennial truths of the faith were to be expressed with the “same meaning” and the “same judgment.” Vatican II, in other words, was to foster the development of doctrine, not the deconstruction of doctrine. And the point of that doctrinal development was to equip the Church for mission and evangelization, for the modern world would be converted by truth, not ambiguity or confusion.

Over the past six and a half years, it’s become abundantly clear that more than a few Catholics, some quite prominently placed, still don’t get this history. Nor do the more vociferous elements in the Catholic blogosphere. Which is why I hope The Irony of Modern Catholic History helps facilitate a more thoughtful debate on the Catholic present and future, through a better understanding of the Catholic past.