2012 Commencement Speech
The Most Reverend Michael Sheridan, Bishop of Colorado Springs
Recipient of the Wyoming Catholic College Sedes Sapientiae Award
The Patroness of Wyoming Catholic College is the Blessed Virgin Mary under her ancient title of “Seat of Wisdom,” for in her faith and in her womb the Word became flesh, and she remains for us the the faithful disciple who always offers Jesus Christ to every generation of believers. She is thus a most fitting patroness for a College that seeks to be faithful to the wisdom of God and to equip students to make this wisdom available and transformative in our own day and age.
The Sedes Sapientiae Award, named in honor of our Patroness, is given annually to a Catholic who has made an outstanding contribution to articulating and defending the Catholic Faith in the Church and State of our times. The fidelity to Christ, the loyalty to His Church, and the courageous public witness that Wyoming Catholic College earnestly hopes to see in its graduates as they go forth into the world are well embodied in the man on whom the medal is bestowed today: the Most Reverend Michael Sheridan.
Bishop Sheridan is nationally well known for his energetic involvement in the pro-life cause, his unflinching advocacy of Christian ethics in public life, his clear and vigorous diocesan pastoral plan (Living the Mission, Transforming the Culture), and his enthusiastic embrace of Pope Benedict XVI’s liturgical reform. When the Health and Human Services policy decision threatened the religious liberty of Catholics in the United States of America, Bishop Sheridan quickly issued a vehement protest, rallying Catholics of Colorado to join together in defense of the freedom of the Church. Bishop Sheridan has also not hesitated to call Catholic politicians to account for public dissent and to demand that Catholic citizens refrain from voting for candidates who are manifestly at odds with the Faith.
Bishop Sheridan obtained his doctorate in theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and subsequently did pastoral work in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He also taught Systematic Theology on the theological faculty of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. In 1997, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis by Pope John Paul II, choosing as his episcopal motto 2 Corinthians 12:9, “Strength is made perfect in weakness.”
He was consecrated Coadjutor Bishop of Colorado Springs in 2001, and became, upon his predecessor’s retirement, the second Bishop of Colorado Springs in 2003. Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Sheridan sits on the Committee on Catholic Education as well as the Administrative Committee and the Committee on Priorities and Plans. He is also a member of the boards of trustees of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis and St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver.
This dedicated involvement in Catholic education gives Bishop Sheridan a special affinity for the kind of work Wyoming Catholic College is all about: forming well-educated, joyfully orthodox ambassadors for Christ at the dawn of the 3rd millennium of Christianity. Indeed, we are especially pleased to be able to bestow this award on a successor of the Apostles who honored us early in our history with a visit in September 2008, when he preached at the Convocation Mass of the Holy Spirit that welcomed the very same Class of 2012 now seated here before us in their graduation regalia.
Your Excellency, it is our distinct privilege to bestow on you today the Sedes Sapientiae Award, with our gratitude and our prayers for your ministry.