St. Joseph’s University, New York’s Campus Ministry at the Long Island Campus hosted its annual Baccalaureate Prayer Service on Thursday, April 28, honoring the Class of 2022.
“Baccalaureate Prayer Service is a special opportunity to reflect, pray and pause,” said Cristian Murphy ’14, director of Campus Ministry at the Long Island Campus. “Our graduates have been through so much to get to this moment, and tonight we join together to prayerfully celebrate.”
Those in attendance also had the chance to hear from faculty and staff, including President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D.; Elizabeth Pollicino-Murphy, Ed.D., executive director of the University’s libraries, who shared history about the University‘s opening over 100 years ago; and Father Francis “Frank” Pizzarelli, S.M.M., DCSW.
“You had a dream of becoming a college graduate,” Dr. Boomgaarden said. “And now you probably have a dream of going out into the world as a professional… and transforming the world around you and making it a better place. St. Joseph, the dreamer, is your patron saint; don’t forget that.
Readers of psalms throughout the evening included S. Suzanne Franck, CSJ, Ph.D., associate professor of Religious Studies; S. Mary Ann Cashin, CSJ, a beloved member of the University community; Thomas Petriano, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Religious Studies department; Eileen White Jahn, Ph.D., executive dean at the Long Island Campus; and members of the Office of Student Involvement, Leadership and Intercultural Engagement.
Watch this year’s full Baccalaureate Prayer Service here.
Class of 2022 Speakers
Alexandra Romanoff, a senior Child Study major with a concentration in Speech, also addressed the audience.
“It is hard to put into words what St. Joseph’s College, now St. Joseph’s University, has meant to me over these past four years,” said Romanoff, who held leadership positions in the Student Government Association, the Orientation Team and in the Educators Club. “Coming in to (St. Joseph’s), I tended to be a bit more shy of taking on leadership roles, but I can confidently say that I’m extremely proud of the person and leader I have become today, and it is all thanks to the supportive atmosphere at St. Joseph’s.”
Romanoff thanked her professors for making her feel welcomed right off the bat, with a special shoutout to Dr. Petriano, who helped instill in her these values of leadership and service.
“I hope to be a leader in my future school community and inspire students to become leaders, just like St. Joseph’s has inspired me,” she said. “Although I’m graduating in May, I know St. Joseph’s University will forever be my second home.”
Other Class of 2022 speakers included Psychology major Caleigh Capek, captain of the women’s cross country team; and Biology major Dominique Brutus.
Capek brought the Class of 2022 full circle with her speech, hitting on the theme from their orientation in 2018 of finding one’s true north.
“The common denominator is recognizing that the fulfillment of (finding our true north) begins with you,” she said. “Inquiring inward has facilitated and nurtured a new mentality — one that fortifies an authentic and unapologetic life. It motivates us to reclaim our narrative by acknowledging that we embody the ability to rewrite the plot.
“As the authors of our own stories, we are granted the power to choose without judgment and criticism; we are emancipated from the opinions and point of views of other characters,” Capek continued. “In essence, we are given a platform to convey our innermost thoughts, feelings and viewpoints, with the capability to stand in our power as advocates.”
Brutus touched on the importance of one of the University’s five pillars: service.
“There was one thing (during my time at St. Joseph’s) that I was passionate about, and that was service,” Brutus said. “I love serving people in the community, and I would often participate in service opportunities with Campus Ministry. At this time, I currently feel called to do missionary work. God has shown me that we’re not just in this life for a career, but for a life.”