Wednesday, May 23, 2012

As Morning Breaks

Last night, the U of D Jesuit community celebrated the 135th graduating class. Following a lovely ceremony, the vast majority of students returned to the school for a wonderful "Senior All Night Party" hosted by the parents.

One of the traditions is to conclude the evening with a prayer service, observed at around 4:30 am! I was approached to help plan the ceremony and prepared the following text. I am putting it up online because I know how hard it is to find good "Prayer Service" resources online and I thought this might be of help to people in planning services for their own schools. As it was written, I had five different leaders, one for each of the main parts.


As morning breaks and our time together concludes, let us end our festivities by coming together, one last time, to pray with one another and give thanks for one another to the God who has called us together.

Let us begin: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

God, I believe at this moment that we are in your presence and you love us.

It is hard to believe that our journey through these hallowed halls concludes today. Let us recall our first day of school – for some of us, this brings us back five or six years. For many of us, it brings us back four years. For others: one, two, or three years.

Regardless of our first day, Lord, we have tried to listen to your voice. Sometimes, it was hard to hear amidst the slamming of lockers, hallway laughter, and ringing bells. Underneath the commotion of a typical day, we knew that you were there with us, present to us, loving us. In the quiet of this morning, let our hearts rest in you and let us know your love.

Silently count to Ten (give guys a few moments to reflect)


God, you know my needs better than I know them. Give me your
                        light and help as I review these last few years.

Lord, there is nothing that we have done, or thought, or wished that you did not know. You have been with us through all things: the early morning practices and the late-evening rehearsals, awards ceremonies and the JUG room, the Walk-a-Thon and Pledge Detroit, spectacular victories and heartbreaking defeats. Through the good times and the bad, you have given us strength and hope as we journeyed through these high school years.

As morning’s light casts away night’s darkness, help us to see where you have been in our lives these past years. Here in the chapel, the heart of the school, shed light into our hearts and remind us of how you have been with us.

Give us the eyes to see you when you were present in:

·      The traffic pattern
·      The All-School Masses
·      Cheering sections
·      The lunch line
·      Dances
·      The colorful personalities of our faculty
·      The love and support of our brother Cubs.

Silently count to Ten (give guys a few moments to reflect)


Lord, help us now to review my time here and to recognize both your blessings and my shortcomings.

We know how blessed and rich these years have been. Our parents have sacrificed much for us to be here. We have sacrificed much, embracing the rigors of our studies when we might have gone elsewhere and gotten better grades with less work. Lord, you have given us many opportunities unavailable elsewhere: the space to pray and to reflect, teachers to guide us and challenge us, classmates to accompany us. You have given us yourself through daily prayer and in the Eucharist. You were with us when we were challenged to grow and when we met those challenges.

Yet, Lord, we know that we did not always live up to your expectations of us, our parents’ expectations of us, or our own expectations of ourselves. There were times when we took the easy way out: using SparkNotes instead of reading, copying another’s homework, skipping practice, not giving our all to whatever it was we were faced with.

In the stillness of this space, let us feel how much you have loved us. Let us feel this light and give us the courage to see where we did not embrace the light, preferring the easier, darker, path instead. Give us the grace to see our missed opportunities to grow in love for you and one another.

Silently count to Ten (give guys a few moments to reflect)

God, we ask your forgiveness for our failings and we thank you for all of your blessings.

Even when we have stumbled, or failed, to live up to the type of men you have invited us to be, you have never given up on us. Each time we failed, each time we took the easy path, we know that there was someone here who called us back to you. When we strayed from the traffic pattern, the hallway sentinels called us back. When we walked from the dress code, Mr. Chandler called us back. When we questioned and doubted you, Lord, we had a few moments each day to try to find you.

All this is to say, Lord, is that no matter what we have done, you have been with us.

For this we say Thank You.

Thank you for giving us these years to form our hearts and minds for you. Thank you for giving us parents and teachers who have showed us what it means to sacrifice. Thank you for all the ways you have molded us into the Men for Others who are excited to begin the adventure of college.

For all that has been, we say Thank You. For all that is to come, we say Yes.

Silently count to Ten (give guys a few moments to reflect)



As we look forward to the future, make us aware that you are with us. Show us how to become the men you want us to be.

These high school years have seemed so long, so daunting. Yet we know that you have been with us, loving us, encouraging us, challenging us, and giving us strength the whole time.

As we look around the chapel, let us feel the ties that bind us together, the bonds of friendship that have been forged over these years and that will only strengthen with time.

Lord, we came to this place in searching of something more than an education. Let it be, as we exit this chapel one last time, that we have found what we have sought: You yourself. Place your seal upon our hearts and let our motto to live our lives “For God’s Greater Glory” be more than nice words but, rather, our battle cry. Let us seek for you in all things, in all people, and let us know that whenever we have the courage to seek you that we will find you by our side.

We have studied together, complained together, laughed together, grown up together. Around me, Lord, are the men to whom I shall turn in the future. Let us embrace the future, together, and never forget the lessons learned here at U of D Jesuit.

We are Men for Others, forever, Lord. Let us go forth from this chapel and show the world what it means to be made in Detroit, what it means to be Jesuit educated, what it means to be a Man for Others who lives for your greater honor and glory.

Silently count to Ten (give guys a few moments to reflect)


As we have done so many times before, let us pray together one last time the Prayer for Generosity.

Lord, teach us to be generous.
Teach us to serve you as you deserve.
To give and not to count the cost.
To fight and not to heed the wounds.
To toil and not to seek for rest.
To labor and not to ask for reward.
Save that of knowing that we are doing
Your will.

Saint Ignatius, Pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.



d said...

It was a perfect way to conclude these young men's' high school experience . Thank you Ryan!

Karl said...

Ryan, this was a wonderful way to have the guys reflect on their time at U of D Jesuit as well as give them a good tool for prayer. Wonderful"