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Eighty-eight women and men will earn master’s degrees, graduate certificates, and doctoral degrees from Aquinas Institute of Theology on May 12. They are members of the largest class in the school’s 81-year history.

Aquinas Institute is a seminary and graduate school of theology affiliated with Saint Louis University. Its graduates assume careers as campus ministers, hospital chaplains, high school theology teachers, and directors of parishes without resident priests, to name a few. One member of this class soon will be ordained a priest.

Fifteen graduates are executives in Catholic health care who share responsibility for maintaining their health systems as ministries; they are the school’s second group of graduates earning a Master of Arts in Health Care Mission.

Twenty-eight others will come from Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kansas. They are recipients of the school’s Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry, a degree designed to accommodate students who work in parishes ro diocesan offices and cannot relocate to study. Faculty travel to the dioceses to teach, and students complete coursework online.

The class also includes recipients of a doctoral degree in preaching, the only Roman Catholic degree of its kind in the United States.

Members in this graduating class were born in places as far away as India, Nicaragua and Togo and as near as the Central West End. Seventy-five graduates are Catholic, and 13 others come from traditions such as Episcopalian, Lutheran or Free Methodist.

Sr. Barbara Reid, Ph.D., will deliver the commencement address. She is a Dominican sister from Grand Rapids, Mich., and a professor of New Testament at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She is author of several books, including The Gospel According to Matthew, and Choosing the Better Part? Women in the Gospel of Luke. Much of her work in biblical scholarship is devoted to making scripture accessible and useful to those who preach.

Aquinas Institute will award honorary doctorate degrees to:

Gloria Lee, executive director of Our Lady’s Inn, a pro-life ministry offering pregnant women temporary housing and services that will help them deliver a healthy baby, find employment and secure housing;

Frederick Danker, Ph.D., an accomplished expert on translating ancient Greek and the only contemporary contributor to a Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament;

Sr. Bernice Coreil, D.C., senior executive advisor to the president for Ascension Health; and

Archbishop Thomas Cajetan Kelly, O.P., bishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., since 1982.

Graduation is 7:30 p.m. May 12 at St. Francis Xavier “College” Church in St. Louis. The school also will honor graduates during a baccalaureate ceremony at 11 a.m. May 12 at College Church.

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