Popular Catholic priest reminds Ave Maria grads to include God in post-graduation plans

Ave Maria University’s commencement address was delivered by a Fr. Mike Schmitz who encouraged students to embrace God in their plans after graduation.

Ave Maria University’s commencement address was delivered by a Catholic priest who encouraged students to embrace God in their plans after graduation. 

Fr. Mike Schmitz, host of the popular podcast, The Bible in a Year, delivered his speech to the Florida university’s 2024 graduates on May 4.

In the address, Fr. Schmitz spoke about his experiences in a wilderness survival program after his own graduation, where, as the trail became narrow and rugged, he broke off with hikers to make the way forward easier to get to a meeting point. 

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Schmitz compared his own experience to the graduates, saying: “This is your bushwhacking moment,” and: “You got to this day, and the track runs out. This is the day you enter the wilderness. You might know the name of your vacation, but you don’t know where it will lead you.” 

“God wants you to live in the wilderness, to find your way through it,” he continued, after which he referenced the apostle Paul who struggled with numerous hardships and trials in life.

Speaking to how young people can become upset with God for the pain that they experience, he urged graduates to remain steadfast in their faith, stating: “God doesn’t rescue us. God wants more for us than we want for ourselves. God wants you to become stronger. Your faith doesn’t grow in a place without opposition.”

Schmitz also urged graduates to place their trust in God each day: “God says: Trust me today. God only gives us enough light for one more step.” 

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Fr. Schmitz’s address comes in the midst of a wave of colleges and universities prompting students to fall back on secular liberal values as opposed to traditional or religious ones. 

In June, Campus Reform Fellow Nicholas Giordano wrote that in today’s culture where many schools attack masculinity, as seen in schools that teach courses like “unlearning toxic masculinity,” fathers in particular need to “fight for our children and stand up for the traditional values that made this country great.”

Campus Reform has contacted Fr. Mike Schmitz for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.