Extending a Blessing

Graduation, The University of Notre Dame, May 1984

Parents seated high in the stands
peering down at their sons and daughters
as they receive their treasured certificates
signed by Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, University President

Fr. Ted looks up and says to me
and all of the parents
that we are the ones who gave birth to these young men and women,
who raised them,
and entrusted them to the care of the Notre Dame faculty.
Therefore, it is only right that we parents
bless our sons and daughters on this day.
“Please extend your hands over…”

For the first time I truly understood
that a lay person could indeed extend a blessing
in the same way as a priest at Mass.
Mass — Vatican II called it Liturgy.
Liturgy, “the work of the people.”

A lesson on liturgy and ritual from a great teacher,
taught without a book,
taught from the heart
to my heart where the lesson lives on.

Today I extend a blessing to Fr. Ted:
May God bless and keep you.
May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May God look upon you with kindness, Fr. Ted, and grant you peace.


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