Mount Angel Seminary’s 33 graduates concluded the academic year with both the Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Exercises celebrated on April 30 at 8 am and 10 am, respectively, in the Abbey church. In addition to graduates, many friends and family with smiling faces filled the church as a hopeful sign of better days ahead.
Bishop Peter Smith of the Archdiocese of Portland served as the principal celebrant for the Baccalaureate Mass, telling the graduates during the homily that they “have arrived at the starting line. Now the real race begins.” As the graduates processed into the Abbey church for Commencement, an organ fanfare echoed throughout the building, highlighting the exuberance of the day. Msgr. Joseph Betchart, president-rector, welcomed those gathered and led the invocation. In his address to the graduates, Msgr. Betschart encouraged the graduates to “open even wider the doors of your hearts to Jesus Christ.”
Deacon Adrian Sisneros, of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, gave the Senior Farewell address. Referring to the original pioneer monks of Mount Angel Abbey, he spoke about the virtue of “holy grit,” which he described as “a noble and holy quality of character that will elevate us toward the heights of heaven.”
Mount Angel Seminary’s College of Liberal Arts conferred the Bachelor of Arts degree upon seminarians Thomas Cooper Johnson, Diocese of Great Falls-Billings; Rico Daniel Landavazo, Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Patrick Gitau Mbuiyu, Archdiocese of Seattle; Br. Ignatius of Antioch Olivarez, O.S.B., Mount Angel Abbey; Eric Joseph Wunderlich II, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; and Jesus Jose Zapien Quezada, Diocese of Fresno.
Seminarians receiving the Pre-Theology Certificate of Completion included Joseph Soria Anaya, Diocese of Fresno; Erik Andrew Morris, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Julio de Jesus Oliva, Diocese of Fresno; Richard John Ordos II, Archdiocese of Seattle; and Brian B. Schumacher, Diocese of Salt Lake City.
The following seminarians received their Master of Arts (Philosophy): Br. Oscar Avila Rodriguez, M.Sp.S., Missionaries of the Holy Spirit; Sylvester Vijay Rozario, Archdiocese of Seattle; Br. Matthew Sislow, O.S.B., Mount Angel Abbey; Zachary John Sturm, Diocese of Sacramento; and Br. Helmer Vargas Llamas, M.Sp.S., Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.
The Seminary’s Graduate School of Theology conferred the Master of Divinity degree upon Deacon Tristan Peter Alec Dillon, Diocese of Salt Lake City; Deacon Agustín Rajan Henderson, Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Deacon Chad Kirwan Hill, Archdiocese of Seattle; Deacon Juan Carlos Reynoso Lozano, Diocese of Fresno; Deacon Dalton Scott Rogers, Diocese of Fresno; Deacon Darrell James Segura, Jr., Archdiocese of Santa Fe; and Deacon Adrian Julian Sisneros, Archdiocese of Santa Fe.
Andrew Cummings; Deacon Tristan Peter Alec Dillon, Diocese of Salt Lake City; Ian Michael Gaston, Diocese of Orange; Josué David Jiménez; Deacon Dalton Scott Rogers, Diocese of Fresno; Timothy Josef Segert, Diocese of Boise; and James Joseph Tasy, Diocese of Fresno, each received their Master of Arts (Theology).
The following graduates received their Doctor of Ministry degree: Deacon James Michael Browne, Archdiocese of Philadelphia; Rev. David Leo Xavier Jaspers, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Rev. Timothy J. Kelly, Diocese of Tyler; Deacon Joseph O’Donnell, Diocese of Sacramento; and James Arthur Tabor.
Deacon Tristan Peter Alec Dillon, Diocese of Salt Lake City; and Deacon Dalton Scott Rogers, Diocese of Fresno, each received their Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology.
Before giving his blessing to conclude the Commencement Exercise, Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., chancellor of Mount Angel Seminary, offered some final lessons to the graduates from the life of St. Benedict, reminding them that “there’s a cloister in every heart and a stairway leads to heaven.”