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Seminarian Catron graduates from Pontifical College Josephinum

051512-catron-seminiarianCOLUMBUS, Ohio — "The Pontifical College Josephinum sends you forth to be heralds of Jesus Christ and His Gospel," said Very Rev. James A. Wehner, STD, Rector/President, to the seminary's 2012 graduating class. The second Saturday of May was "a glorious day" for the graduates and their family and friends, who gathered for the 113th baccalaureate Mass and commencement exercises of the only pontifical seminary outside of Italy.

Among the 30 seminarians graduating this year was Cory Catron of the Diocese of Charlotte, who earned a Bachelor of Science in philosophy.

"This pontifical, national seminary provides a formation experience in which seminarians can hear the word of God, study the word of God, and discern the word of God within an apostolic community," said Father Wehner. "Yet no seminary can do this alone. The whole Church stands in solidarity with each of our seminarians today, as we salute these men and thank God for their accomplishments."

Pictured: Father James Wehner, rector of Pontifical College Josephinum, with Cory Catron, who just graduated with a Bachelor of Philosophy.

Father Wehner was the principal celebrant for the baccalaureate Mass held in St. Turibius Chapel. He was joined at the altar by Rev. Msgr. Daniel Torres, vicar general of the Diocese of Lake Charles; Rev. Msgr. Ronald Groth, also of Lake Charles; Father Joseph McGaffin of the Diocese of Phoenix; Jesuit Father Brian Van Hove, chaplain to the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, Mich.; and 2011 alumnus Father Joaquin Zermeno of Brownsville, as well as many priest-faculty of the Josephinum and of the Columbus diocese.

"What a glorious day!" said Msgr. Torres, homilist. "We give thanks to Almighty God for the wondrous gifts of these graduates of this fine intuition of Catholic faith."

He encouraged the graduates to live a life of mercy toward others, even in the face of life's difficulties.

"The reality is that the world is tough," he said. "Graduates, you must realize that it will be tough, but every day can be a glorious day if you live in Christ and are rich in His mercy. What you have learned can blossom if you truly live in Christ and are strong in your prayer life, humble in your spirit, listen with your ears and heart, and are merciful as Christ is."

The baccalaureate Mass was followed by a celebratory reception for the family and friends of the graduating seminarians. More than 200 visitors were on campus for the day's festivities.

Graduates and guests returned to St. Turibius Chapel later that morning for commencement exercises. Honored guests were Most Rev. Frederick F. Campbell, bishop of Columbus and vice chancellor of the Josephinum, Msgr. Torres, and Father Paul Noble, vocations director for the Diocese of Columbus.

Degrees were conferred by Father Wehner; 30 seminarians from 16 different dioceses were granted degrees from the Josephinum's College of Liberal Arts, Pre-Theology Program or School of Theology.

A Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, history or classical studies was awarded to nine graduates of the College of Liberal Arts. Seven seminarians earned a Bachelor of Philosophy or a Certificate of Achievement in Philosophical and Theological Studies, indicating their successful completion of the Pre-Theology Program.

The degree Master of Divinity, which signifies fulfillment of the requirements for priestly ordination, was awarded to 13 graduates from the School of Theology, six 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 eight of the deacons.

Graduates of the School of Theology will return home to their respective dioceses for ordination to the priesthood this spring. A majority of pre-theologians and collegians will continue their vocational discernment as they undertake graduate theological study.

College senior Alford Enfield of the Diocese of Phoenix spoke on behalf of the Class of 2012 and offered words of advice and encouragement to his brother seminarians: "We are here first and foremost to discern if God is calling us to the priesthood," he said. "Trust the formation process; fully invest yourself into the program. Our priestly fathers have told us that we cannot fail, regardless of whether we go on to theology and eventually the priesthood, or become good, holy, humble Catholic laymen. Is the Josephinum perfect? Of course not. But this is a good, holy place where boys grow into men, and men grow into the holy men of God that they were always intended to be."

As a national seminary, the Pontifical College Josephinum educates priesthood candidates from an average of 25 dioceses throughout the U.S.; the 113th baccalaureate Mass and commencement marks the institution's 124th year of forming men for service to the Universal Church.

It also is the final year for Father Wehner, a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, who concludes his three-year tenure as rector this spring. On July 1, he will assume responsibilities as rector/president of Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, La.

"It has been a privilege and an honor to be your pastor," he said in his final remarks during commencement. "Christ is the King of kings, and today is victory for Him. May God always be with you."

— Carolyn Dinovo, Director of Communications, Pontifical College Josephinum

FROM THE PASTORS

Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at  parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte: