Seminarian Joseph Mominee offers remarks at 117th Commencement at Pontifical College Josephinum
Mr. Joseph Mominee, a seminarian of the Diocese of Toledo, was among those who offered remarks during the 117th Commencement at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus on May 14, 2016. Mr. Mominee serves as Senior Class Representative at the College.
“No man who is graduating today entered the Josephinum in the hope of becoming a master of Latin, a metaphysician, a theologian or a humanitarian,” he said. “Every man who is graduating today chose to become a seminarian because of the person of Jesus Christ, in the hope of being conformed to Him in order to bring Him to those who need Him most in this world.”
Members of the graduating class of 2016, numbering 49 students from 23 dioceses in the United States, were awarded degrees from the College of Liberal Arts, Pre-Theology Program or School of Theology, and thereby became alumni of the only pontifical seminary outside of Italy.
Commencement Exercises were preceded by a Baccalaureate Mass held in Saint Turibius Chapel, the largest of the seminary’s four chapels. The principal celebrant was Reverend Monsignor Christopher J. Schreck, SSL, PhD, STD, Rector/President; he was joined at the altar by the priest faculty of the Josephinum and many visiting priests.
Reverend Paul Sullivan, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Phoenix, was invited to offer the homily for the Baccalaureate Mass. Graduation, he said, “is a time of going forth, of being sent out…It is a day of wonder and dreams, yes, but the dreams of the man of God are the will of God. In a seminary graduation, we do not celebrate our plans. This is not a celebration of self will. With gratitude we can glory in the plans God has for each one of us, which are far greater, far more glorious than we could imagine.”
Mass was followed by a reception for graduates and guests; more than 200 parents, family members and friends of the graduates joined the seminary community for the day’s festivities.
During the Commencement Exercises, candidates for degrees were presented by Perry J. Cahall, PhD, Academic Dean of the School of Theology, and David J. De Leonardis, PhD, Academic Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Degrees were conferred by Monsignor Schreck, in the presence of the Most Reverend Frederick F. Campbell, Bishop of Columbus and Vice Chancellor of the Josephinum.
A Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy or humanities was awarded to 21 graduates of the College of Liberal Arts. Twelve seminarians earned a Bachelor of Philosophy, indicating successful completion of the Pre-Theology Program. The Master of Divinity degree, which signifies fulfillment of the requirements for priestly ordination, was awarded to 16 graduates of the School of Theology, four of whom completed the additional academic requirements of a Master of Arts in dogmatic theology, moral theology, biblical studies or evangelization. The Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (STB), a pontifical degree conferred by the Josephinum in affiliation with the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, was awarded to seven of the deacons.
In his closing remarks, Monsignor Schreck offered words of acknowledgement and gratitude to departing members of the faculty, and welcomed new professors who recently joined the seminary community. In particular, he spoke to the retirement of His Excellency, Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States and Chancellor of the Josephinum. “To say that he has faithfully been the Josephinum’s always actively committed advocate, supporter, and guide is to be guilty of understatement. We thank him for having led and stewarded the Josephinum during these years of abundant blessing and growth. We likewise look forward to welcoming our Holy Father’s new ambassador and personal representative to the United States, and our new chancellor, His Excellency, Most Reverend Christophe Pierre.”
The 117th Commencement Exercises marked a defining moment in the vocational journey of the seminarians who received degrees. A majority of College and Pre-Theology graduates will continue their discernment as they undertake graduate theological study. Graduates of the School of Theology will return to their respective dioceses for ordination to the priesthood; the Ordination Class of 2016 will join nearly 1200 ordained alumni who currently serve the universal Church in nearly every U.S. state and in 18 different countries. “This is not just a regular graduation,” said Father Sullivan. “This is not just about your efforts, your achievements. It’s not only about human choices, human effort, for human ends. We celebrate something more today. This is a divine adventure. Divine choice, divine assistance, for divine ends. May a life of true holiness be lived in you, and may it leave its mark not only in these halls, but in the halls of heaven.”