CONCEPTION, Mo. – Conception Seminary College celebrated the annual commencement ceremony in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday, May 11, 2019. Twenty seminarians completed the requirements to earn undergraduate degrees and become alumni.

Conception Seminary’s annual spring commencement ceremonies also celebrated numerous seminarians and their academic achievements as they were honored with scholarships.

Before the graduates received their diplomas, Sr. Maria Armijo, retiring Director of the Language, Culture, Church program, delivered the commencement address.

Seminarians completing their studies at Conception Seminary College usually continue their priestly formation at a theological seminary. Their graduate studies typically continue for another four years before they are ordained priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

Graduates receiving their Bachelor of Arts with diocesan affiliation are:

  • Chas Alexander Canfield, Diocese of Grand Island

  • Luis Manuel Contreras Lopez, Archdiocese of Omaha

  • Cameron John Costello, Diocese of Davenport

  • Mitchell Paul Doerneman, Diocese of Wichita

  • Matthew Damian Dolechek, Diocese of Wichita

  • John Paul Hartnedy, Diocese of Little Rock

  • Aaron M. Hooper, Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph

  • Brian Thomas Hula, Archdiocese of Omaha

  • Mark Nicholas Johns, Diocese of Little Rock

  • Jacob Daniel Mezzacapa, Diocese of Springfield – Cape Girardeau

  • Dược Dominic Hoàng Nguyễn, Diocese of Davenport

  • Joseph Philong Nguyen, Congregation of the Mother of the Redeemer

  • Derek J. Probst, Diocese of Sioux City

  • Upton S. Sewell, Diocese of San Angelo

  • Br. Gabriel Thuan Vu, Congregation of the Mother of the Redeemer

Students who have already completed undergraduate degrees at other institutions and completing the Conception Seminary Pre-Theological Program receive their Bachelor of Philosophical and Theological Studies.

Graduates receiving their Bachelor of Philosophical and Theological Studies with diocesan affiliation are:

  • Ryan Douglas Bax, Diocese of Jefferson City

  • Christopher Andrew Hoffmann, Diocese of Jefferson City

  • Jesse Stephen Ochs, Diocese of Salina

  • Peter Pham Van Khoan, Diocese of Sioux City

  • Daniel T. Stump, Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph

Matthew Dolechek, a graduate of the Diocese of Wichita in Kansas, was selected to represent the senior class with a speech.


Each year, a seminarian is nominated by students, faculty, and staff to receive the Alan Brown Distinguished Service Award for service to the community during their time at Conception Seminary College. Chas Canfield, a graduate of the Diocese of Grand Island in Nebraska, received this year’s award.

Graduation celebrations continued with a banquet for the graduates and their families and concluded with a Mass of Thanksgiving Sunday morning, ending the 2018-2019 academic year at Conception Seminary College.

To see more photos from the commencement ceremony, check out the Conception Seminary College Facebook page.

Watch the recorded ceremony here.

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