Six receive Master of Arts in Ministry degrees

Family members, faculty and other well-wishers recently gathered in the chapel of St. John’s Seminary to witness the commencement exercises of the third graduating class of the Archdiocese of Boston’s Masters of Arts in Ministry degree program.

Six students — Kristelle Marie Angelli; Vincent G. Capodilupo; Jeffery S. Eckelkamp; Brendan Egonu; Linda Muldoon; and Brother Theodore H. Psemeneki, BH — received their graduate degrees at the May 27 ceremony.

Father Robert W. Oliver, BH, who took charge of the Masters of Arts in Ministry program May 1, delivered the welcoming remarks and call to order.

Then, following the invocation delivered by Father John A. Farren, OP, rector of St. John’s Seminary, Barbara Thorp, director of the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, delivered the day’s commencement address.

Thorp spoke of her experience heading the office that reaches out to assist victims of clergy sexual abuse and of her personal experience of confronting the grim reality of the abuse crisis day after day.

Reflecting on the past two years of reaching out to victims and their families, she advised the graduates to keep in mind three key principles she has found essential in her own ministry: listening, prayer and collaboration.

After an introduction by Aldona E. Lingertat, associate director of the program, Vincent Capodilupo delivered the student address representing the graduating class.

In his talk, Capodilupo spoke of the joys and labors the students experienced throughout the their time in the program.

He cited key elements of each student’s life as examples of the foundations and traditions on which each had built their lives. Through the Masters of Arts in Ministry program, he said, the students had established new traditions that they would carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Capodilupo concluded his address reciting the Prayer of St. Patrick. As St. Patrick fearlessly preached the Gospel in defiance of the pagan culture of Ireland, he said, graduates should listen to the prayer and reflect on the contemporary world and the need that it has to see the good news of Christ put into action.

Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley delivered the ceremony’s concluding benediction. In brief remarks before reciting the prayer, the archbishop congratulated the graduates and thanked the faculty and staff of St. John’s Seminary who devoted their efforts to make the program possible. He said he has only begun to get to know the program in his short time in Boston but looks forward to becoming better aquatinted with it in the future.

Begun in 2000, the first class of 16 students graduated from the Master of Arts in Ministry program in 2002.

The program is open to Catholic lay persons with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. It is “is geared for those who seek to serve the local Church as pastoral associates, religious educators or in a variety of administrative and ministerial positions that are open to the laity in contemporary Catholic parish life and in other settings such as hospitals, campuses and prisons,” according to seminary literature.

Degree requirements can be completed in as little as two years on a full-time basis or in many as five years on a part-time basis.

To earn the degree, students must take a set of 10 core courses that provide them with a background in subjects such as philosophy, systematic theology, Scripture, Church history, sacramental theology and moral theology. Electives allow them to specialize in specific areas of ministry including catechetics, liturgy or care of the sick.

Those interested in learning more about the program may call 617-779-4104 or visit the St. John’s Seminary Web site at