Various faiths coming together to bless high school graduates of Sparks


In a remarkable interfaith gesture, the 30th annual Sparks high schools multi-faith baccalaureate service will be held on May 20, blessing the graduating seniors.

Besides prayers and blessings by area religious leaders belonging to Christian (various denominations), Muslim, Hindu and Jewish traditions, it will also include prayers, musical numbers and speeches by students from various Sparks high schools.

Hindu leader Rajan Zed, who will be reading blessing prayer in Sanskrit from Rig-Veda, the oldest existing scripture of the mankind, says that the purpose of the baccalaureate service is to root the graduating class in divine spiritual tradition so that they have a spiritually meaningful life in addition to material success.

Dr. Bruce Taylor, a Presbyterian pastor, will deliver the keynote address, while Sparks Mayor Geno R. Martini will preside at the service to be held at John Ascuaga’s Nugget ballroom starting at 7 p.m. Nicholas F. Frey of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the coordinator for this year’s service. All are welcome and there is no charge.

Baccalaureate service basically means service where a sermon is delivered to the graduating class. In use since at least the eighth century, origins of the baccalaureate service point to an Oxford University statute of 1432, which required each bachelor to deliver a sermon in Latin as part of the academic exercise, Zed adds.

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