Aug. 8, 2015 was a special day for many in the Oklahoma City area, as members of the Newman University pastoral ministry program celebrated the 30th anniversary of the program’s first graduates.
The pastoral ministry baccalaureate program was launched in Oklahoma City in 1983; the first graduating class was in 1985. The program is offered in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Since 1985 the program has produced 112 graduates. In addition, about 150 individuals have received a certificate from the archdiocese for taking courses in the program to prepare themselves for more active roles in their parishes.
About 35 people attended the 30th anniversary celebration, including Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, who celebrated the Eucharist and had lunch with the participants. The event included a brief program that covered some of the history of the program, and greetings from Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D. and theology faculty members, who were unable to attend.
Diane Koorie, RSM, who is in her 15th year as program director, also spoke about current activity. The program now has seven distance education sites participating in the program via interactive television, she said.
The event was held at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Oklahoma City.
“Several people who have gone through the program spoke on how they were blessed or how their lives had been changed as a result of the program,” said Newman Director of Development for Sciences and Health Sciences Therese Wetta, ASC, who attended the celebration with Newman Senior Development Officer David Alexander.
“I thought it was a great event because it truly was a celebration, and folks who have graduated from this program celebrate it with much gratitude to Newman for providing the opportunity not only to grow theologically in preparation for their involvement in the parish, but also how their hearts were touched and how they spiritually grew from this program,” Wetta said.
“Archbishop Coakley and Sister Diane were grateful we did this, and I was grateful, because it’s a reminder of the collaboration between the university and the archdiocese, and is helpful for furthering the Newman mission,” she added.