Twenty-five years ago today, I was given my last diploma.

MA commencement

Left to right, some important men in my formative life.

The dean, Fr Sebastian Falcone, looking to the next graduate. But when I was in my first year there, convinced me to do graduate studies in my hometown instead of scooting to Notre Dame for liturgy. Or somewhere else for music.

Bishop Matthew Clark in the background a bit. He was the first bishop I got to know. I admired his thoughtful presence at liturgy: prayerful, unflappable, and most pastoral.

Father Joseph Hart at the podium. Professor three times. Thesis advisor. Friend and advocate. A superior preacher–one of the finest I’ve ever known.

The invite:


The family took me out for dinner tonight. I usually don’t make a big deal of this day. In fact, until I checked my diploma, I wasn’t 100% sure I had remembered the right day. My wife apologized for not having a present., but honestly …

St Bernard’s Institute (now School of Theology and Ministry) prepared me for service. And I spent the day doing what I love: I went to Mass, prayed some lectio, talked with a few parishioners including one just back from a pilgrimage to France, wrote up a few bulletin pieces, set up a few meetings for later in the week, worked a bit in the music room, fielded some suggestions from a student on better care for the parish drum set, shared some thoughts and a few jokes with my colleagues, answered questions from a few brides-to-be, looked into another degree. It was a full day. It’s a good life.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Jubilee

  1. Todd, as I prepare to receive a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from the same institution, although it now goes by the name St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, I loved seeing this post.

    Your work and presence in the world is a sign of what these kinds of degrees mean to the church and to God’s people. Thank you for living so generously all these years. Ad multos annos!

    It was my hope that my degree would be conferred upon me by Bishop Clark as well. I knew that his retirement date was the summer before, but so often, the retiring bishop remains seated for up to a year or more. Sadly, that is not to be the case. (No disrespect to Bishop Cunningham of Syracuse, who will confer our degrees as administrator of the Rochester diocese at the moment.

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