Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Darnell Miller, University of St. Thomas

5/13/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Deacon Albert Vacek never thought that three months after filing for Social Security he would be graduating with a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies. That is exactly what will happen on May 18 when Vacek walks across the stage at Reliant Arena with 350 undergraduates and 793 graduate students.

Deacon Albert Vacek

Deacon Albert Vacek


By Darnell Miller, University of St. Thomas

Catholic Online (

5/13/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in College & University

Keywords: University of St. Thomas, UST, St. Mary's Seminary, Deacon, Albert Vacek, Basilian, Master of Arts of Pastoral Studies, Graduation

Vacek, a lawyer for 42 years and a deacon for 23 years, looked to University of St. Thomas to prepare himself for the next phase in fulfilling his vocation; serving as a hospital chaplain. He needed at least a master's degree and to have taken clinical pastoral education courses through the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System to accomplish this feat.

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies is a professional degree program in the School of Theology, located at St. Mary's Seminary, designed to provide academic formation for pastoral ministry in the Church. The program provides a solid theological foundation as well as the pastoral skills necessary for ministry in a variety of settings.

"I was raised by the Basilians," Vacek said. "I went to St. Thomas High School and took a freshman English class at UST before I went to Tulane University. University of St. Thomas is a great school, the theology is top-notch and the faculty here is second-to-none. There are a lot of reasons to come here."

When he began at UST, Vacek felt some trepidation, thinking he would be an anachronism in his young classmate's lives and would not be accepted. He felt like an alien exploring the world of graduate school for the first time. These hesitations proved to be unfounded.

"Everybody was so nice," Vacek said. "There was a lot of camaraderie and fellowship and I loved it. I got to know them, and I know these folks are going to do great things."
Vacek began his college career at Tulane University in New Orleans, La., 48 years ago. He recalls it as a time when hippies and flower children still roamed the earth and the mantra "Get a career and do something with your life" defined the era.

Throughout his time at UST, Vacek found that our attitudes on motivation have shifted. He said his generation's attitude was a motivation for material success and achievement. He said a good way to keep score was with money.

 "Basically, people were going to school so they could go out and make money," Vacek said. "You get sucked into the secular materialist mindset. Some people were able to deal with it and others were not."

In today's generation, he sees another facet of motivation - making the world a better place for everybody. He sees students fighting a stagnant culture and going against the grain, but knowing their path will not be easy.

 "I wish I had been that engaged when I was first in college," Vacek said. "From what I have seen from my perspective, our community stands a chance to benefit greatly from all the future endeavors of these folks."

Vacek looks forward to making his mark on the world with the current generation. With the wisdom that comes with age and Vacek's appreciation for his peers, his new mantra will be "Carpe Diem."


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More College & University

Religion and Science: The Evolutionary Controversy

Image of

By Kyle Jorstad, Grove City College

Catholic Online welcomes scholarly submissions for consideration, contact Abstract: Though members of the scientific and atheistic community alike often tout science as the downfall of religion, theories regarding Darwinian evolution ... continue reading

Do you love America? What these college professors were caught doing on camera will shock you! Watch

Image of The Constitution codifies many liberties, including the right to shred the Constitution itself.


It should be no surprise that America's colleges and universities are overrun with anti-American liberals who lack all respect for the country and the principles upon which it is founded. In an age where political correctness has run amok, students are indoctrinated by ... continue reading

Catholic Colleges: Tackling Student Loans Ethically


By Caitlin Bootsma

It's almost an assumption in today's world that students will take out a staggering amount of debt to be able to attend a four year university. And, with college costs rising faster than the rate of inflation, 18 year olds are signing themselves up for increasingly ... continue reading

Franciscan nun becomes first woman head of a pontifical university Watch

Image of Sister Melone is an alumnus of the university set up in 1890 in honor of St Anthony, a 13th century saint from Spain known for his forceful preaching and expert knowledge of the Bible.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education made history last week when it nominated a Franciscan nun as the first woman head of a pontifical university. In a position held usually by priests, Sister Mary Melone will become the rector of the Pontifical ... continue reading

University of St. Thomas Graduates First Nursing Cohort in 25 Years

Image of University of St. Thomas Nursing Graduate, Elizabeth Ciocco

By Darnell Miller - University of St. Thomas

This May 27 nursing students, including Elizabeth Ciocco, will be the first nursing students to graduate from the University of St. Thomas in nearly 25 years.  Ciocco joins 298 undergraduates and 739 graduates at the University's 64th Commencement ... continue reading

University of St. Thomas Honors Research Goes 6 Feet Under

Image of Honors Program students consider the issues of death and mortality in the Contemporary Seminar research presented at UST's Research symposium.

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

A few hundred people have undergone cryopreservation procedures since 1962, having their bodies cooled to sub-zero temperatures, with the hope that one day they may be brought back to life using highly advanced technology. It's the kind of issue-along with assisted ... continue reading

What the devil?! Bill Gates wants your college info so he can tell you what classes to take Watch

Image of Bill Gates could do so much more if only he had your privacy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It might be easier to compose a short list of people and agencies that don't want to spy on you. Adding his name to the long list, Bill Gates has proposed tracking the lives and careers of college graduates as an ongoing means to assess college value. Of course, they'd ... continue reading

Two Cardinals, a Theologian and a Historian to Lecture at the University of St. Thomas

Image of N.T. Wright, one of the world's leading Bible scholar.

By Darnell Miller, University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas is fortunate to have four outstanding speakers giving lectures on campus in the month of March. These speakers include N.T. Wright, one of the world's leading Bible scholars; Thomas Cardinal Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto; Dr. Andrew ... continue reading

Women Succeed in UST Engineering, CUA is New Partner

Image of Kendall Niemann is a UST cooperative engineering student studying at the University of Notre Dame.

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

In the male-dominated field of engineering, it can be difficult for women to succeed, but last year, all four graduates of the University of St. Thomas cooperative engineering program were women, and three of them were Hispanic. Dr. Sheila Waggoner said she is proud of ... continue reading

Mardi Gras King, Queen Exemplify UST Mission

Image of University of St. Thomas Mardi Gras King and Queen, C.J. Miller and Meredith Smith.

By Vivian Cabrera - University of St. Thomas

The ideal Mardi Gras king and queen should embody the University's mission to educate leaders of faith and character. With the crowning of C.J. Miller and Meredith Smith The ideal Mardi Gras king and queen should embody the University's mission to educate leaders of ... continue reading

All College & University News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 11:1-10
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:21-24
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 1st, 2015 Image

St. Eligius
December 1: Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 ... Read More