Sen. Brownback and Fr. Groeschel Join Christendom College's Largest Graduating Class

May 26, 2005

On May 14, 2005, Christendom College conferred 89 Bachelor of Arts and one Associate of Arts degrees on its graduating class of 2005. Joining the College for Commencement weekend were United States Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Fr. Benedict Groeschel.

Eryka Bukowski and Margaret GinskiAn internationally known author, lecturer, and EWTN personality, Fr. Benedict Groeschel concelebrated the Baccalaureate Mass on May 13 in the Chapel of Christ the King and delivered the homily.

"Your parents got together their hard-earned dollars to get you to Christendom. And they, with your encouragement, chose a devout Catholic college, an authentic Catholic college, and this particular college which also has made a very special emphasis on the preservation and restoration of the Catholic tradition and particularly in liturgy, music and many other ways," he began.

He exhorted the Class of 2005 to go out into the world as laymen and women and work toward reforming the Church.

"The specific responsibility you have is to be informed, articulate, intelligent Catholics at this very particular moment in Church history. You are the people in the reform and you are very blessed and specially prepared to respond to that need. We need to be what both of our great popes, past and present, were. People who could most effectively speak to the world around them."

1He cautioned the students to be prepared to defend the faith and not get caught up in the materialism and subjectivism of the world.

"Watch out! Be careful. You go out into a world where the nature of the supernatural is totally misunderstood if understood at all. The world is full of many well meaning and good people that have not been given, as you and I were given, the gift of Faith and all the attendant knowledge that goes with it. You'll work with them, you'll know them, they'll be your friends, they're my friends. And if you're not careful, you'll start to think like they're thinking," he warned

"That problem, that mistake reaches right through the Catholic Church in this country and all over the place. I hope and pray that in the years ahead you will begin your days on your knees in prayer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother, that she will protect you," he concluded.

1At the conclusion of the Mass, College President Dr. Timothy O'Donnell bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters on Fr. Groeschel.

On May 14 Senator Sam Brownback delivered the Commencement Address [click HERE to read the full address] and was awarded Christendom College's Pro Deo et Patria Medal for Distinguished Service to God and Country for his tireless work on behalf of the unborn.

"You were all fortunate enough to have gone to a school that has provided you with all the foundation you need in the eternal verities," he said. "You've been given a first-class education in philosophy and theology and in the social teaching of the Catholic Church. As far as moral formation goes, you have the very best there is."

He continued by explaining that the College's mission and motto, "to restore all things in Christ," is a noble ideal but that idealism has to take form in a practical way, or it runs the danger of remaining just a noble ideal, a fond wish without any practical effect.

"Our influence on others, and on the culture, is going to take place primarily through friendship and through the personal example we give to those we come into contact with each day – the testimony of our quiet self-giving as spouses, as parents, and as friends," he explained. "That might not sound as heroic or dramatic as a big political victory in the culture wars or a mass revival of religious faith, but it is. It is the heroism and the drama of living for others in your daily life, inspired by your Faith, made possible by Grace, in which you transform your environment and the culture by living a life of service to your friends, your family, and your colleagues."

1He talked about his dealings in the Senate and the many important political decisions he has to make on a regular basis.

"But more important than the ‘big issues' I deal with each day as a Senator are the individual souls I touch every day. The temptation that many of us in public life face is to treat public policy issues as if they were of transcendent importance. In fact, that can become a handy excuse for treating people as means to an all-important end. The cause, and not the individuals we deal with, becomes the important thing."

But we have to continue to fight this temptation, he said, because it is this constant interior struggle to do our work well and to fulfill our obligations with the right intention that will have the most profound effect on society.

"This is the re-evangelization in action: the positive influence we can have on the souls we touch each day. The battle to change the culture and to strengthen the family starts at home, and it is a battle each one of us has to fight personally. We can change the culture, but that change will not come through government involvement or mandates. It will come through our involvement, our dedication, our commitment, and our example, each and every one of us. At the center of any true cultural change is the individual family culture of each home, and that is a reason for hope in this great country of ours," he concluded.

Prior to the Senator's adddress, Salutatorian Ken Furlong delivered an address [click HERE to read the full address] to his fellow classmates in which he compared the formation at Christendom to a motherhouse of a religious order.

Ken Furlong"The motherhouse is where those who have taken on the challenge of conquering the world are formed, where they enjoy the calm before the storm, and where their spiritual center remains even after they go forth."

Following the conferral of degrees and the awarding of the Student Achievement Award to Siobhan O'Connor, Ida Friemoth delivered the Valedictory Address [click HERE to read the full address].

"As we leave here to pursue our paths in the world, this challenge faces us: not to remember our heavenly end, but to remember to act on it," she said. "No longer will our studies daily remind us of intellectual goods higher than money or pleasure. No longer will a life of virtue be so easy to maintain, as we leave behind the easy access to the sacraments, the reminders to prayer, and the community and friends who gave us support. In the world we will face the temptations of a secular culture that may not deny God, but will always exclude Him from a way of life centered on earthly goods, on having over being. In face of the world's persistent assertion that temporal goods are the ultimate end of human life, remember that all goods must be subject to God, in whom alone they find fulfillment. Do not be deceived when the world tells you to live for pleasure, because you have tasted eternal goods and found them sweet."

Ida FriemothThe 89 undergraduates who received B.A. degrees were:

Mary Accettullo, Zachary Akers, Victor Alcantara, Adrienne Alessandro, Helen Almeter, Paul Almeter, Marie Antunes, James Blankenship, Alec Bradshaw, Adeline Buckley, Eryka Bukowski, Alexandria Chiasson, Christine Coy, William Davulis, Christina Denton, William Diem, Mary Grace Fallon, Angela Ferri, John Fier, Ashley Filiault, Megan Fraser, Ida Friemoth, Kenneth Furlong, Angela Gaetano, Margaret Ginski, Zachary Gossin, Mary Hack, Daniel Heenan, Elizabeth Henderson, Michael Hilleary, Catherine Jenkins, David Kelly, Rachel Lancour, Mark Leopold, Philip Loegering, Laurence Lombardi, Nicole Luca, Kyle McAtee, Andrew McDonald, Michael McGlynn, Michael McSheffrey, Emily Meeks, Leo Meere, Patricia Metzger, Jacob Meza, Nicole Miller, Mara Mirus, Michael Moore, Jessica Morgan, Siobhan O'Connor, Julia Peterson, Rachel Piron, Lorraine Podlinsek, Kelly Poe, Joseph Powell, Robert Quartararo, Katherine Quest, Elizabeth Rice, Mark Riddle, Emily Rose, Katrina Ruminski, Sharon Scanlon, Anna Schiavone, Kateri Schmidt, Alex Scrivener, Jeremy Sheiko, Richard Shipley, Breton Smith, Brittany Smith, Anthony Smitha, Philip Soergel, Charles Spiering, Elizabeth Stephens, Timothy Storey, Justin Stover, Trevor Sullivan, Rita Traugott, Mollie Tschida, Patrick VanderWoude, Brandon Vaughan, David Wallace, Jacinta Whittaker, Heather Wier, Laura Williams, Thomas Williams, Anne Wolpert, Daniel Wright, Alexander Young, and Elizabeth Young.

One Associate of Arts degree was conferred on Joshua Long.


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