By Consuelo McAboy
It’s that time of the year where high school students around the nation are saying their goodbyes and preparing for the next chapter of their lives.
But, one Mount Pleasant high school does not know if it will have a speaker at graduation or a principal next year.
Sacred Heart Academy in Mt Pleasant invited alumnus Dominic Sheahan-Stahl to speak at the school’s graduation ceremony on May 20th.
Sheahan-Stahl’s younger brother is a graduate this year in the Catholic School.
Soon after discovering that Sheahan-Stahl is gay, the Catholic Diocese told the academy to revoke the invitation.
Sacred Heart principal, Denny Starnes delivered an emotional speech to faculty, students and the community Friday, making it very clear that he did not agree with the decision from the diocese.
“This is my community. Of course I’m going to have a different feeling about this whole issue, about a young man that I’ve known since he was ‘Mikey’ across the street.”
Sheahan-Stahl was also a part of the speech via Skype. He said his graduation speech would have had nothing to do with his sexual orientation.
“My speech has never had any gay issues in it. It’s never been anything about my loving of another man. It has nothing to do with that.”
As a result of the ruling from the diocese, Academy principal, Starnes said he plans to resign.
Alumni student, Sheahan-Stahl said he is shocked by the principal’s resignation.
“I was shocked. I am not on here to ruin anybody’s life, to get anybody fired, anything like that. We’re all human, we all make mistakes. He apologized, I forgave him five minutes after the decision was made. I don’t agree with him being fired, but I’m thankful for his support.”
After the event, I spoke with Cristina Supuleda. She is a parent and said that she sent her son to a Catholic school to uphold her religious beliefs.
“I’m gonna speak for myself, If I choose to be Catholic freely I’m gonna follow the teachings. I’m going to be faithful. I’m going to be congruent. The catholic church is not against the people, but the lifestyle that some homosexuals are spreading, that lifestyle is not good for humanity, it’s not good for people.”
I also spoke with Sheahan-Stahl’s brother, Willi who is part of the academy’s graduating class. He said he appreciated the principal’s speech.
“I felt a lot of compassion for him. I felt like it took a lot of guts for him to stand up and show what he believes.”
After being asked to speak at commencement again, Dominic Sheahan-Stahl declined. He said he is satisfied with the situation and would say just one thing to the diocese if he got the chance…
“I would say that growing up in a Catholic school and going to church two times a week every week for 19 years of my life, I was taught God is love, and right now, I’m being told that God only loves certain people and not me.”
As of now, the academy has not booked another speaker for graduation.
The Saginaw Diocese released a statement that said they were unaware of the decision to invite and rescind the invitation to the alumni student.
More information about the Saginaw Diocese can be found here