Many Donnelly College students, faculty and staff joined community members and priests from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas for a Convocation Mass.
The festivities began with a welcome from President Monsignor Stuart Swetland in Donnelly's Meeting Room, after which all processed to Cathedral of St. Peter. Monsignor Swetland spoke of the importance of community in fostering excellence in higher education.
"We also believe that education is not an individual, distinct thing; it's done in a community," he said. "While no one can replace the studying that you have to do individually, we know we study best, learn best, grow better when we do so in a community of people who care about each other and who serve one another."
This year, the Mass featured a formal matriculation ceremony that welcomed all new students to the College. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann served as celebrant for the Mass.
"You're here pursuing truth as students," he said. "And I want to personally commend all our students: Thank you for choosing to seek out higher education. You could have chosen an easier path for yourselves; what you could have chosen may not be as hard as it will be to succeed in your pursuit of a college degree.... Part of the college experience is not just the knowledge you gain, but also the virtues you gain as well."
Per tradition, attendees enjoyed a free picnic lunch after returning to campus.
View photos from the celebration on Donnelly's Facebook page.