EDMONTON - Graduates of Newman Theological College were called to put their faith to work promoting the quality of life, the "seamless garment" of justice and the integrity of creation.
Joan Carr, superintendent of Edmonton Catholic Schools, said Catholic education prepares students "to live with, even embrace, the paradoxes of life."
Carr told the 34 people who received degrees and certificates at Newman College's Oct. 15 convocation they have been called to be Christ's disciples and to share their learning with those around them.
"Graduates, you have been truly graced with academic and spiritual gifts that you have earned and now it is your turn to go forth in the world, sharing those gifts with others," she said.
"The essence of Catholicism is dynamic transformation. We are called to be more like Jesus."
Carr was the speaker at the convocation held for the first time in the new St. Joseph Seminary Chapel.
The college awarded six degrees in theology, six master of religious education degrees and 22 graduate diplomas in religious education.
The emphasis on preparing teachers in the religious education programs is due to what Carr called "a great relationship" between Newman College and Edmonton Catholic Schools and other Catholic school districts in Alberta.
The existence of the college is "a community blessing for Catholic education," she said.
College president Father Shayne Craig said Newman has likely gone through more change over the past four years than in the first 40 years of its existence.
Not only did it move from its long-time site near St. Albert, first to Sherwood Park and then to new buildings in the centre of Edmonton, but it has also gone through the restructuring of its academic and other staff, he said.
This fall, the college re-launched its bachelor of theology program as well as starting a new program for a certificate in Catholic studies, Craig said.
Enrolment this fall is up 38 per cent over last year, he noted in his remarks prior to the awarding of degrees and certificates.
Recalling one of his former colleagues who told him, "Remember how much good one good teacher can do," Craig prayed that the graduates may be a force for good in the lives of the people they are sent to serve.
Winning the Joseph N. MacNeil Outstanding Achievement Award was Patricia Holt of Leduc, who completed her master of theological studies degree.