Graduation! More than caps and gowns, smiles and celebrations, it means stepping from one stage of life into another. For our missioners in Bolivia, it means that they are just at the beginning of their time as lay missioners; they are truly experiencing a “commencement”.

On Thursday June 10, Clare, Nora, Lynn, Joel, and Catherine graduated from Maryknoll Language Institute in Cochabamba, where they have been studying Bolivian culture and the Spanish language since arriving in Bolivia in January. All five are preparing to move to their respective service sites to begin full-time ministry. It’s a bittersweet time, as they will have to leave the host families they have grown so close to, as well as many of the friendships forged in the classroom.

The graduation was a full day of events, including a liturgy, a talent show, skits about life as a language student, a party, and of course, dancing. As returned missioner Kristen Zielinski-Nalen put it, “A Bolivian party always has dancing, or else it’s not a party”. Please continue to pray for all the missioners as they continue to follow Christ on mission in Bolivia.