ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Three members of the Class of 2010 were recognized for their post-Commencement volunteer service plans during St. Bonaventure University’s Baccalaureate Mass at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15, in the Reilly Center Arena.
“In the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, each of us is called to do something beautiful for God. We are delighted that Liz, Keelan and Molly have chosen to respond at this time in their lives with such beauty and generosity,” said Robert M. Donius, vice president for University Ministries.
Beginning in August, senior Elizabeth D’Onofrio will join the community of lay volunteers at Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries in Garrison, N.Y. D’Onofrio, a theology major from Montrose, N.Y., will be living and working in community with other volunteers until July of 2011.
“I will be participating in day-to-day middle school and high school retreats for Catholic youth, as well as special encounter retreats and outreach service programs, both locally and nationally,” said D’Onofrio. “I will also help fundraise for special events for families and teens as well as help to run a local parish youth group.”
Senior Keelan O’Connell plans to leave the U.S. in September for a year of service in Venilale, East Timor, through the VIDES + USA Organization.
“While there, I will have the opportunity to volunteer in a walk in-clinic where I will shadow physicians and get hands-on medical training and experience. I will also be working in the clinic laboratory testing for malaria and tuberculosis. Weekday mornings I will teach English at a local professional school,” explained O’Connell, who is a biology major and Spanish minor from Abilene, Texas.
Through VIDES, O’Connell hopes to grow spiritually through her service and interactions with others.
“I am committed to developing my faith and sincerely want to deepen my relationship with Christ. My previous volunteer work has helped me to see that every person has value, regardless of age, race, gender or denomination. Each has stories to tell and valuable insight to share if we would just take the time to listen. I am very intrigued and fascinated by other people’s way of life and am always striving to learn more about their experiences and unique outlook and perspectives on the world. Therefore I approach everyone I meet with enthusiasm and anticipation that they can teach me something and broaden my horizons,” said O’Connell.
“I am thoroughly looking forward to beginning this new ‘good journey’ after graduating from SBU,” she added.
Graduate student Molly K. Peterson of Warren, Mich., learned just this week she has been accepted into the Peace Corps. She leaves Sept. 1 for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Palau, where her assignment is as an English as a Second Language teacher and community development worker.
“I see the Peace Corps opportunity as a continuation of the ‘good journey’ that I started in the fall of 2005 at St. Bonaventure,” said Peterson. “The Peace Corps is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. While I am nervous about going to an unknown destination, I know that I can do it because of the skills that I learned at Bona’s and the encouragement of my family, friends, and the education professors here. I hope to share a little of the Franciscan values and the culture of Bona’s with all of the people I meet.”
Peterson is earning a master’s degree in childhood literacy. She received her undergraduate degree in elementary/special education from St. Bonaventure in 2009.
During Baccalaureate Mass, senior class treasurer Kacey L. Bidnick gave the welcome and Fr. Daniel Riley, O.F.M., ’64, Guardian of Holy Peace Friary at Mt. Irenaeus was the presider. The homilist was Fr. Harry Monaco, O.F.M., ’85, ’09, an adjunct faculty member in Clare College.
The candle bearers were Theresa M. Dwyer, ’10, senior class vice president, and Emma M. Riley, ’10, senior class president; the cross bearer was Thomas F. McCarthy, ’10.
The readings were given by Eileen Horgan, ’10, and Elizabeth D’Onofrio, ’10. General intercessions were led by Kristin C. Marsicovetere, ’10, and David A. Pearson, ’10. The gifts were presented by Shannon M. Holfoth, ’10, Daniel F. McCarthy, ’10, Diego I. Valdenegro, ’10, and Gina M. Oldani, ’09, ’10. Senior class secretary Katelyn M. Ormsbee, ’10, presented the senior class gift.
Music for the Mass was provided by the St. Bonaventure Music Ministry team.
About the University: St. Bonaventure is in the top 15 percent of institutions in U.S.News & World Report’s 2010 ranking of Northern universities that offer master’s degrees. It has a history of accomplishment and service that extends back 150 years. At the heart of St. Bonaventure University is the Franciscan affirmation of the dignity and worth of the entire created order. Fundamental to this vision is an awareness that it is within relationships and community that individuals discover and develop their potential.