On Thursday, January 14, Benedictine College Prep will recognize the junior class for its accomplishments by presenting each student with a uniquely crafted ring. This will mark an immense milestone for the juniors as the year proceeds and they prepare for their senior year as the leaders of Benedictine.
“The ring ceremony is the presentation of the class ring, which symbolizes an ancient symbol of power and authority,” said Headmaster and Ring Ceremony Coordinator, Michael Bussman. “It is appropriate to give students that ring before their senior year, because it symbolizes the responsibilities of being a senior. Similar to a wedding ring, it means that you belong to something.”
As described by Benedictine, this Mass honors a special right of passage for the junior Cadets in becoming upperclassmen. "The ring ceremony proceeds as the juniors come up to the front and when the rings are blessed, the rings are handed out to the students," said senior Art Neal, who fondly recalled last year's ceremony. "The receiving of the ring is a special thing to me. I try to wear it, if I can remember, with the dress uniform each Thursday."
The Mass will be held in the chapel and the rings were blessed by a Benedictine priest just as they have been in the past, but there will be adjustments made to adhere to today's health and safety protocols. The tradition has played a large role in the formation of Benedictine Cadets, as they become more competent Christian men of conscience, discipline and achievement.
As the ceremony nears, juniors prepare themselves for the blessing of the rings and the responsibilities that they entail. "Yeah, I am looking forward to it," said JP Brunetti, a Benedictine junior. "I received one from James River High School, but I always wanted to receive one from Benedictine, because it means something more like being part of a brotherhood."
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted many Benedictine traditions, including the Junior Ring Ceremony Mass. For example, the ritual will proceed in the McMurtrie-Reynolds Pavilion instead of the school chapel, where it has been held in previous years. "We've had Masses to begin with, so obviously we've had to do things like spreading out," said choir Co-Director and Theology teacher, Brendan Williamson, who will be directing the choir for the junior Mass. "Most likely, only juniors will attend the ceremony, and maybe their parents. However, if we have it in the gym, we may be able to do things that we wouldn't have been able to do otherwise."