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Thirteen adults receive theology degrees at Little Rock Mass

Students now have a 'license to learn,' bishop tells graduates

Published: September 17, 2011   
Malea Hargett
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor (far right) joins 12 graduates who received their bachelor's degrees in theology Sept. 10 at St. John Center in Little Rock. They are Louise Tausch (front row, left), Barbara Huber, Phyllis Hemann, Anne Formby (middle row, from left), Sister Cecelia Brickell, OSB, Sister Deborah Coffey, OSB, Charles Danner and Christine Thomas, Kevin Andersen (back row, from left), Karl Serbousek, Brenda Stevens and Melinda Brown. Present for the graduation were Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen, OSB, and Dr. Anne McGuire of St. Gregory University in Shawnee, Okla.

The sacrifices made by 13 Catholics in Arkansas paid off last week when they received their bachelor's degrees in theology from St. Gregory University.

On Sept. 10, Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen, university chancellor, conferred the degrees following Mass at St. John Center in Little Rock before a full chapel of fellow students, friends and family members.

The students attended weekend classes through the Little Rock Theology Institute for three years, read many books, completed countless assignments and attended additional courses at the Catholic university in Shawnee, Okla., in order to earn the degrees. The degree is offered only to those who are seeking a second bachelor's degree.

The graduates are:

  • Kevin Andersen, a member of St. Michael Church in Van Buren.

  • Sister Cecelia Brickell, OSB, of St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith.

  • Melinda Brown, Anne Formby, Louise Tausch and Christine Thomas, members of St. Edward Church in Texarkana.

  • Sister Deborah Coffey, OSB, of Holy Angels Convent in Jonesboro.

  • Charles Danner and Brenda Stevens, members of St. Jude Church in Jacksonville.

  • Phyllis Hemann, a member of Immaculate Conception Church in North Little Rock.

  • Barbara Huber, a member of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Benton.

  • Karl Serbousek, a member of St. Anne Church in North Little Rock.

    Another graduate, Brother Patrick Boland, OSB, of Subiaco Abbey has entered the seminary to become a priest and was not able to attend.

    In his homily, Abbot Lawrence commended the students for their hardwork, perseverance and commitment to their faith.

    "By your participation, you delve deeply into the mystery, recalling the truths," he said. "There is indeed a reason to proclaim a message of hope."

    Bishop Taylor said with their degrees in hand, the graduates now have a "license to learn" and know how to accurately discover what the Church teaches and convey it properly to others.

    "Now you are equipped to begin theology," he said. "Now is when it begins … I look for good things for you in your parishes."


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