This year we began a new tradition at Albertus by recognizing the members of the Senior class at this Mass. The Seniors processed into our worship space carrying candles. The candles symbolized the light that each of the Seniors carries within them and shows to the world. They placed their candles in front of the altar for the whole assembly to see.
Senior, Erin Jones shared her reflection and inspired all of us to shine our light.
We hope that as you read Erin’s words that were shared today at our Mass, that you feel the Joy of the Christmas season.
As we celebrate this Mass of Light, I wanted to speak to you about recognizing your light and recognize you for your light. In Matthew’s Gospel, 5:14-16, Jesus proclaims, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
I define one’s light as when someone puts their God-given talents to use. This could be through doing something you are good at, or it could be through helping someone else. I feel honored to attend Albertus, because I have the privilege of watching my peers shine their light every day. Many Albertus students shine their light on the field or court alongside the classroom: I am always impressed to hear the percentage of AM students who are student athletes and the number of teams that get the award of scholar athlete teams. I am in awe of the talent AM students have: the band, chorus, and Veritas were outstanding in the recent Christmas concert. I am always excited to glimpse at the art displayed in the hallways. However, AM students are also shinning their lights by helping others. We donated hundreds of diapers to the Birthright of Rockland, food to local food pantries for Thanksgiving, clothes and toiletries for Midnight Runs, and toys to give less fortunate kids a Merry Christmas. We have raised thousands of dollars for countless organizations simply by dressing down. Many students shown their light when attending the Midnight Runs, by interacting with and helping the homeless of New York City. Another group of students hosted a Christmas party for a group of children who take weekend classes taught by one of the Dominican Sisters. Since it would be many of the children’s first Christmas in America, the AM students wanted to make it special with presents, music, and games. Many students tutor: while some are helping other students who are struggling, other students tutor kids through One-to-One Learning. I am proud attend a school where so many students make such a great use of their God-given talents and allow them to be on display for others to see.
As this Mass concludes, I challenge you to set your light on a lampstand – do not keep it under a bushel. To the Seniors – the Class of 2023 – in half a year, we graduate and move on to our future endeavors. Instead of stress about acceptances and rejections, focus on shining your light and make the most of your final months of high school. To the underclassmen – you will soon be the upperclassmen. Follow in the example set by the upperclassman, shine your light, because you will be the example for the underclassmen. And to our parents and teachers – thank you. Thank you for teaching us, helping us, inspiring us, believing in us, trusting in us, and caring about us. Thank you for cultivating us and allowing us to grow. Without you and all your guidance, Albertus would not be the bright place that it is.
Let your God-given light shine. Let it illuminate into the corners of every room and radiate for everyone to see, whether it be by helping those around you or just by exuding your own talents. Thank you. -Erin Jones, '23