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Pontifical College Josephinum Celebrates 124th Commencement Exercises

The Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio celebrated its 124th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 13. The graduating class included seminarians from the (arch)dioceses of Birmingham, Gaylord, Joliet, Oakland, Ogdensburg, and Santa Fe, and the religious order of the Fathers of Mercy. From the Diocese of Birmingham, seminarians Hunter Limbaugh and Adam Sellers were awarded the degree Bachelor of Philosophy after completeing Josephinum’s Pre-Theology Program.

Commencement Exercises were held in the Josephinum’s historic Conrardy Hall. Following the presentation of degrees, an address on behalf of the Class of 2023 was delivered by College of Liberal Arts graduate Eric Ruiz of the Diocese of Oakland. “Being here at the Josephinum for four years, it has been an honor,” he said, “to see good, holy priests and model after them, and to be surrounded by people I can call brothers.” Ruiz urged his classmates to carry with them all they have experienced and learned – especially that they can do nothing without Jesus Christ – so that, “no matter where we go, may the people who we meet, whether in our parish assignment or with family and friends, see a man who is walking truly with the Lord.”

In his remarks closing commencement, Father Beseau shared that the year of formation – the Josephinum’s 125th year of forming priests – concludes with spirit of gratefulness. "We are grateful to the families and friends of our graduates,” he said. “There is a goodness in every man here. This is because of God, and because of those who have given them a foundation of prayer, virtue, and love.”

Father Beseau also expressed words of gratitude to the faculty and Community of Formators of the Josephinum. “There is a lot that happens in the years we spend with these men,” he said. “They are not the same men they were when they first arrived – that is the work of God, and of our professors and priests who are here today.”

The commencement is a milestone in the vocational journey of the seminarians who received degrees. College and pre-theology graduates will continue their priestly discernment as they undertake graduate theological study. Graduates of the School of Theology return to their respective dioceses for priestly ordination and will join nearly 1,200 ordained alumni who currently serve the universal Church in nearly every U.S. state and in 18 countries around the world.


“Graduates, we are blessed in the classroom, in the chapel, and in our formation meetings, to accompany you, to educate you, and to witness your perseverance and your deep spiritual and intellectual growth,” said Father Beseau. “As you go forward, know of our prayers for you – that one day, God willing, you will become holy, generous, adaptable, and resilient priests.”