108th Commencement at the Pontifical College Josephinum

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Samuel Gray, David Nerbun and Deacon Andrew Trapp, all of the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., received degrees from the Pontifical College Josephinum on May 12.

“Each of you has played a unique role in making the Josephinum what it is today,” said Msgr. Paul Langsfeld, S.T.D., rector and president. He spoke at the seminary’s 108th baccalaureate Mass and commencement exercises, according to a school press release.

Thirty students from 17 different dioceses received degrees from one of the school’s three programs of formation for the Catholic priesthood: the College of Liberal Arts, Pre-Theology Program and School of Theology.

Most Rev. Earl Boyea, auxiliary bishop of Detroit and former Josephinum rector (2000-2002) celebrated the Mass. He focused much of his homily on the concept of time — past, present and future.

“From day to day, the church changes,” he said. “Our life changes — sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. But through it all the Lord is the Lord of all times.”

The bishop urged the graduates not to dwell on the past, either in regret or nostalgia, to the point where it detains one from moving forward. He also advised the seminarians to avoid the temptation to focus on the future and the ambition which often accompanies it.

“We all want our talents and gifts recognized,” he said. “But to focus too much in this area means that we have not really made a gift of our life to the Lord.”

The key is to remain in the present and to dwell on the time at hand.

“We cannot long for the past or yearn for the future,” he said. “Rather, here and now we listen to the voice of the Lord who calls us. Today is our day to be the sons and daughters we are called to be at this moment.”

Both Gray and Nerbun earned pre-theology bachelor of philosophy degrees and Deacon Trapp received the Master of Divinity degree, signifying completion of the requirements for ordination. It was awarded to 17 graduates of the School of Theology, four of whom also earned a Master of Arts in Theology.

Deacon Trapp also earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology, which is the first pontifical degree conferred by the Josephinum since its affiliation with the Pontifical Lateran University began in Rome nearly two years ago.

All the seminarians who earned masters degrees “achieved a quality of scholarship that suggests the ability to do further serious theological work and to make original contributions to the field,” Msgr. Langsfeld said.