Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 saw the last convocation for students of the Department of Theology of Assumption University. It was a bittersweet celebration for all of us. Our five graduates, from both the Windsor and Saginaw programs, well represented the over 150 grads who had gone before. They were part of a community of learners, rooted in Jesus Christ and His Church, made up of wonderful people, believers who experienced a call to more intentionally participate in the building of the reign of God and to educate and be educated for mission and ministry in the church and in the world.
This program began with a pilot project in 1992 because ecclesial lay ministers in the Windsor Essex area hungered for Theology courses to help them minister. Bishop Sherlock and then President, Fr. Bud Paré CSB, were joined by a committee of Basilians, adult centre directors, a school board representative and a diocesan priest to develop the Institute of Pastoral and Educational Ministry. The committee members were: Fr. Bill Stoba CSB, Fr. Michael Lehman CSB, Fr. Jim Carruthers CSB, Fr. Paul McGill CSB, Mrs. Elaine Damphouse, Ms. Connie Pare, Mrs. Betty McCrindle, Fr. Tony Daniels. Sr. Mary Ann Flanagan IHM and I became the directors of the program and taught within it. Later on, Sr. Mary Ann became the director of the Saginaw branch of the program.
In 1996 we held our first convocation with Beverley Bryans and Sue Bitacola receiving their Certificates in Pastoral Ministry. On May13th, 2015 we held our last. The following people graduated: Marie Thérèse Lamphier, Master in Religious Education, Windsor (Faith and Spirituality: Practical Steps to a Relationship with God); Nicole K. Carr, Master of Arts, Pastoral Ministry, Windsor (Catechesis for a Twenty-first Century Church); Ghislaine Brigitte Lalonde, Master of Arts, Pastoral Ministry, Windsor (A Study of Restorative Justice); Margaret Ann Palmer, Master of Arts, Pastoral Ministry. Windsor (Stay With Me: Joan Chittister’s Invitation to All Roman Catholics); Isabel Santiago, Master of Arts, Pastoral Ministry, Saginaw (Healing on the Journey) and Donald Frank Michalski, Certificate in Pastoral Ministry, Saginaw.
We are grateful for the many blessings and graces both received and given. IPEM/The Department of Theology continues on in the lives of its graduates and the many who have been affected by them. We thank God for the opportunity to have been part of something so wonderful.