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Divine Mercy University President Says Graduates of Spiritual Direction and Mental Health Programs Are “An Answer to Prayer”

STERLING, VA — Divine Mercy University (DMU) hosted its annual graduation events on May 13-14, 2022. The annual President’s Reception was held at DMU’s campus on Friday, May 13th; followed by the Mass and Commencement Ceremony at St. Thomas More Cathedral (Arlington, Virginia) on Saturday, May 14th.

Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph L. Coffey, an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA.

The ceremony honored 142 graduates from the online/hybrid Spiritual Direction Certificate (28 graduates), online Master’s in Psychology (34 graduates), online/hybrid Master’s in Counseling (54 graduates), on-campus Master’s in Clinical Psychology (12 graduates) and Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (14 graduates).

“Congratulations to all of our graduates,” said Fr. Charles Sikorsky, LC, JD, JCL, president of Divine Mercy University, “you join an esteemed lineage of alumni. Today we celebrate your individual gifts, your fortitude, your faith, and your desire to serve others.”

He continued: “As St. John Paul II once said to members of the American Psychiatric Association, ‘By its very nature, your work often brings you to the threshold of the human mystery. It involves a sensitivity to the often tangled workings of the human mind and heart, and an openness to the ultimate concerns which give meaning to people’s lives. These are areas of utmost importance to the Church.’”

“Each one of you is an answer to many prayers,” said Fr. Sikorsky. “In a world in need of hope, in a world in need of healthy relationships, in a world in need of healing and unity, and in a world in need of truly human and Godly values, each one of you is an answer to prayer.”

Following the president’s address, the commencement speaker Rev. David Songy, O.F.M.Cap., S.T.D., Psy.D., President and CEO of the Saint Luke Institute, provided words of encouragement through a biblical reference: St. Matthew’s parable of the weeds among the wheat.

“Why am I talking about weeds and wheat?” he asked hypothetically, “Because when Jesus explains this parable to the Apostles, he talks about the angels coming.”

“It’s important to see, especially in this role of counseling and psychology, how you’re called to be an angel because many times people will come to me and say ‘What should I do?’ And they want a quick answer. But my response has become – overtime – listen to the angels. In other words, listen to those who announce the Good News of Jesus Christ. Listen to people who know the difference between the weeds and wheat.”

Rev. Songy, who is also a psychologist with extensive experience working with clergy and religious, went on to say that the graduates are angels that are being sent into their vocation with honorable tutelage from DMU professors.

“Christ enables us to enter the suffering of another to see the cross and the resurrection alive in that person,” he said in reference to spiritual directees and mental health patients. “We don’t take away their suffering … We transform the suffering of people so that no matter what the cross, they see the resurrection. They see the cross and the resurrection alive in us.”

Following Rev. Songy’s message, a host of awards were presented to alumni, faculty, staff and students; including an absentia diploma to the wife (now widow) of former Master’s in Psychology student John Keller who passed away before finishing his studies.

Despite the loss of a peer, the ceremony was filled with smiles and cheer; living out the message shared by the university’s president: “In a world, where people are desperately searching for meaning and existential clarity, few career paths provide the potential for good than the one you’ve chosen.”

To experience a virtual recap of the weekend events, watch the full recording of the Mass and Commencement Ceremony or view our photo gallery. For additional information, contact a representative at communications@divinemercy.edu.

Divine Mercy University (DMU) is a Catholic graduate institution of higher education offering degree programs in psychology and counseling, founded in 1999 as the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. The university is dedicated to the scientific study of psychology with a Catholic understanding of the human person, marriage, and the family. The university offers Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in Psychology and Counseling, and a Doctoral (Psy.D.) degree in Clinical Psychology.

Divine Mercy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award masters and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Divine Mercy University.

The IPS doctoral program in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA). *Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation: Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation American Psychological Association 750 1st Street NE, Washington, DC 20002 Phone (202)-336-5979 / Email: apaaccred@apa.org / Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

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