And thank you to all who joined us in person and via livestream to celebrate this long-awaited occasion.
This year’s Convocation ceremony was truly unique and one that will be remembered for years to come. For many graduating students, Convocation was the first time since March 2020 they were able to come together in person with classmates, instructors, and friends. As María José Cillóniz said in her Convocation Student Address, “[they] were able to overcome nothing less than a pandemic and remain strong, generous, faithful, and supportive.”
While this year graduates wore masks in addition to their caps and gowns, it is their smiling eyes that stand out in photos and remind us of the warmth, friendship, and love that make the community of Corpus Christi and St. Mark’s College truly special.
Congrats, grads – you did it!
Amy Dwyer, Communitas Award
Ishgun Matta, Communitas Award
Raisa Jose, Honourable Raymond J. Perrault Award
María José Cillóniz, President's Award
Priya Bagri, Inspire Leadership Award
John Kilburn Cooper, Chancellor Award
John Kilburn Cooper, Theology Program Award
Peter Nobes, Thesis Award
Carlos Gustavo Leon Guevara, Pastoral Studies Award
Samuel James Koverola Stagliano, Communitas Award
Rachel Marie De Souza, Honourable Raymond J. Perrault Award
John Marwin Sangalang, Principal's Award
María José Cillóniz
Corpus Christi College, Class of 2021
Dear Your Excellency Archbishop Miller, President Higgins, Vice-Chair of the Board Michelle Chang, faculty, staff, distinguished guests, friends, family, and fellow graduates:
For those I have not had the pleasure of meeting, my name is María José Cilloniz, and it is an honour for me to represent the classes of 2020 and 2021. Today is a day of celebration. Not just ours, as graduates, but for every person who helped us create our story here.
Around each of us, there is someone to be grateful for. A friend who understood us. A family member who took care of us. A teacher who encouraged us. A donor who helped us. A member of staff who advised us. Or a God who listened to us.
On behalf of myself and my fellow graduates, I would like to start by thanking you. Two words cannot contain the gratitude we feel today. And where we have arrived today, we could not have done it alone.
We are infinitely fortunate, not only for the opportunity to receive an education but to have received it here. In all of us, we have St. Marks and Corpus Christi College: where community meets personal growth, personal growth meets learning, and learning meets service.
It is in the small details that the DNA of our schools´ community becomes evident. In the more subtle things, we see how our experience here has been shaped by the values of the schools and the imprint they leave.
It is in the "Hey, do I know you from Corpus or St. Mark’s? and the ability to recognize the majority of students. It is in the countless number of hours where we can review a thesis statement, over and over again, with the Student Resource Centre. It is in the one-on-one interaction with professors and their genuine desire to learn how to pronounce some of our complicated first or last names. It is in the availability and willingness to help, from those behind the scenes, like the admissions staff and financial aid officers, the administrative and enrolment team, and everyone who makes up these institutions' backbone. It is in the opportunity to seek calm and refuge from our worries and sorrows in the chapel and always be welcome, no matter what religious background we come from.
In giving this speech, I must challenge the graduating class as they enter the next phase of their journey. However, the college has already done so. I will only reflect on what I have learned, since a lesson learned should be a lesson shared.
In the years I have spent here, I have understood the importance of creating a community wherever you are, wherever you go, whatever you do.
Sounds simple. It sounds like joining a book club or participating in activities that take place at school, work, or in your neighborhood. But it goes much further than just showing up.
Creating a community starts with yourself. It begins with our one-on-one relationship with others and being aware of how we make others feel about themselves.
Maya Angelou once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel".
And if there is something you can do from now on, in whatever you decide to do next, it is to make others feel at home when they are with you. Because St. Marks and Corpus did it for us, more than once, and now we owe it to them.
Congratulations, Graduates of 2020 and 2021! You were able to overcome nothing less than a pandemic and remain strong, generous, faithful, and supportive. Let this be your essence; let this be your legacy. Like God's fellowship, let this be our fellowship. And with that, may God be praised.