Pray for your graduates

By Chris Hoehn

A View from Campus

It is the season of graduations! College graduations and high school graduations. For me, as in the past, I am asked to speak with the graduating high school seniors’ parents at spring events throughout the diocese. In the Jasper and St Philip areas’ Catholic churches, over 100 seniors and their parents gathered to discuss what their sons and daughters will face in the coming year. The questions this transition raises for each group are varied and intense. I am on the panel with parents who have sent their sons and daughters off to college, to the work force or to serve our country in the military after graduation. A student who has graduated and can say what has been most helpful for him is also on the panel. We will speak with parents sending their students off to college for the first time and those who have sent students off previously. The session usually begins with each panelist giving their best advice for these parents. I always begin with the request that parents pray for their children and ask their children what they can pray for, specifically, with each of them. I know it sounds like simple advice, and it is; but how often do we forget even the simplest things we can do for those we love? 

This column is prompted by an unusual visitor I had in my office earlier this spring. A lady named Monica Renahan called and said, “I am a mom, and I wrote a book, ‘Your College Student Needs Your Prayers.’” I thought to myself, I preach that quite often. We spent a good part of an hour discussing topics of the book. We talked further, and she shared that she also has a blog at  

We agreed to meet; when we did, we sat and discussed her book. At that point, I had read almost half of the 180-page book; I tell you, she covered nearly every scenario that I have ever experienced in my 25+ years of college ministry. 

As we talked, she shared that many other moms discussed issues with her; and I joked, I think some dads would also have something to say. She admitted that she has also heard from fathers of college-bound students. I had a student once tell me that the questions she asks her dad involve anything to do with the car, grilling and how to fix anything; her mom handles all the other questions. The book is an easy read and helpful, especially if you are sending a loved one off after high school.