SANTA PAULA, Calif. - His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet will preside over commencement ceremonies at Thomas Aquinas College on Saturday May 16, 2009. The Archbishop of Quebec, Canada, Cardinal Ouellet will serve as principal celebrant and homilist of the Baccalaureate Mass, and he will deliver the commencement address.
By resolution of Thomas Aquinas College's Board of Governors, Cardinal Ouellet will also be awarded the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion, the college's highest honor, established by its Board of Governors in 1975. The resolution is given in recognition that "His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet has shown an exemplary loyalty and devotion to the Holy Father and the magisterium of the Church and has worked tirelessly to proclaim, support, and defend the teachings of the Church, and to advance the mission of Christ on earth."
The college has a newly appointed interim president following the tragic death of Dr. Thomas E. Dillon in an automobile accident in Ireland last month. Says President Peter DeLuca, "We very much look forward to welcoming His Eminence Cardinal Ouellet to our campus for this joyful occasion. Our graduating seniors, their families, and all our guests will be blessed by his priestly presence and edified by the words of wisdom he will share with us. We will also be greatly honored to have His Eminence offer, on the morning of commencement, what will be the first Baccalaureate Mass on the new altar of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel." The Chapel was dedicated by the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, on March 7, 2009.
Thomas Aquinas College expects each of its 71 seniors, who hail from 22 states and three foreign countries, to receive a bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts this year. The Baccalaureate Mass will begin at 9:00 a.m., and will be followed by commencement exercises at 11:00 a.m.
ABOUT CARDINAL OUELLET: His Eminence Cardinal Marc Ouellet holds a bachelor of arts in education from Université Laval, a licence in theology from the Université de Montréal, a licence in philosophy at St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University, and a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Gregorian University. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1968, and in 2001 His Holiness Pope John Paul II ordained him a bishop and appointed him secretary to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
Cardinal Ouellet has served as consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and to the Congregation for the Clergy. He is currently consultor to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, a member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, and an advisor to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He is also a member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, the Congregation for Catholic Education, and the Pontifical Council of Cardinals for the study of the organizational and economic affairs of the Holy See.
Cardinal Ouellet was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Quebec in 2002, and Pope John Paul II elevated him to the Sacred College of Cardinals in 2003. In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as General Relator to the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the word of God in the life and mission of the Church.