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 | By Roberto Tapia

Our Graduation

Graduation Speech delivered by Roberto Tapia, Institute for Leadership and Ministry Class of 22

Good evening. This day marks the end of the journey we began 3 years ago. Today we give thanks to God for having completed this commitment we made with love. The first day of school remains significant in our lives, and many of us still remember the questions we asked ourselves then: What am I doing here? Why did I come?

Now that we have reached the end, the answers to our questions have become very clear, and no one regrets joining this program. Through God's will, we came to the Institute for Leadership and Ministry (ILM) program to prepare ourselves. I am sure we are not the same people as when we started the first day. We have learned something from each of the more than twenty-five instructors we have had over these three years.

Just as we began the first day of school, what remains fixed in our memories even more, was how we started our studies during the season that affected all humanity: the COVID pandemic. I imagine we all have had a relative, a friend, or an acquaintance who died or suffered from this disease during this time.

We only shared the first year together in person in the classrooms. While the classes became virtual for the next two years, this did not prevent us from becoming like a family. We realized this bond every time we happily met for class and saw each other on the screen.

During these three years, we have received a theological education and a pastoral and spiritual formation. They have taught us how to develop leadership in service: service to our parish, to our community, and to serve our neighbor with simplicity, humility, and love. To the teachers who spent their time transmitting their experiences and knowledge to us, on behalf of the entire 2022 class, we want to give you our sincerest thanks.

We see, reflected in you, the commitment to promote the mission of Jesus and the formation of the disciples. May God continue to shine on you all, and may your light never go out so that, just as he illuminated us, he also will enlighten the new students who will begin this program soon.

We thank Bishop Oscar Cantú for supporting this program and sharing his knowledge with us. To the director, Irma Alarcon De Rangel, and all the ILM staff, thank you very much for your great work! Not even the pandemic could stop them, as they looked for ways to continue our training virtually. May God bless you for your good work.

To my companions: we have walked together through these three years of learning. So that everything we have learned does not remain in limbo: on the contrary, let us return to our parishes to serve with the tools and knowledge that we have received. We all have been called by virtue of our baptism to use our God-given gifts and talents to build the kingdom. We will have many challenges but remember that the path of the Gospel is suffering and that, through ILM, we have received the weapons to move forward and overcome.

May God bless you on your journey, and do not forget that your parishes need you! Thank you.

Our Graduation 2

Roberto Tapia was born in Mexico, where he served as a Mass coordinator.  After arriving in the United States in 1988, and after a few years away from the Church, he reverted after learning more about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the eucharist. In 2007 he and his wife participated in a World Marriage Encounter retreat, after which, they started to serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Communion at Our Lady of Guadalupe, their home parish. He and his wife also continue to be active with Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

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