SILVER SPRING, Md. — A Holy Name friar and a Kenya native who spent his initial formation at Holy Name College were among the 42 students who graduated last week at the last official graduation of Washington Theological Union. The May 3 ceremony took place at St. Camillus Church. In recent years, commencements of the 40-year-old WTU — which last year announced its closing — were held at Trinity Washington University’s chapel.
Fr. Andrew Cifereni, O. Praem., former academic dean of the WTU, who worked closely with Vincent Cushing, OFM, in creating the award-winning architectural design of the Connelly Chapel of Holy Wisdom, was commencement speaker at the 44th graduation ceremony. The St. Camillus Multi-Cultural Choir provided music during the ceremony.
Both Jeffery Jordan, OFM, and Br. Geoffrey Muga, FMH, a Franciscan Missionary of Hope, received master’s of divinity degrees after having completed their course work this past year at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Jeffery, a Georgia native, professed his first vows as a Franciscan in 2009. Br. Geoffrey, a native of Kenya, has spent his initial formation with the Province’s friars at Holy Name College, adjacent to St. Camillus.
They are now, according to a post on WTU’s Facebook page, “part of the gifted, and called Union alumni who minister to God’s people.”
Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, a member of the WTU board, attended the ceremony. “There were a number of friars present from Holy Name College. It was a very nice but bittersweet ceremony as it was the last formal graduation for the WTU. Fr Andrew Cerferni’s commencement address was a powerful call for the graduates to teach and live what Andrew described as the ‘stars’ of the second Vatican Council, namely the major documents of the council that challenged the Church to change and grow in its thinking and teaching.”
The friars and parish community of St. Camillus hosted a reception in the parish hall for the graduates and their families, John said.
Earlier this year, the Washington Theological Union building was sold. At that time, the WTU administrative offices moved to the Carmelite Whitefriars Hall. Photos of John and others who participated in the February document signing were posted on the school’s website.
The WTU, of which General Leslie Palm is currently president, will grant its final master’s degrees and certificates at the end of this calendar year.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province. The photos with this story were provided by Kerry Turner, former WTU communications director.