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:
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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