“And the last graduate of Quigley…Daniel Zaparaniuk.”
Graduation was quite the unique experience. For one, I was on the other side of things. But most importantly, it was the last graduation of Quigley Seminary. There was tension preluding to graduation, especially of rumors that something might happen to Francis Cardinal George. Thankfully, nothing of note was done. And yet, nothing of note was done.
Graduation was for the most part quiet and plain. Nothing was too exceptional or out of the ordinary. The homily was just a homily. The valedictory speech, was just another speech. Credit goes where it is due, but for some reason I was expecting more. Expecting something great. Something to remember Quigley Seminary.
I was slightly disappointed. However, in the midst of my disappointment, something else happened. As plain as the ceremony was, some extraordinary things took place. When mass was completed and the graduation part of the ceremony began, the sky started to pour. Not just a tear, but a heavy shower. The chapel, lite from inside, echoed the dark, pouring rain outside. Was God crying?
The most amazing of a things was when the Salve Regina was sung. Ask any Quigley graduate and he would tell you that he memorized the Salve Regina in the first month. It is sung so frequently that it could be considered the school’s song. When the song began, the two Quigley alums in front and behind me started to cry. Then I looked over by the altar and I saw Fr. Walsh, another alum. Upon seeing his face, I started to tear. For some reason, the Salve Regina rings through our hearts. Not a single Quigley alum held back during the Salve. We all were crying.
Before me is a priest who found his vocation at Quigley, crying. Behind me is a father who found his vocation at Quigley, crying. And here I am, in between and still unsure, crying also. Two men with different vocations, both serving God in its own way, received their here at Quigley. Here I am now, in between these two amazing men. They both define and exemplify the true meaning of what it is to be a seminarian and a Quigley graduate. I hope I can be like both in time.
Perhaps graduation was more than the ordinary. And so ends a 102 year tradition of Quigley Seminary.