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Vatican Official to Preside Over Commencement Ceremonies At Thomas Aquinas College

Santa Paula, Calif.— His Excellency Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith will preside over commencement ceremonies at Thomas Aquinas College on Saturday May 12, 2007. A member of the Roman Curia as Secretary for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Ranjith 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, Archbishop Ranjith will also be awarded the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion, the college's highest honor, established by its Board of Governors in 1975. The resolution states: "Archbishop Ranjith 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."

A native of Sri Lanka, Archbishop Ranjith has served as auxiliary bishop of Colombo in his homeland, as well as Bishop of Ratnapura, a new diocese established there in 1995. He has also served as Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka and Chairman of its Justice and Peace Commission. He was called to Rome to serve as Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for Evangelization and, in April 2004, was named apostolic nuncio to Indonesia and East Timor. Archbishop Ranjith took up his work as Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in February 2006.

The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, His Eminence Cardinal Francis Arinze, graced the Thomas Aquinas College campus to preside over commencement exercises in 2004. "We have fond memories of Cardinal Arinze's visit," says President Thomas E. Dillon, "and we are most grateful to him for sparing Archbishop Ranjith from the important work of the congregation to perform the same service for us this year. We very much look forward to welcoming His Excellency to our campus on this joyful day. 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."

Thomas Aquinas College expects each of its 74 seniors, who hail from 22 states and three 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.