ON May 25, CTU was pleased to celebrate the 55th Annual Commencement Ceremony. This year, graduation was held at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Hyde Park, as longtime commencement partner KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation undergoes continued renovations. Sixty graduates representing fifteen countries received certificates or Master level degrees in the areas of Hispanic Theology and Ministry; Intercultural Studies and Ministry; Justice Ministry; Liturgical Ministry; Pastoral Studies; Ministry; and Theology. Twenty-seven received Master of Divinity degrees and seven received Doctor of Ministry degrees.

Sarai Martinez, MA
Assistant Registrar & SIS Administrator
Catholic Theological Union

Before the conferral of degrees, student representative, full-time Assistant Registrar on the CTU staff, and recipient of an MA in Intercultural Studies and Ministry, Sarai Martinez spoke of the importance of humble, personal, contextual, and continued theological inquiry long after classes are over:

Theology is not just an intellectual pursuit but a pursuit of the heart. As theologians, we seek to deepen our love for God and for one another. Let your theological training inspire you to love more deeply, to serve more generously, and to live more compassionately.

Rev. Edwin David Aponte, Dean of the Theological School and Professor of Religion and Culture at Drew University, received a Doctorate in Theology, honoris causa. In his remarks, Aponte reflected on the profound importance of belonging and encouraged graduates to continually remind themselves of the CTU community to which they belong.

The word “belonging” reminds me of another concept that is so much part of my life and work, one that I think is well-known here at CTU… en conjunto, de conjunto. Teología en conjunto. Teología de conjunto. Pastoral en conjunto. Pastoral de conjunto… Ministry that informs theology that informs ministry that informs theology, in that rich conjunto process that recognizes not only efforts of the mind, but also actions of our hands…

Belonging means we are part of many communities, not just one… [and] the communities we belong to just don’t happen. Certainly, we are born into a community, but also, we might be invited into many other communities. At some point, we choose…

Belonging is part of the way we humans connect with and care for others, and by so doing, we discover how to care for ourselves. Belonging to each other in communities gives us the opportunity to discover our callings, to nourish meaning and purpose, to nurture and sustain others, and allows us to be sustained by others.”

Rev. Edwin David Aponte
Dean of the Theological School and Professor of Religion and Culture
Drew University
Joan F. Neal
Deputy Executive Director & Chief Equity Officer

Joan F. Neal received a Doctorate in Ministry, honoris causa. Neal serves as Deputy Executive Director & Chief Equity Officer at NETWORK in Washington DC and is herself a CTU alumna. In her remarks, Neal reassured graduates that continuing to say “Yes” to the movement of the Spirit was far more important than having a clearly laid-out plan following graduation.

I did not take the traditional road to ministry. My work was not to be ‘one of the people who write the books’ or who lead a parish ministry, but even though I did not know exactly what I was getting myself into, I said ‘yes’ and that ‘yes’ has taken me on a life adventure that I could never have imagined! All because of the foundation CTU provided for me and now has provided for you. Where will you let it take you?

The recording of the commencement ceremony can be viewed on our YouTube channel.