SANTA PAULA, CALIF.-On Monday, August 24, 2009, the Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, Archbishop of Vancouver, British Columbia, will preside over convocation ceremonies at Thomas Aquinas College. The school expects 102 freshmen to matriculate at that time.
The day will begin with the first ever opening Mass of the Holy Spirit in the recently dedicated Chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. Archbishop Miller will be the principal celebrant and homilist. Matriculation will follow in the St. Joseph Commons, with faculty and members of the college's governing board processing in academic regalia. During the ceremony, President Peter L. DeLuca and Archbishop Miller will welcome the freshmen and address the entire student body, after which new students will have the opportunity to greet the president and the visiting prelate. They will then formally enroll at the college by signing the school's registry.
Also during the ceremony, Dr. Michael Augros, a former member of the teaching faculty who is returning this year to the college, will make a Profession of Faith and take the Oath of Fidelity. The practice is in keeping with Pope Benedict XVI's desire that Catholic teachers make a public statement of their intention to maintain fidelity to the Roman Catholic Church's teachings.
Says President DeLuca, "We very much look forward to welcoming Archbishop Miller to our campus to celebrate with us the opening of the 2009-2010 academic year. It is a great honor to have as our guest a man who has served in Rome as Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education. Given his academic background as a professor of Theology and as president of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, I expect him to feel very much at home here at Thomas Aquinas College."
About Archbishop Miller:
The Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, CSB, was born in Ottawa, Canada, on July 9, 1946. After attending Catholic schools there, he went to the University of Toronto for a year before entering the novitiate of the Basilian Fathers, making his first profession on September 12, 1966. Ten years later, on June 29, 1975, Pope Paul VI ordained him a priest, and on November 23, 2003 Pope John Paul II appointed him Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education and Vice President of the Pontifical Work of Priestly Vocations. His episcopal ordination took place in St. Peter's Basilica on January 12, 2004. On June 1, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Coadjutor Archbishop of Vancouver, and on January 2, 2009 Archbishop Miller assumed full pastoral responsibility for the See. He is a member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, a consultor to the Congregation for Bishops and chair of the Commission on Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Archbishop Miller's original field of academic interest was Latin American Studies in which he earned his B.A. (1969) at the University of Toronto and his M.A. (1970) at the University of Wisconsin. After teaching high school for a year, he completed his Master of Divinity (1974) at the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto, and then spent from 1974-1979 in Rome, where he completed his licentiate and doctorate in Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In 1979 Archbishop Miller joined the faculty of the Department of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, and, subsequently served as its Chair and as Dean of the School of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary. In 1990, he was named the University's Vice President for Academic Affairs. From 1992 to 1997 Archbishop Miller worked in the English-language section of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See and on July 1, 1997 he became the seventh president of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, a position which he held until January 2004.
A member of the Knights of Columbus and the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, Archbishop Miller is a specialist on the papacy and modern papal teaching and has published seven books and more than 150 articles, both scholarly, and popular. His books include The Shepherd and the Rock: Origins, Development, and Mission of the Papacy (1995) and the Encyclicals of John Paul II (2nd ed., 2001).