By Anne Grycz

On Tuesday evening, August 4, the Institute for Leadership in Ministry’s Class of 2020 gathered with Bishop Oscar Cantú on the lawn at the rear of St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica for their graduation Mass. Due to the coronavirus, their celebration was postponed from early May until this time when small groups are allowed to gather outside.

The Class of 2020 has been together for three years – they began their studies in the Fall of 2017 as individuals from their own parishes; they graduate as proud members of the Diocese of San José. They have been trained and formed in theology, spirituality, and leadership and have developed bonds of friendship with their classmates. They know first-hand the diversity and richness of the entire Diocese and have an appreciation of our role in the universal Church.

In the course of his homily, Bishop Cantú pointed out that graduation marked the end of the first phase of their journey and that the next part is evangelization. The Psalm highlighted the Bishop’s exhortation: “Go out to all the world to tell the Good News; Vayan por todo el mundo y prediquen el Evangelio.”

Two graduates spoke during the ceremony. Tomas Lopez from St. John Vianney parish acknowledged the challenges of Covid-19 and urged those assembled to “be not afraid” and to stay in contact with one another. Although the graduates are from different communities, they are one in faith.

Oscar Godinez from St. Joseph Parish in Mountain View spoke of the friendships the graduates had formed during their three years of study. He reminded them that their respective parish communities had faith in them and that they are now trained and formed to help their communities.

Peter Chong, from Our Lady of Guadalupe, who was a member of the Class of 2020 was remembered. Peter died during his first year in the ILM.

Irma Alarcón de Rangel, Director of the Institute, read the names of the 34 graduates from 21 parishes as well as the eight who couldn’t be present for the ceremony. The event was live-streamed – one can imagine the cheering that erupted in living rooms across the Diocese when each graduate’s name was announced.

The joy of the graduates at their completion of studies resounds throughout the Diocese. The Church of San Jose is blessed in these new leaders who will take their place among us as we move into the future. Thank you, members, of the Institute for Leadership in Ministry Class of 2020. May God bless you and those whom you serve!

See more photos from the ILM Graduation.