All across the Archdiocese last weekend and this, families are hosting parties for a big moment in their young person’s life: graduation from high school. For Catholics completing their studies at a Catholic archdiocesan or private school, a public high school or even a homeschooling program, sincere congratulations go out to them all.

The graduates are leaving behind their school’s classrooms, halls and fields. They take with them hard-earned knowledge and the character that has developed in them over four years into a new phase of life, be that college, military service, a skilled trade or other work.

Catholic youths should also take the faith that has grown and hopefully been nurtured in them during their high school years into that next phase. As they will push themselves to learn more and grow into young adulthood, they should also continue to learn about their Catholic faith, about their own role in the Church and especially how God is calling them to a deeper communion with Himself and with His Church.

Parishes in the Archdiocese, St. Charles Seminary and archdiocesan programs all offer adults opportunities to learn more about their faith and respond generously to it.

This year’s Catholic graduates are beginning to seek answers to life’s deepest questions: What is my life about? What am I called to do? How can I best serve God, the people of my community and the world?

This is the challenge young people face as they enter young adulthood. Their Catholic faith now coming into maturity can help them discover God’s unique plan unfolding in each of their lives. Their dependence on spanine grace combined with their own efforts and their reliance on the body of Christ, the Church, will continue to be invaluable gifts along the journey.

One piece of free advice for graduates: Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to take on the hard work that will benefit others before yourself. Do not be afraid to speak the truth of human life and dignity, especially when it would be convenient to keep silent. Do not be afraid to live your faith proudly and practice it in frequent reception of the sacraments and by living a moral life.

Rely on the Holy Sprit’s gifts of wisdom and strength to “do the right thing” not only when it is easy but especially when it is not. Your Catholic faith in all its richness goes with you as you go forward into the world.