WASHINGTON, D.C. — Five Holy Name friars were graduated this month from the Washington Theological Union (WTU). Scott Brookbank, OFM, Zachary Elliott, OFM, Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, Gonzalo de Jesus Torres-Acosta, OFM, and Christopher VanHaight, OFM, were among 52 students who received academic degrees May 2 in the Notre Dame Chapel at Trinity Washington University.
Paul received a master’s in theological studies; the other friars received master’s of divinity degrees.
This was the start of an important month for Scott, Zachary, Gonzalo, and Christopher; all are to be ordained on May 24, at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Manhattan.
The graduation was a huge success, according to Will Heaton, WTU director of communications. “The weather was absolutely beautiful; both the speakers were excellent.”
WTU president John Burkhard, OFM Conv., reflected upon the occasion. “This is truly a momentous occasion and as I looked throughout Notre Dame Chapel and saw all of the students, families, faculty members, and staff, I was reminded of the wonderful spirit that lives within the WTU community. The success of WTU’s graduates reaffirms the strength of WTU’s mission and the industrious nature of its staff and faculty.”
Rev. Mr. Steven A. Bell, CSP, was awarded the Vincent Cushing Student Service Award for his steadfast presence within the WTU community and his avid participation within community life, Heaton said. He has served as an ambassador for WTU. Most recently, he was cantor at the Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in Washington, D.C. The award was named for Vincent Cushing, OFM, who served as president of the WTU from 1975 till 1999.
Rev. Mr. Peter Hill, CSsR, was named the James A. Coriden Valedictor and delivered a speech to his classmates reflecting on his time at WTU.
This was the 39th commencement ceremony of the WTU. See photos on its Web site.