Graduating 8th graders celebrate at cathedral

RALEIGH – Around 800 students representing 21 Diocese of Raleigh Catholic Schools gathered April 30 at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral for the annual 8th Grade Baccalaureate Liturgy.

They were joined by educators as well as pastors from their school communities.

Eighth graders participated as choristers, altar servers and readers. They also presented the gifts and shared the prayers of the faithful during Mass.

Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama presided and spoke to the students about faith, thankfulness, beginning at a new school and other issues related to the transition from middle school to high school.

“We are here because we believe in Jesus,” he told the congregation. “That celebration always brings joy.”

He encouraged students to speak in voices that are clear, joyful, and hopeful.

The bishop also spoke about what he noticed before Mass. Students were talking and laughing outside, he said, and taking the time to see each other’s faces, listen and speak.

“That is wonderful,” he said, noting that it happened, in part, because there were no mobile phones or other distractions present.

He reminded them that, Catholic or not, they always have Jesus in their lives and that he is the peace they need in the journey that awaits them as they move to high school.

After Mass the students gathered on the piazza for a drone photograph of the group and, afterward, lunch and fellowship.