Seminarians Enjoy Annual Deacon Night Festivities

Each year seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s await one party with great anticipation: Deacon Night. Deacon Night is the final celebration of the year occurring the Friday before finals week and marks the date after which the graduating fourth year seminarians are free to leave the seminary after completing the process of priestly formation. The evening begins with a commencement ceremony within the context of the liturgical celebration of Vespers in Immaculate Conception Chapel. While the evening is mostly a celebration of the fourth year graduation, the second pre-theology class also graduated from the pre-theology program during the Vespers commencement ceremony. A number of pre-theologians also received a Master’s of Arts in Philosophical Studies degree while a handful of graduating pre-theologians who came to the Mount prior to earning an undergraduate degree received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree with a concentration in philosophy. As far as the conferral of degrees upon the fourth year deacon class, each member of the class received a Master’s of Divinity degree while a handful also received the ecclesiastical Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree. Additionally, a large percentage of the graduating fourth year men received Master’s degrees in theology with concentrations in Fundamental Morals, Systematic Theology, Sacred Scripture, or Church History. One of the highlights of the commencement ceremony is the annual homily by the seminary’s academic dean, Fr. J. Daniel Mindling, who each year speaks about the unique statistics and skills of the graduating seminarians. Of particular note is his run-through of the various local, national, and global events which occurred during the particular class’ time spent at the Mount.

Following the commencement ceremony, the entire community headed to Patriot Hall, the Mount’s cafeteria, where a formal dinner is hosted each year by the class of 3rd theology. During the dinner, numerous toasts were offered to the graduating deacons. Keeping with the custom, a light roasting of the deacons was also enjoyed by the community before the fourth theology class president, Deacon Clayton Thompson (S’ 13, Lafayette-in-Indiana) offered his final address to the community. Upon the dinner’s conclusion, everybody went back to the seminary where the party continued for a number of hours, affording the community a final opportunity to spend time with the graduating deacons. The day after Deacon Night, the fourth year men began departing for their respective dioceses, ready to be ordained as Priests of Jesus Christ in the coming weeks. As always, Deacon Night 2013 was a successful and well deserved sending-off of the deacons who have persevered in completing the rigorous path of priestly formation.

deacon night

Seminarians enjoy the Deacon Night dinner

deacon night

A view of the Karaoke on the seminary's patio

deacon night

The graduating class of second pre-theology

deacon night

A class photo of the 4th year deacons with their diplomas in hand

deacon night

A class photo of Mount St. Mary's Seminary class of 2013 on the steps of Immaculate Conception Chapel