Go to the World in Love, Jesuit School of Theology Graduates Urged
BERKELEY, Calif., May 24, 2022— The three dozen members of the graduating class of Santa Clara University’s Jesuit School of Theology (JST) have been well-formed to serve their communities with passion, empathy, and commitment. They received a message of encouragement at their May 21 commencement from Arthur G. Holder, a professor of Christian spirituality and former dean at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU).
“You have been formed and reformed by your experiences of solidarity in times of struggle,” Holder, an Episcopal priest, told the graduating class. Quoting poet Maya Angelou, he charged the graduates to “stretch” themselves when entering this new phase of their work.
“We have more in common with one another than we have differences that keep us apart. Carry that knowledge, that capacity for empathy with you into your ministries,” he said.
Holder also highlighted the importance of Christian ministers to keep up with what’s happening in other fields and to stay strong in one’s theology. Acknowledging the vast amount of training and discernment that JST graduates have undergone, he pointed out, “Graduates, you already have what you need to get started in the work you’re called to do. You are human beings, beloved children of the Creator. You are heirs to the great tradition of Jesuit education.” He sent the graduates forth with a blessing and a charge—to “go forth for God. Go to the world in love.”
Holder is a historian of Christian spirituality with particular interests in early medieval biblical interpretation, mysticism, and the writings of the Venerable Bede. A graduate of Duke University and the General Theological Seminary, he was professor and academic dean at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, a GTU member school, before serving for 14 years as dean and vice president of academic affairs for the Graduate Theological Union. He has been co-chair of the Christian Spirituality Group of the American Academy of Religion and a member of its Theological Education Committee. He is an active member in the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, for which he served as president in 2009. He received the GTU Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019.
At the ceremony, the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University awarded him an honorary doctorate of divinity.
After the degrees were conferred, Alyssa Moore M.Div. ’22 addressed her peers, urging them to “speak out against injustices” and “make an active choice for solidarity.”
“As a woman in theology, I came here expecting opposition from certain members of our tradition, but came to find that often the most damaging response from church members and the most destructive impulse in myself was silence, inertia, ambivalence,” Moore said. “There may come a time when loving and acting as Christ did and working for transformation as Christ did brings you into conflict with your colleagues, your diocese, or community. I hope we will do the right thing in these situations.”
Moore encouraged her peers to “say yes to God’s call for justice.”
Graduating Class and Award Recipients
The Jesuit School of Theology’s graduating class of 2022 comprised 36 students from 13 countries, who received 44 degrees. During the ceremony, Barbara Kozee, M.Div ’22; Jesús Muñoz, M.T.S. ’23; Mark Ngwenya, S.J., S.T.L., Th.M ’23; and Ricardo Perkins, S.J., M.Div ’22, received the Alpha Sigma Nu Award.
About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry, and theology; and law degrees and engineering doctoral degrees. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu.
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