On Thursday, September 14th, Austin Prep marked the official start of the academic year with the celebration of the annual Convocation Liturgy. Austin Prep welcomed Seán Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, as the principal celebrant and homilist. The celebration, open to parents and livestreamed to the school community, also helped conclude Austin Prep's 60th Anniversary Celebration. You can view photos from the day here.
Complete with the pageantry expected of Convocation – including the procession of students carrying class banners, welcomed by faculty in academic regalia to the sounds of the Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums – this year's liturgy continued to include a parade of flags representing the national heritages of those in our school community. Over 80 national flags were included.
Ava Intoppa '24, School-Wide Student Government President, began the ceremony by addressing her classmates. "I am honored to have the opportunity to welcome Cardinal O’Malley to campus today to celebrate this special mass and bless the school year as we close out our 60th anniversary, and look forward to a new chapter of our story, " Ava said. "I am also honored to address all of you, my teachers, classmates, and friends here today to celebrate our membership in this community and our love for God and one another. I am extremely excited for the year that is to come, and even more excited to be able to experience it with all of you and to see what each member of this student community will do."
Cardinal O'Malley begin his remarks by thanking all those who over the past 60 years have helped make Austin Prep the institution that it is, then reflected on the importance of Catholic education.
"In a time of more people living alone, a part of Catholic education is bringing us together to discover our connectedness," Cardinal O'Malley said. "It is our faith that allows us to discover the meaning and value and things. Who we are made in the image and likeness of God. What is our mission? What is our purpose? All of this is so important in Catholic Education."
Head of School, Dr. James Hickey P'22, '23, '24 '27, welcomed those in attendance, thanked Cardinal Seán for his support of Austin Prep over the years, and congratulated him on recently celebrating 20 years as the Archbishop of Boston. Dr. Hickey made note of the attendance of Augustinian Friars Fr. Art Johnson, O.S.A., Fr. Peter Gori '70, and Trustee Fr. Ray Dlugos, O.S.A. and the Augustinians of the Assumption, who joined the Austin Prep community this year.
"60 years is certainly a significant milestone, but when you place those 60 years in the context of St. Augustine's heritage, the milestone is a bit diminished, " Dr. Hickey said. "St. Augustine was born in 354, and for nearly 1700 years his legacy has endured. Our 60 years is only one tiny part of 17 centuries. Our restless Journey in the footsteps of Augustine has kept Austin Prep steady, and determined, and resolute. We have much to celebrate, and much to be proud of."
Dr. Hickey then added, that despite our successes, “St. Augustine told us that 'humility must be with us everywhere. For as soon as we glory in our good works, they are of no further value to our advancement to virtue.'"
To mark the occasion, Senior Class Officers Ryan O'Malley '24 and Lauren Neal '24 presented the Class of 2024 banner, which will eventually be hoisted to the rafters of Meelia Hall, where it will remain until being lowered at Baccalaureate Mass in May, 2024. View the raising of the banner here.