Commencement 2020 at Mount Angel Seminary
The students of Mount Angel Seminary’s graduating class of 2020 had planned to end their year as usual with a Baccalaureate Mass in the Abbey church on May 8, followed by Commencement the following morning. But, as with so many other institutions of higher education this spring, the 39 graduates, the student body, and their family and friends were only able to participate in the Seminary’s 131st Commencement via live stream.
Prior to the Commencement, Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., presided at the monastic community Mass offered for the graduates and all students on May 8 but spoke in a church emptied except for the monastic community. He began the homily with: “What strange circumstances we are celebrating this Mass in. The graduates and their family and friends and the student body are not present. … But today, we know that many people are following us through live streaming. And perhaps in some strange way that reveals a reality that is always true about the Eucharistic celebration. Namely, the Communion of Saints, the whole church, is always present at every celebration of the Eucharist.”
Following the Mass and in the absence of students and graduates, Abbot Jeremy, Chancellor, Msgr. Joseph Betschart, President-Rector, Dr. Shawn Keough, Dean, and Dr. Andrew Cummings, Associate Dean, read the names of the students awarded a total 48 degrees and certificates: 10 Bachelor of Arts; seven Pre-Theology certificates; three Master of Arts (Philosophy); nine Master of Divinity; nine Master of Arts (Theology); five Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology, and five Doctor of Ministry.
In closing the Commencement, Abbot Jeremy reminded the graduates that they take Mount Angel with them. And wherever life takes them, Mount Angel is always a home to which they can return. “You know the rhythm of this place,” he said. “And you know that as you go forth to your various places, the Mount Angel monastic community remains here for you with its pulse and rhythm of prayer.”