Religious Studies spanision honors Supreme Knight Carl Anderson

By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood is much more than a place of formation for future priests. Through its Religious Studies spanision it has a multitude of programs for the laity, either for their personal faith formation or professional needs.

On May 25 Cardinal Justin Rigali presided at a graduation ceremony which saw 14 lay men and women receive Master’s of Arts degrees in theology. Three other graduates received the Roman Catechetical Diploma and two received the MAAC Certificate in African-American Studies. {{more}}

“I’m very proud of all of our graduates. They worked really hard. The program is very challenging and they were up to the task,” said Carmina Chapp, academic dean of the Religious Studies spanision. “It is edifying to see them doing this for the faith and the Church and their enthusiasm to go out now and serve.”

The graduate degree program, which is taught by the same faculty that teaches the seminarians, is presented mostly at the seminary through evening and summer classes. The program can be completed in as little as a year and a half, but more typically it is spread over several years depending upon the time the inspanidual candidate is able to commit.

Although most candidates are lay, this year’s graduating class included one permanent deacon and one religious sister.

Requirements for the degree consist of 12 three-credit courses; students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average and pass written and oral examinations.

There are foundational courses in Sacred Scripture, Systematic Theology and Moral Theology, as well as required courses in Theology of Christ, Theology of Grace, Theology of the Church, Theology of the Sacraments and Synoptic Gospels. Four electives may be taken from a variety of other courses offered.

Three years ago Steve Bujno, a member of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish in Ephrata, Lancaster County, was running a pottery business but decided it was time to change careers. Now he teaches theology at Holy Name High School in Reading. He pursued the graduate degree “because I wanted to validate the learning I did on my own,” he said. “You can’t get a finer program for academics and orthodoxy. It’s hard to beat St. Charles.”

Marie Joseph of St. Ignatius Parish in Yardley, with a background in marketing, was most recently an elementary school teacher and is now looking for a new position.

“I had a re-conversion back to the Catholic faith about 11 years ago,” she said. “This program gave me everything I needed to know about the faith in a practical way and to be able to pass it along to others. The professors, the knowledge they have is excellent. St. Charles is holy ground and the Religious Studies Program is such a secret.”

This year’s graduates included Stephen Bujno, Deacon Thomas M. Croke, Christopher Dixon, Marleen Duley, Laura Gallagher, Kathryn Anne Winterle Illo, Mary Ellen Johns, Marie Joseph, Susan D. Kaczmarek, Anne Marie McNesby, Donald William O’Neill, Sharon Pauline Otto, Sister Mary Esther Potts, O.P., and Kathleen Theresa Sheridan.

Also receiving an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters at the ceremony was Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Connecticut-based Knights of Columbus.

Among the clergy present for the ceremony was Msgr. Arthur Rodgers, the founding dean of the program in 1969.

For more information on programs offered by St. Charles Borromeo Seminary’s Religious Studies spanision see

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.