Class of 2023 Urged to “Take bold risks for the Kingdom of God!”

On Monday, May 15th, Wyoming Catholic College’s thirteenth Commencement Ceremony, held in the Lander Community and Convention Center before an audience of more than 500, marked the completion of an extraordinary four-year adventure for the twenty-eight young men and women of the class.

Despite the many challenges they’d faced—most notably, confronting the COVID pandemic during the second semester of their Freshman year—this final, emotional chapter in the story of their time in Lander was filled with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm. As they crossed the Community Center stage to receive their diplomas from Dr. Glenn Arbery, the College’s president, it marked the beginning of another, even more important story: the future adventures and successes of Wyoming Catholic College’s Class of 2023.

In the ceremony’s Senior Address, Emma Hermanson (Arvada, CO) told her fellow graduates that composing her speech had been a challenge “because we are all so very different from one another.” In her attempts to write a suitable address, she realized that “our sheer difference from one another is also our greatest strength.”

Noting the natural desire “to somehow perceive a wholeness to our experience and our community,” Hermanson said that “we are more like a kaleidoscope or a stained-glass window than a single pane of unbroken transparency, all filtering the same light to create a beautiful mosaic of color that would be impossible through a clearer pane.” She called her classmates to recognize this multiplicity as their gift, “to let the purified light of our vision, tinged with the hues that have surrounded us for years, wash over a world sorely in need of the brightness that we bear. So, let us begin—today, tomorrow, and every ordinary day; in complexity and yet, in honesty—to look at what lies ahead of us, with color and with life. That, friends, is our gift.”

This year’s Commencement speaker (and the recipient of the College’s annual Sedes Sapientia Award) was Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, head of the Archdiocese of Denver. In his address, he, too, recognized the unusual nature of their time in Lander and of the joyful obligation that follows. “As graduates,” he said, “you are called into the next chapter of God’s plan for your life. You should be proud of what you’ve done here and walk boldly towards the future. Be not afraid. Let the Lord be the source of your inspiration; take bold risks for the Kingdom of God.”

The archbishop closed his remarks with a note of encouragement and a challenge: “My dear class of 2023, I am filled with great hope in what Jesus has done and continues to do in you. The Lord has a definite plan for you, which you alone can fulfill. Your lives, my dearest graduates are of the utmost importance. Do not cower from this responsibility, but rejoice!”

The Class of 2023:

Bernadette Dominique Aguirre (Atascadero, CA)
Joseph Patrick Alvarez (Thousand Oaks, CA)
Andrea Carol Callaway (Livingston, TX)
Jill Ann Cook (Mokena, IL)
Matthew John Curley (Bethune, SC)

Grace Victoria Dennett (Westborough, MA)
Michael Robert Dolson (Louisville, KY)
Mary Margaret Duffy (Cambria, CA)
Sarah Frances Fojtik (Grand Haven, MI)
Blaise Ignatius Galbraith (Howell, MI)

Hiram Neil Alberto Gleason (Arlington, TX)
Emma Marie Chiara Hermanson (Arvada, CO)
Anna Kateri Klein (Hermiston, OR)
Braden Paul Licciardi (New Braunfels, TX)
Nathan James Licciardi (New Braunfels, TX)

Alyssa Claire Malo (Chattanooga, TN)
Ryan Peter Milligan (Bow, NH)
Abigail Cate O’Brien (Concord, NH)
Sofia Gabrielle Piliero (Edwards, CO)
Tobias Buckminster Brunelli Propst (Rock Springs, WY)

Theresa Marie Ramsay (Austin, TX)
Charles Thomas Renouard (Butte, MT)
Elizabeth Mary Shephard (Ave Maria, FL)
Jacinta Elizabeth St. Pierre (Goffstown, NH)
Margaret Mary Thorseth (Houston, TX)

Frances Marie Urbancic (Chardon, OH)
Cecilia Marie Wiesner (Aurora, IL)
Aidan Francis Wood (Ojai, CA)

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