For the past six years, my son Cody has been studying at Mt. Angel Seminary. Two weeks ago, he finally reached the end of a very long road. It was graduation day!
|The lovely grounds at Mt Angel Seminary
It seemed like only yesterday I was helping him move into the seminary's dorms (as a matter of fact I blogged about it). Back then, the spring of 2016 loomed far in the distant future.
|Peach colored roses
But time has a way of zipping by. Six years passed in a furious flash, and all of a sudden Cody's term at Mt. Angel was nearing its end. Receiving his graduation announcement in the mail, it began to sink in. My son was done with his schooling!
|More gorgeous blooms
The day before commencement, Mt. Angel held a special mass for all the graduates. Since it happened to coincide with my Friday off, I spent the morning photographing waterfalls at nearby Silver Falls State Park before heading to the seminary. Arriving with plenty of time to spare, I busied myself capturing images of their lovely rose garden.
|The Abbey church
It was a gorgeous (but warm!) blue sky spring day. Perfect for photographing the immaculately landscaped seminary grounds and the beautiful Abbey Church.
However the next day dawned cloudy and rainy. A complete turnaround from the previous day's lovely weather! Although not ideal conditions for a spring graduation, at least temperatures would be more comfortable.
|Lovely purple rhodies
And I enjoyed the even lighting of the overcast skies to capture a few more shots of Mt. Angel's gorgeous rhododendrons, in full, colorful bloom.
Then my husband, daughter and I took our seats in the beautiful Abbey Church. When the organ began playing "Pomp and Circumstance" I had to blink back a few tears. Then the graduates processed in.
|There's my son!
I had an aisle seat and was able to get a quick, but slightly blurry, shot of my son as he passed by.
|Cody receiving his first degree
Cody received three degrees - a Bachelor's of Theology, Masters of Theology, and Masters of Divinity. Two of the three degrees he graduated with honors (and just missed it on his third one). That meant many trips to the front altar!
|Masters of Divinity recipients
Here's a shot of all the Masters of Divinity recipients. Most of them will be ordained priests in the coming months.
|Cody receiving his second degree
The good thing about Cody having multiple trips to the front, was more opportunities to try for a good photograph. I didn't use a flash, and turned my ISO up high. But due to poor lighting, getting a good image was a challenge. I wished I would've brought a monopod.
|Masters of Theology recipients
Here are all the Masters of Theology recipients. Not as many for this degree!
|My super smart son!
When the ceremony was over, we exited the church to rainy skies. Taking refuge in the dining hall, my family and I enjoyed a wonderful spread while waiting for our graduate to arrive.
Luckily, the rain tapered off long enough for a few family photos outside by the rhodie bushes.
|My daughter playing with her brother's tassel
I'm lucky to have such wonderful kids, who get along well, and love to tease each other. As I was posing them for a photo, my daughter began mischievously playing with her brother's tassel. I couldn't resist capturing the moment.
|Proud mama moment!
Oh yes, it was a huge proud mama moment! My heart swelled with joy on Cody's accomplishments.
However, it was also bittersweet, as I realized my son would now be leaving Oregon and moving back to Montana. He'll be ordained as a priest in late June, and permanently assigned to a Western Montana parish. I'll miss having Cody so close, but I know he is excited for the future, and ready to begin the next chapter of his life.
P.S. I promise in the next post I'll continue with my Southern Oregon Coast trip...this news was just too good to wait! :)