Baccalaureate Mass Invokes Blessings on Graduates at Ave Maria University

Bishop Dewane extended blessing and reminded Ave Maria University’s 2024 graduates to have faith

AVE MARIA, Fla., May 3, 2024 - Ave Maria University opened its Commencement weekend today with a baccalaureate Mass at the Ave Maria Parish church. Faculty and graduates were present in full regalia and joined by family, staff, and members of the board. The main celebrant and homilist was Bishop Frank J. Dewane of the Diocese of Venice, joined by concelebrating priests.  

In his homily, Bishop Dewane said to the graduates, “Know as you go forward, you have been blessed. Whatever the Lord calls you to, listen.” Recalling the faith of Abraham, Bishop Dewane continued, “Abraham … did not know where he was going. Abraham put himself in God’s hands. We need to place ourselves in God’s hands.”  

“The Virgin Mary was a woman of immense faith,” the Bishop added. Referring to the Annunciation, the patronal feast day for the University, he said, “When the angel came, she wasn’t sure what path she’d be set on.” The Bishop pointed to Mary’s example of faith, in the face of an uncertain future. “Her faith was very strong,” he said.

The Bishop also encouraged the graduates, saying, “Go forth and live the values of your faith, your Catholic faith. What you’ve learned here will bear much fruit—if you allow it.”  

Before Bishop Dewane extended his blessing on the graduates and all present, President Mark Middendorf introduced Founder and Chancellor Thomas S. Monaghan. Chancellor Monaghan challenged the graduates, to the extent that they could, to attend Mass and to recite the Rosary daily and to go to confession monthly.  

For more information about Ave Maria University’s graduation and baccalaureate Mass, please visit To live stream the Commencement Exercises tomorrow, please visit

About Ave Maria University

Ave Maria University is a Catholic institution of higher learning located in Ave Maria, Florida. Ave Maria University was established in 2003 as a Catholic university, according to the guidelines of the Code of Canon Law by the Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida. The recognition of Ave Maria University as a Catholic university is granted upon the University’s commitment to continue to be guided by the teachings of the Catholic Church and faithfulness to the apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Ave Maria University is committed to helping its students develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life and grow in their appreciation of truth. The goal of AMU is simple: to build the foundation of a truly Catholic university that forms future generations of truly Catholic men and women faithful to the Magisterium of the Church. For more information about Ave Maria University, please visit