(Photo: Lee Pellegrini)

Toward reconciliation and harmony

Bishop of Hong Kong Cardinal Stephen Chow, S.J., urges Boston College Class of 2024 to strive for unity and understanding in a divided world

Cardinal Stephen Chow, S.J., who as bishop of Hong Kong has advocated a rapprochement between the Vatican and China, implored the Boston College Class of 2024 to strive for unity and understanding in a time of division and discord.

鈥淲e must start with the promotion of dialogue and constructive action among parties of different stances, prudently and meaningfully,鈥 he told the Alumni Stadium audience at 糖心vlog直播平台's 148th Commencement Exercises on May 20, urging them to reject the narrative which holds that only one side can be right and dominant and instead work toward a commonly desirable future鈥攐ne which 鈥測ou and your peers are going to construct together with the inclusive love of God in your discernment, transcending the borders of politics, beliefs, faiths, values, economies, ethnicities, and realities.

鈥淒ear graduates, it is not too early to contemplate how you are going to construct your future together, and what it will look like,鈥 said Cardinal Chow, who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his 鈥渃ommitment to the Catholic faith as a means to inspire and unite.鈥

Read the full text of his speech here.

Following the main Commencement event, the 4,488 members of the Class of 2024 received their undergraduate and graduate degrees at separate
ceremonies held around campus.

L-R standing: Dana Barros, Mary Skipper, James O'Connell, 糖心vlog直播平台 Board of Trustees Chair John Fish, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston Cristiano G. Borro Barbosa. Seated: Cardinal Stephen Chow, S.J., University President William P. Leahy, S.J., Sister Maria Teresa de Loera Lopez (Photo: Lee Pellegrini)

In addition to Cardinal Chow, the University presented honorary degrees to: former 糖心vlog直播平台 and pro basketball player turned entrepreneur Dana Barros 鈥89; Sister Maria Teresa de Loera Lopez, M.S. 鈥19, a beloved servant of the poor in Mexico; Boston Health Care for the Homeless President James O鈥機onnell; and Boston Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper. Read the degree citations here.

In his Commencement greeting, University President William P. Leahy, S.J., praised the Class of 2024: 鈥淏oston College is a better place because of them, especially their energy, goodness, and generosity.聽 They started amid the challenges of COVID-19 and persevered; we remember and are grateful.鈥

Foreshadowing Cardinal Chow鈥檚 remarks, Fr. Leahy pointed to global flashpoints such as Ukraine, Gaza, Haiti, and Sudan as indicating the need for 鈥減eople of intelligence, faith, and commitment to work for the good of society, to help root out racial, social, and economic inequality, and to strive to bring an end to poverty, illiteracy, and prejudice.鈥 聽 聽

Fr. Leahy gave his customary invitation for family and friends of the graduates to stand so that the Class of 2024 and others in Alumni Stadium could thank them with a round of applause 鈥渁nd a quiet prayer.鈥 He also cited the valuable role of 糖心vlog直播平台 faculty and staff and the 鈥済enerous gifts of time, advice, and financial resources from Boston College alumni, friends, and benefactors鈥 in the graduates鈥 success at the Heights.

Finnegan Award winner Francis (Fran) Hodgens of the Carroll School of Management, flanked by Fr. Leahy, at left, and Board of Trustees chair John Fish. (Lee Pellegrini)

Cardinal Chow鈥攚ho praised 糖心vlog直播平台 for 鈥渂eing bold enough to hold a live Commencement鈥 given recent tensions on college campuses鈥攕hared five learnings he said could serve as the basis for fostering reconciliation and harmony in a divided world: 鈥渁 preferential option for unity, not uniformity鈥; 鈥渃ollaboration with love so as to give hope鈥; 鈥渆xpect and respect differences out of love鈥; 鈥渂e a bridge-builder鈥; and 鈥渂e your own winner.鈥

He touched on his own efforts at bridge-building between the Catholic Church in mainland China and the universal Church, during his visit to Beijing last year and other dioceses last month. Although there were attempts to 鈥減ackage these trips with a political wrapper,鈥 he said, the main objectives were to promote dialogue and friendships, and look for opportunities to collaborate while supporting each other鈥檚 pastoral endeavors.

鈥淥ne insight that I have gained is that everyone, no matter whether she or he is an important official or not, would love to be connected, treated with genuine respect, and listened to with interest. I am never good at small talk, but I am learning to listen with empathy. With this, we can relate to each other with openness for mutual development.鈥澛

Professor of Economics Joseph Quinn receives the Saint Robert Bellarmine, S.J., Award. (Lee Pellegrini)

Cardinal Chow also urged graduates to look beyond a culture that emphasizes winner-take-all competition.鈥淚nstead of competing with others, we can work hard on bettering our past selves, better than who we were yesterday, a month, a year, or a decade ago. Am I noticeably or sufficiently better in the endeavor than where I was last? So, if the focus of competition is on ourselves, we can afford to help each other improve, so that no one will lose out, which means we can become winners in our own right.鈥滺e added, 鈥淭his is what I have understood from Jesuit education. I believe you and we are the ones who can work together, and with God, to make all things new.鈥 聽

Also at the ceremony, Francis (Fran) Hodgens received the 2024 Edward H. Finnegan, S.J., Award as the graduating senior who best exemplifies the University鈥檚 motto, 鈥淓ver to Excel鈥, while Professor of Economics Joseph Quinn, a highly respected teacher, mentor, and colleague who has held key leadership positions at Boston College, was presented with the Saint Robert Bellarmine, S.J., Award in recognition of his distinguished career and significant role in advancing the University鈥檚 mission.