Sunday, May 13, 2012


Yesterday, after 6 years as a doctoral student and 3 years working on his dissertation, James graduated! It was a lovely day, albeit a long one, but the girls were very good and it was well worth the wait.

 James managed to score us some reserved seat tickets. Since James had gotten his Licentiate from CUA, he was already an alumnus, so we got to sit right behind the graduates. It was a bit tricky keeping 4 little girls happy for, oh, about 5 hours. They went through every Special K bar, apple bar and strawberry bar I had brought and a few sticks of string cheese too. We used the iPod and my iPhone until their batteries were almost dead. But, despite being bored, the long hours, the heat when the sun beat down with no breeze and the limited access to water or bathrooms, the girls were very good.

 Singing the National Anthem. The left red cape is Cardinal Dolan, the gold is the President of the University and the right red cape is Cardinal Wuerl.

Teresa got nervous when the music got loud and climbed into my lap every time, but she got especially into clapping for Cardinal Dolan. So cute. That's my girl.

Cardinal Dolan was his usual cheerful, playful, fun, witty self. It was such a pleasure to see him.

He was awarded the highest honor at the school - the President's Medal - for extraordinary service to the church, the nation and CUA.

Cardinal Dolan, I am very happy to say, gave the Commencement Speech. "'Greater love than this no one has, than to give one’s life for one’s friends.' There’s the Law of the Gift as defined by the Son of God Himself. 
“It is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” There’s the Law of the Gift as chanted by St. Francis.
 "I know Jesus Christ, who sacrificed His life for others. I understand well the meaning of the cross. I am ready to give up my life for my people." There's the Law of the Giftas stated by Shabaz Bhatti, a Catholic who served as federal minister for religious minorities in Pakistan.
“For we are at our best, we are most fully alive and human, when we give away freely and sacrificially our very selves in love for another.” There’s the Law of the Giftas described by Blessed John Paul II.

So, I conclude that all of you, at this university where every classroom features the most effective audio-visual aid of them all, the crucifix; and where the entire campus is overshadowed by the dome of the shrine devoted to the Jewish woman who whispered, “Be it done unto me according to your will, not mine,” that I’m looking out at graduates who have majored in this Law of the Gift.

Now, one final thing: You all had a head-start in learning the Law of the Gift and the importance of faith to sustain it.
For, see, the Law of the Gift is most poetically exemplified in the lifelong, life-giving, faithful, intimate union of a man and woman in marriage, which then leads to the procreation of new life in babies, so that husband and wife, now father and mother, spend their lives sacrificially loving and giving to those children. That union — that sacred rhythm of man/woman/husband/wife/baby/mother/father — is so essential to the order of the common good that its very definition is ingrained into our interior dictionary, that its protection and flourishing is the aim of enlightened culture.
You can read his entire speech here

They called all those receiving a doctorate up onto the stage. All the black you see behind the flags, are doctoral students. James is on the far left, mostly blocked by a flag. Cecilia's and Felicity's godfather is up there too - upper centerish. 

The acting dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies Fr. Mark, James receiving his diploma, and his mentor, Dr. Mattison.

James and his very proud wife. :) 

The baby Doctor of Sacred Theology (hence the red on the hood) below a statue of the Blessed Mother and Baby Jesus. (We had a hard time keeping Elizabeth out of some pictures. lol)

Dr. Mattison and James. 


  1. Congrats to him and the whole family! What an accomplishment for you all!

  2. Did you have a pen and paper to take notes on the speech??? LoL. What a fantastic experience! Congrats to the husband!!! No wonder you're such a proud wife!

    And the pictures of the girls... ha ha - adorable as always. What a fun, exciting day!!!

  3. Having done this with a family, I know the hard work involved for ALL of you!! Congrats! I'm so proud of you all!!