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The Pontifical College Josephinum celebrated its 123rd Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 7, 2022. The graduating class included seminarians from the (arch)dioceses of Birmingham; Columbus; Lugazi, Uganda; Ogdensburg; and Santa Fe, and the religious order of the Fathers of Mercy. Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Philosophy, Master of Divinity, and Master of Arts degrees were conferred upon the seminarians by Very Reverend Steven P. Beseau, Rector/President. The Josephinum, in affiliation with the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy, offers a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology degree which was awarded to two graduating transitional deacons.


Thirteen permanent deacons and lay persons from the Dioceses of Columbus, Harrisburg, and Saint Augustine were announced as recipients of a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from The Josephinum Diaconate Institute (JDI). Founded in 2007, the JDI offers educational programs through distance learning – in both English and Spanish – to diaconal aspirants and candidates, permanent deacons and their spouses, and lay ministers serving or preparing to serve the people of God through ministry in the Church.


Commencement remarks on behalf of the Class of 2022 were delivered by College of Liberal Arts graduate Tyler Fitzgerald of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. “Today we celebrate the hard work we have undertaken here at the Josephinum, immersing ourselves in the grand academic tradition of this seminary,” he said, “but we walk this stage today not for the sole pursuit of a degree, award, or honor—but of the priesthood. Being in formation to the priesthood not only means study and research, but is a time of zeal and falling in love with God and the Truth we learn in the classroom.”


Tyler also was named the recipient of the Pinter Scholar Award. The Monsignor Pinter Honor Society was established in 1975 to recognize seminarians for high academic achievement. Named in honor of Rev. Msgr. Nicholas Pinter, PhD, professor of classical languages from 1902 to 1957, the award distinguishes the College seminarian who has excelled in academic formation in preparation for service to the Church.


In his remarks closing Commencement Exercises, Father Beseau spoke to the great gifts of being part of a seminary community. “All four dimensions of formation – human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral – are important in forming the intellect and the heart,” said Father Beseau. “Here, combining love of the intellectual life with love of God, the Church, and of the seminarians creates something very special. It is a blessing for us to be here today to celebrate these men as they go forward from the Josephinum.”


The Josephinum’s 123rd 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 priestly discernment as they undertake graduate theological study. Graduates of the School of Theology return to their respective dioceses for priestly ordination; the Ordination Class of 2022 will join nearly 1200 ordained alumni who currently serve the universal Church in nearly every U.S. state and in 18 different countries around the world.

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