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Athenaeum graduates 44 at October commencement
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES DEANERY — The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary graduated 44 students during ceremonies Oct. 17 in the Chapel of St. Gregory the Great on the Athenaeum campus. The degrees were conferred by Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr. The archbishop also delivered  the commencement address as he pre­sided over his first Athenaeum graduation since being named to lead the archdiocese.

 
Archbishop Schnurr expressed his pride in the Athenaeum and seminary, saying it became clear upon his arrival in Cincinnati two years ago that “this house of ministerial education and formation is one of our greatest assets.”
 
Terrance Callan
Terrance Callan, academic dean and dean of special studies at the Athenaeum, presents the Celebration of Teaching Award to Father Rob Jack, instructor of systematic theology. (CT/E.L. Hubbard)

“Each of you came here with a vocation,” he told the graduates. “All who come to the Athenaeum come with a vocation — to the priesthood, to the diaconate or to lay ministry in the church. Thank you for answering the call of the Lord, and congratulations on the degrees you have earned through generous commitment and dedicated study. The Athenaeum has equipped you well, through those studies, to fulfill your vocation in ministry. But that does not mean your task will be easy. The challenges to the church, and therefore to your ministry, are many.”
Those challenges, Archbishop Schnurr said, include a secular culture in which the “the truth as given to us by the Author of Life is regularly dismissed as being irrelevant or unimportant,” along with fewer Catholics filling the pews on Sundays, fewer priests and religious to serve parishes, schools and other religious institutions and tighter budgets that strain parish and archdiocesan programs.
 
“But God  is Lord of abundances, not shortages,” he reminded the graduates. “What we do not reflect on frequently enough, it seems to me, is the growing number of deacons and  lay ecclesial ministers who engage themselves in a new evangelization in our parishes, and the growing number of seminarians who are discerning a call to the priesthood.”
 
He encouraged the graduates to remember that they are not alone in ministry. “We have one another — priests, deacons, religious and lay ministers — we travel to God together. Jesus gave us the church because we need the church , we need one another, we need to come together as the people of God,” Archbishop Schnurr said.
 
No one person can lay claim to the measurable successes of a parish, he noted. “Accomplishments are realized only when, faithful to the word of God, all ministries come together, each contributing God-given talents to the common enterprise. In this way — together — we build the kingdom of God.”
 
Father Robert Muhlenkamp
Father Earl Fernandes, left, dean of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and assistant professor of moral theology, fastens a master of divinity hood on Father Robert Muhlenkamp. (CT/E.L. Hubbard)
The graduates and their degrees are:
Master of Divinity: Fathers Kevin Kahmann, Robert Muhlenkamp, Matthew Rader and Timothy Ralston  
Master of Arts in Biblical Studies: Father Tuan Do  
Master of Arts in Theology: Tracy Koenig
Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling: Lisa Debbeler, Sister of Charity Patricia Dittmeier and Father Matthew Kumi
 
Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry: Jane Anderson, Donald Brockmeier, Michael Collins, John Homoelle, Jerold Kosey, Stephen Lindner, Ken Meymann, Alan Pickett, Kenneth Schnur and Michael Trimpe 
Certificate in Lay Ministry: Marc Alexander, Dennis Berry, Michael Brock, Cheryl Ann Foti, George Freudenberg, Lawrence Gronas, Robert Gutendorf, Ralph Gutman, Annette Huber, Daniel Huber, Henry Jacquez, Cheryl Kircher, Donald Luebbering, Vincent Lutz, John Lyons, Gregory Marx, David McCray, William McGrath, Linda Newcomer, Christopher Rauch, Thomas Shea, Kenneth Stewart, Jason Wheatley, Louis Wong and Dave Zink.