Welcome to our final Daily SPARC – each weekday our chaplains, friends from the Penn Religious Communities Council and other voices from campus have posted messages of support and encouragement. ⠀⠀⠀⠀

Today’s Daily SPARC is an invocation for the graduating class of 2020 by our University Chaplain, The Rev. Charles L. Howard:

An Invocation for the Graduating Class of 2020

Twelve Schools. One University.

Fifty States and more than one-hundred countries represented, but still One University. Dispersed all around the world, socially distant from one another,
yet, still One University.

The University of Pennsylvania is more than Market, Chestnut, Walnut, Locust, and Spruce, more than buildings, more than a place.

Even when in many different places – We are finding that we can still come together as One University.

Thus, I invite you, wherever you are, to pause and join me in the spirit of prayer for our invocation…

So many of our prayers and meditations, hopes, and wishes of the last several months have been for healing, for protection, for provision, and for and end to this most painful chapter of our generation.

One of the gifts of our humanity is the ability to hold multiple emotions at the same time. Thus, even while grieving we can feel pride. While missing each other we can feel joy. While nervous, we can be full of gratitude.

And so during this commencement unlike any other, we celebrate a class, unlike any other.

May these graduates see challenges not just as moments to survive, but as moments to serve.

May they see interruptions as opportunities

May they – even through tears – see catastrophes as callings

May what has been an unpredictable, uncomfortable, and in many ways disappointing ending to their collegiate journeys, somehow be redeemed.

What an auspicious time for them to graduate – indeed a season of tragedy and loss, yet also a new heroic age.

We will long tell stories of the unrelenting courage from healthcare professionals, researchers, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, trash collectors, custodial workers, educators, therapists, clergy, public safety officials, political leaders, and every single individual who’s done their part in stemming the spread of the virus.

May these graduates always be counted among this heroic number who responds to the difficulties of life by seeking to serve and love others wherever their paths may lead them. Amen