Letter to a High School Senior
Dear Senior/Almost Graduate,
How are you? We all hope your papers, exams (APs!), projects, etc. went well and are now completed. We also hope you had an amazing time at Prom and all the other cool things seniors do that make all the Juniors jealous. As you prepare for graduation and have your last day of class, last practice, last time at your locker, last everything, we want to write you a letter to send you on your way…
Just so you know, the next few months are going to be a blur. Soak ‘em up! You’re probably feeling it now: there’s that huge desire to LEAVE and start college, but there’s also this pit in your stomach, the one that you felt when you started high school…only this one’s on steroids. It’s all happening so fast, the goodbyes and almost-hellos, and feels like it came out of nowhere! Relax and trust. Everything’s going to be fine.
There are a lot of changes coming your way as you begin college: Who are you going to be? What will your friends be like? What are you going to choose as your major? Will that major be the same one all four (five) years? Will you drink? Will you be chaste in your relationships? Is your roomie going to be nice/gross/tolerable/your best man or maid of honor? Will you join a fraternity/sorority? Will you ever darken the doors of the library?
And how about Church? Whether you’re going to Fordham, Fontbonne, Loyola, Lindenwood, Mizzou, Meramec, or somewhere in between, there’s a Catholic community nearby, waiting for you and the gifts you have to offer. Seek it out! And of course there are people and experiences you’ll have there that will help to answer some of the tough questions mentioned above. And believe us, you’ll need all the help you can get!
Some of you reading this were pretty involved in your faith through your school or your youth ministry; others of you, for whatever reason, might not have connected with the opportunities to live out your faith. Either way, we can’t tell you enough how important it is to be connected to others who love God and try to do His will during the college years. Some of us had amazing examples and friends to rely on to challenge us in our faith; others of us had no one and had to go through some pretty rough times alone, feeling disconnected from God and everyone. Take it from us, “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure” (Sirach 6:14). Take advantage of the invitations God gives to grow deeper in love with Him!
What’s the point of saying all this? What we’re trying to say is: we need you. We as a Church need your energy and enthusiasm, your smart and witty ways of connecting to your peers in ways they’ll understand. You have a tremendous opportunity to show people that you can live your faith and be “normal,” that praying and going to Mass isn’t just a fad for blue-haired ladies. The more you can help people experience Christ’s love for them now, the happier they’ll be in the long run, filled with peace, thankful for your friendship and example. This is to say nothing of the witness you give to those younger than you, still roughing it in freshman biology, or those older than you, who are confused how someone like you would care so much about an ancient carpenter. Show them as you pray before meals, as you stop by the chapel for a few quiet moments, as you pray your rosary, as you make time for Mass in the midst of a hectic schedule. Show them and be amazed how God will use you to change their lives for His glory!
So as you decide how to pack everything into the family car, as you do trial loads of laundry so you’ll be ready, and as you get ready for a life filled with Ramen, know that we’re praying for you. Will college be hard at times? Yes. Will it be filled with so many wonderful people and memories? You betcha. In the midst of it all, if you continue to “rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, and persevere in prayer” (Read Romans 12), God will see you through. We can’t wait to hear about all your adventures when you come back in town!
Our Prayers and Best Wishes!
All this for the King,
Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
Fr. Fallon is a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Associate Pastor at Queen of All Saints Parish. He really likes coffee and french fries, but not together.