During the Orientation Welcome Mass, both Michelle Wheatley and Fr. Brad Reynolds spoke to our incoming families. Michelle, the Director of University Ministry, offered a prayer of blessing over the families of new students; Fr. Reynolds shared words of encouragement at the end of Mass. Several parents have requested a copy of these texts. We offer them to you here:
By: Michelle Wheatley (Inspired by Emily P. Freeman)
God, I lift up these parents and families to You, and I ask You to bless them.
Bless them with freedom: the freedom to feel what they feel in this moment, without pressure to be more happy, more sad, or more anything other than simply who they are in this moment.
If they are struggling to let go, I ask that in Your time You replace that fear with courage and that confusion with peace.
If the “not-enoughs” haunt them, the fear that they didn’t love, teach, do, or instruct enough, comfort them with the assurance that You are the Artist who weaves together good from all things.
We ask especially for the gift of trust as we place our students in Your hands.
For the families of incoming college students all over the world, may Your grace surprise them kindly in this time of newness, waiting, and love.
By Fr. Brad Reynolds:
These next four years are going to be an exciting journey for your daughter or your son… and consequently, for you, too. They may also be turbulent. Things are going to happen to your children that won’t easily fit into their old ways of understanding and dealing with their experiences here at Gonzaga. The ways they learn; shifts in relationships; transitions; surprises, disappointments and achievements – all of these will prompt your children to ask big questions about their identity and purpose.
You, as their parents, have been the compass, the map and the guide for your children. Your direction has led them to this particular place on this particular day. And now you are about to let them go and hope to God they have sense enough to stay on the right path.
We who live and work at Gonzaga – the administration, faculty, staff and Jesuits – recognize that you are leaving in our hands your most valuable treasure… and we thank you for that. Jesuits have been in the business of educating young men and women for over 500 years. Along with the entire community at Gonzaga University, we are now going to focus all of our experience, all of our expertise, on your child.
We can’t guarantee what paths your children may choose to follow while they’re here. Hopefully they will learn better how to follow their hearts. But we will make you this pledge: No matter where your child goes, no matter what path she or he starts down, at least one of us will try our very best to be standing there and, whenever possible, to walk beside them. And if and when they should get lost, we will do our very best to help them find their way back. Back to what is right, what is good, what is holy in their lives.