Monday, May 28, 2012

Graduation 2012 - Part III

We continue with the reflections that Mount Angel Seminary faculty member Ms. Kathy Akiyama gathered during this year's commencement exercises.  Ms. Akiyama's daughter Jasmine took the accompanying photo.

More Reflections on Graduation 2012
by Kathy Akiyama

During the commencement celebration inside the Abbey Church, many profound reflections were shared.  Monsignor Richard Paperini, this year's commencement speaker, shared two reflections inspired by others.  First, drawing on the thoughts of French novelist Leon Bloy, he said, "Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God."  He also drew on Cardinal Timothy Dolan, saying "a joyless priest is an oxymoron."

During his farewell address, Deacon Federico Dundas said, "The light of Christ . . . has strengthened what is noble and strong in us over the past four years."  He prompted the graduates to "show the light beyond the light of humans to the light of God" and concluded by saying "Let there be light!"

After the group picture of the faculty and the graduates of 2012, more graduates, students, and faculty shared their reflections.

Zani Pacanza, a pre-theology student who has completed his philosophy studies, said "Graduating from philosophy and moving on to theology gives me an excitement I can't describe.  It's good to finish one chapter of life, and it's even better to start another chapter, a new chapter.  I'm just glad."

Michael Dion, another pre-theology graduate, said later in an email, "I saw myself growing during my entire time at Mount Angel and am grateful for the opportunity to study there.  It was a real blessing."

Luis Madrigal, a graduate from the college, said "It's interesting to see what a big deal this little piece of paper is.  I feel like the bigger deal is that I have to say good-bye to all the people I know."

Tony Lopez, a first-year college student, said "It's overwhelming.  There's a lot of people you meet who are going to go away.  However, there is a good side because now you have a good reason to visit them all over the world.  It's beautiful.  Like Deacon Federico said, these guys are the light of the world."

Luis Madrigal and Tony Lopez

President-Rector Monsignor Paperini, who is departing after many successful and fruitful years at the seminary, shared his thoughts: "I'm thrilled that graduation is over because now I can relax.  My job is done and I feel good about my nineteen years here.  We have accomplished a lot together, and it has been a real blessing in my life."

Dr. Elaine Park, Academic Vice President, said, "Graduation is such a joyful celebration, and the theme of joy in Monsignor Paperini's address expressed the spirit of the day perfectly.  It's been a privilege to be a part of Mount Angel for so many years, and this graduation was such a joy-filled celebration, a wonderful send-off for all who are leaving the hilltop."

Abbot Peter Eberle, OSB, the Director of Human Formation, said, "I always wonder where the year has gone to.  It's a wonderful event.  It's kind of sweet and sorrowful at the same time.  You know lots of fellows will be leaving that we won't see again, but it's a happy event nonetheless.  And when God gives us weather like this, it's especially beautiful."

Lastly, Father Ralph Recker, OSB, a formation director and the Director of Admissions said, "I don't know what it's like to give birth, but to send them out, it's wonderful to complete them.  It's a great feeling to prepare them as much as you can and then let loose, cut the cord, and wish them well.  We've done all we can."

Editor's Note: The comments from Dr. Elaine Park were added to this story on June 8, 2012.

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