By FATHER PAUL A. BURKE, Special To The Bulletin | Published June 20, 2013
ATLANTA—The feast of St. Matthias, May 14, was the graduation date for Holy Spirit College’s class of 2013. This second graduation class for the school included six, who received one undergraduate and five graduate degrees. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory celebrated the baccalaureate Mass at St. Mary’s Chapel on the Holy Spirit College campus. The Mass was followed by the graduation ceremony.
Alexandra Richards was awarded a bachelor of philosophy degree in philosophy and theology. Yolanda and Fernando Munoz, Michael Pham, Michael Verlander and Deacon Allen Underwood were all awarded master’s degrees in theological studies.
In his homily at the Mass, Archbishop Gregory spoke about the example of St. Matthias. He noted that this apostle is often overlooked because he was chosen to take the place of Judas Iscariot. Matthias had been with Jesus from the time of his baptism in the Jordan up to his Ascension. In a certain sense, he was able to “coast” as a follower of Christ. However, things soon changed when he was chosen to replace Judas, thus once again completing the Apostolic College of the Twelve.
Archbishop Gregory noted that while very little is known about the saint, he died a martyr’s death—the supreme act of witness. Matthias also shifted from simply being a follower of Jesus to actively preaching the Gospel, like the other disciples, until his death. The archbishop commended the example of St. Matthias to the graduates, reminding them that what they learned in classes should not to be kept to themselves. Rather, this knowledge must be shared with others in the task of evangelization. He emphasized that the task of evangelization is not reserved only to the ordained—it is entrusted to the entire Church by virtue of the sacrament of baptism. He said that one cannot “coast” when it comes to evangelization.
With today’s emphasis on the “new” evangelization, according to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Catholics are to “repropose” the Gospel to others. The archbishop told the graduates that this whole process begins, however, with a deepening of their own faith so that they experience a renewed confidence in the truth of the faith and then, … “the desire to share the faith with others.” Knowledge of the faith is not an end in itself. Instead, the faith must be lived and transmitted to others.
Following the Mass, Msgr. Edward J. Dillon, Holy Spirit College president, conferred the degrees and congratulated the graduates. In his remarks he thanked them for choosing Holy Spirit College for their studies and emphasized the importance of the Catholic intellectual tradition and fidelity to the Magisterium that are hallmarks of the college’s academic program. Reiterating Archbishop Gregory’s words, Msgr. Dillon reminded the graduates of their obligation to impart to others the knowledge of the faith that they have acquired during their college years.
Holy Spirit College is a Roman Catholic, coeducational college institutionally committed to providing an excellent education for all interested students. The program seeks dedicated, curious learners willing to engage great ideas and texts from the richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition. Within a nurturing and loving community, Holy Spirit College provides a fully integrated education grounded in natural and revealed truth.