Baccalaureates Another Way to Unite Diocesan Students in Christ

“Tonight the Class of 2023 will celebrate Holy Mass for the last time together.”

That’s how one of the seven high schools in the Diocese of Allentown described its baccalaureate Mass on social media because diocesan students have been celebrating Mass together regularly throughout their school days as part of their Catholic education.

“Along with the graces of the sacrament, the students are brought together united in Christ and in communion with one another,” said Dr. Sarah Kerins, Director of School Marketing and Enrollment.

“You can see these close bonds at the baccalaureate Masses, as well as at the eighth-grade graduation Masses in our Catholic grade schools. The students and their families are brought together for the final time as a school family with one heart – one body in Christ – and this feeling is palpable to all who attend.”

Each year Bishop Alfred Schlert is the celebrant for one or more of the high school baccalaureates – this year Bethlehem Catholic; Nativity BVM, Pottsville; and Notre Dame, Easton. He was also homilist for Notre Dame. Bethlehem Catholic’s homilist was Father Bernard Ezaki, President of Catholic Mission and Identity, and Nativity’s homilist was Father Kevin Bobbin, chaplain.

The other schools also had their chaplains as celebrant and homilist: Allentown Central Catholic, Father Stephan Isaac; Berks Catholic, Reading, Father Matthew Kuna; Kolbe Academy, Bath, Father Christopher Butera; and Marian, Tamaqua, Father Robert George.

“A Catholic education is the synthesis of faith, life, and culture where knowledge is shared in light of the Gospel so that students develop a Catholic worldview.,” noted Kerins.

“The outcome of a Catholic education is clearly demonstrated when our graduates bring the light of Christ to others as they live out their faith in the world. The Church teaches that the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life; a sacrifice of thanksgiving. It is only fitting, then, that the Catholic education of our students culminates with the Mass.”

Diocesan High Schools and Special Learning Schools Graduated 629 Students

The seven high schools of the Diocese of Allentown honored 619 students in baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies this year. The three special learning schools in the Diocese graduated 10 students.

High schools

Allentown Central Catholic High School

Baccalaureate: Thursday, June 1, 7 p.m., St. Thomas More, Allentown.

Celebrant and homilist: Father Stephan Isaac, chaplain.

Graduation: Friday, June 2, 7 p.m., Rockne Hall, ACCHS.

Speaker: Randy Rice, principal.

Valedictorian: Hunter Ramsey.

Salutatorian: Madelyn Robinson.

Number of graduates: 119.

Berks Catholic High School, Reading

Baccalaureate: Tuesday, May 30, 6 p.m., St. Catharine of Siena, Reading.

Celebrant and homilist: Father Matthew Kuna, chaplain.

Graduation: Wednesday, May 31, 6 p.m., Santander Arena, Reading.

Valedictorian: Evelyn Nguyen.

Salutatorian: Edward Oscar.

Number of graduates: 154.

Bethlehem Catholic High School

Baccalaureate: Tuesday, June 6, 7 p.m., Bethlehem Catholic auditorium.

Celebrant: Bishop Alfred Schlert.

Homilist: Father Bernard Ezaki, President of Catholic Mission and Identity.

Graduation: Wednesday, June 7, 7 p.m.

Speakers: Students Sydney Bennett and Marissa Calantoni.

Valedictorian: Armaan Makwana.

Salutatorian: Cara Magliochetti.

Number of graduates: 126.

Kolbe Academy, Bath

Baccalaureate and graduation: Monday, June 5, 7 p.m., Sacred Heart of Jesus, Bath.

Celebrant and homilist: Father Christopher Butera, chaplain.

Valedictorian: Peter Belletieri.

Number of graduates: 2.

Marian High School, Tamaqua

Baccalaureate: Thursday, June 1, 6:30 p.m., John P. “Jack” Malarkey Gymnasium, Marian.

Celebrant and homilist: Father Robert George, chaplain.

Graduation: Friday, June 2, 6:30 p.m., John P. "Jack" Malarkey Gymnasium.

Speaker: Michael Brennan, head of school.

Valedictorian: Angela Pan.

Salutatorian: Addison Pan.

Number of graduates: 51.

Nativity BVM High School, Pottsville

Baccalaureate: Wednesday, May 31, 7 p.m., Nativity.

Celebrant: Bishop Alfred Schlert.

Homilist: Father Kevin Bobbin, chaplain.

Graduation: Thursday, June 1, 7 p.m., Nativity.

Valedictorian: Ian Andrefski.

Salutatorian: Zachary Mill.

Number of graduates: 45.

Notre Dame High School, Easton

Baccalaureate: Friday, June 2, 7 p.m., St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Easton.

Celebrant and homilist: Bishop Alfred Schlert.

Graduation: Sunday, June 4, 4 p.m., Alumni Auditorium, Notre Dame.

Valedictorian: Amber Unger.

Salutatorian: Emma Zambo.

Number of graduates: 122.

Special learning schools

John Paul II Center for Special Learning, Shillington

Graduation and Mass: Monday, June 5, 12:30 p.m., John Paul II Center.

Celebrant and homilist: Father Thomas Bortz, pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola, Sinking Spring.

Number of graduates: 3 – Mackenzie Hudson, Corey Robertson, Ramon Smith.

Mercy School for Special Learning, Allentown

Graduation: Wednesday, June 7, 10 a.m., Mercy.

Celebrant and homilist: Father Thomas Pendzick, pastor of St. Thomas More, Allentown.

Number of graduates: 5 – Kayla Bifulco, Brianna Epser, Joey Gilhool, Seth McMullan, Caroline Patruno.

St. Joseph Center for Special Learning, Pottsville

Graduation and service: Tuesday, June 6, 10:30 a.m., St. Joseph Center.

Celebrant: Father Philip Rodgers, pastor of St. Patrick, Pottsville.

Number of graduates: 2 – Tyler Tray, Roan Meier.

Photo: Allentown Central Catholic High School baccalaureate at St. Thomas More, Allentown.


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