“To whom much is given, much will be required. We have been given a tremendous gift in the education we received. Now we must share that gift with others,” Noëlle Hiester said during her address at the graduation ceremonies of Christendom College’s Notre Dame Graduate School held on August 1. Twelve students received their Master of Arts in Theological Studies; two also received the Advanced Apostolic Catechetical Diploma.
Hiester, a native of Worcester, Mass., explained that the current culture is hostile to Catholicism, but that as graduates of Christendom, they should heed the words of John Paul II: “Be not afraid.”
“For a genuine renewal of society to occur, Christ cannot be regarded as an abstraction separate from the concrete, lived reality,” she continued. “We must take these truths out of academia and into the world. Our challenge is to witness to Christ by always living out the truth and articulating it with prudence and conviction where we can.”
Hiester explained that the renewal of secular culture should begin with a renewal of Catholic culture in parish life. “Too often Catholicism is reduced to the external signs, a surface participation in the rites without a deeper entry into the mystery. A white dress and a party often seem to be the main reason for seeking the sacraments rather than the desire for an authentic encounter with Christ. Many of us will have direct roles in that renewal as Catholic school teachers, directors of religious education and administrators and instructors in lay formation programs. This renewal of Catholic culture in parish life is also a challenge that needs to be taken up in the family. We must ask ourselves, ‘How can we strengthen the Catholic culture in our particular parish community?'”
Professor of theology and Secretary for the Office of Religious Education for the Diocese of Arlington, Rev. Paul F. deLadurantaye, offered the Baccalaureate Mass.
The 12 Master of Arts degrees were conferred on Heather Akers, Sabatino Carnazzo, Rev. Joseph Eddy O. de M., Carolyn Fanning, Jon Fidero, Peter Hickman, Noëlle Hiester, Nicholas Kostyk, Phillip McDonald, Christopher Payne, James Tabor, and Ronald Young. Sabatino Carnazzo and Peter Hickman received the Advanced Apostolic Catechetical Diploma.
The Christendom Graduate School offers a Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies with concentrations in Catechetics, Systematic Theology, Consecrated Life, and Moral Theology, as well as the Basic and Advanced Apostolic Catechetical Diploma. Students can take select courses online and those who are not interested in a master’s degree can earn certificates in dogmatic theology, moral theology, catechetics, consecrated life, and scriptural studies.
The Christendom Graduate School offers courses in the Fall and Spring at its Alexandria, Va., campus and offers a six-week residential program during the Summer on Christendom’s Front Royal, Va., campus.