Christendom College celebrated its forty-first commencement on August 9, awarding 89 undergraduate degrees to the Class of 2020. Author and radio personality Patrick Madrid was also honored during the ceremony, with the college awarding him the Pro Deo et Patria Award for Distinguished Service to God and Country before he delivered this year’s commencement address.
Madrid began his commencement address by remarking on all that has happened in 2020, ultimately exhorting the members of the Class of 2020 to courageously step forward and take their place as leaders in the Church.
“My dear Class of 2020, you sure picked quite a year to graduate,” said Madrid. “We need well-educated and well-formed young men and women, just like you, who know how to think clearly, now, more than ever…let us remember today, with hearts filled with gratitude, our Catholic forefathers and foremothers who loved and lived the Catholic Faith with fidelity and perseverance, sometimes amidst hardship and persecution. Their memory calls to us from the past and encourages us to remain steadfast as they were then.”
During his address, Madrid gave three pieces of advice to the graduating class: to not be afraid to live the truth, to not be afraid to speak the truth, and to not be afraid to suffer for the truth. By doing all these things, the Class of 2020 can have a profound impact on the Church and on society, according to Madrid.
“Graduates, do not be discouraged by 2020. Maybe the best is yet to come, in that more and bigger challenges are still ahead of us. The Church was made for such times and you have been well prepared for such times. You just finished four years of academic training that has equipped you — heart, mind, and soul — to go forth confidently, joyfully, and courageously into the lives God has prepared for you for all eternity,” concluded Madrid.
Commencement was held three months later than usual this year due to Christendom moving to online distance learning this past spring as a result of COVID-19. While the Class of 2020 lost its final semester together, the college’s staff and faculty insisted on holding a Commencement ceremony once it was safe to do so in order to celebrate their accomplishments as a class. Due to the timing, the college combined its Graduate School Commencement with the undergraduate Commencement as well, honoring both groups with one ceremony.
On Sunday morning, the graduates gathered for a Baccalaureate Mass celebrated in Christ the King Chapel. College chaplain Fr. Marcus Pollard celebrated the Mass, calling upon the graduates to maintain the same spirit of prayer they shared as classmates.
“We study and pray so that we can live the full Christian life. Dr. Carroll and his colleagues did the laborious work they did years ago so that you can speak intelligently as Christ would have you,” said Fr. Pollard. “The ongoing work of forming minds and souls here at Christendom College never ends. Without your prayers, there is no way it can continue. May God bless you on your Commencement day.”
Following the Mass, graduates processed to St. Louis the Crusader Gymnasium for the Commencement Ceremonies. There, college president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell delivered his charge to the graduates, encouraging them to be men and women of magnanimous forgiveness.
“As Catholics and through your education, you know that we must respond to [these troubled times] by bearing witness to the truth in love,” said O’Donnell. “There is an incredible, expansive power in the goodness of forgiveness. God can fill us with an intense charity if we let Him. Hatred cannot create, hatred can only destroy. But divine love, manifested especially in an act of forgiveness, that can transform, that can heal, and it can renew and restore.”
“My charge to you this day: may you, as you go forth from us, be men and women, who as deeply educated and committed Catholics, be persons of a joyful and merciful faith that will heal through your magnanimous forgiveness the hurts and the bitterness that prevents so many individuals in the world from drawing closer to receiving the Lord’s mercy. May you, with God’s grace, be so transformed that you reflect His mercy in your families, in your workplace, and in this saddened and wounded world of ours. May your prayers, your works, and your actions bring forgiveness, because you will be empowered by the Precious Blood of Jesus flowing from His Merciful and Wounded Heart. In so doing, in these troubled times, you will help mightily to restore all things in Christ.”
The eighty-nine members of the Class of 2020 are Kyra Andersen, Thomas Audino, John Bailey, Mikaela Bailey, John Belton, AnneMarie Bulman, Rachael Butek, Rebecca Byrne, Mark Chamandy, Timothy Clauss, Theresa Crnkovich, Christopher Culbreath, Riley Damitz, Olivia Di Falco, Eliana Doll, Jorge Dominguez, Michael Echaniz, Mary Fallon, Katarina Federici, Parker Feiring, James Foeckler, Teresa Ford, Sara Franco Bruce, Gabriel Freivald, Lauren Gage, Abigail Gaus, Laura Gelles, Joseph Gerring, Mary Rita Gies, Cabrina Gorges, Monica Guza, Colette Hazinski, Ian Heisler, Mary Margaret Heisler, William Herb, Thomas Herlihy, Matthew Hill, Margaret Howerton, Monica Kaul, Emma Klein, Benjamin Kristine, Lucy La Fave, Edith Lagarde, John Lemmon, Maximilian Lock, Lily Mann, Joshua Mead, Jonathan Messing, Isabel Meteyer, Aiden Miller, Alexis Miller, Samuel Morales, Diego Moreno II, Patrick Newton, Michael Nodar, Christina Nutt, Gregory O’Brien, Christopher O’Keefe, Rosemarie Olszewski, Maria Ortega, Rowena Owen, Emily Palm, Sarah Papp, Adela Pardo Gasque, Carlos Pardo Gasque, Gabriela Pariseau, Daniel Pearson, Michaela Pennefather, Isabella Reilly, Madison Reulet, Bernadette Rohan, James Rossi, Fernando Sanchez, Katherine Santschi, Emilie Scarchilli, James Scrivener, Sofia Skuba, Anna Solitario, Margaret Speer, Anthony Storey, Anne Sullivan, Michael Urankar, Thomas Vander Woude, Ashley Way, Emily Wenzel, Ann-Marie Wingerter, Abigail Wynne, Vivian Zadnik, and Gregory Zuranski.
Photos from Commencement 2020 will be available shortly.