Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

John Morris ('03)Director of Alumni Relations Mark Kretschmer has sent out this prayer request for John Morris (’03):

“Please pray for the safety of John Morris ('03) who has been reported missing since May 26. He went missing after spending the day with friends at a baseball game in his home town of Durham, North Carolina. He was going to make a quick stop at the grocery store on his way home, but never came home. His roommate and friends say this is ‘completely out of character’ for John and are very worried about him.”

The alumni of Thomas Aquinas College are joining together to say the following novena to St. Anthony of Padua for for John's return:

O wonderful St. Anthony, glorious on account of the fame of your miracles, and through the condescension of Jesus in coming in the form of a little child to rest in your arms, obtain for me of His bounty the grace which I ardently desire from the depths of my heart. For the safe return of John Morris:

You who were so compassionate toward miserable sinners, regard not the unworthiness of those who pray to you, but the glory of God that it may once again be magnified by the granting of the particular request: for the safe return of John Morris, which I now ask for with persevering earnestness. Amen

Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be  in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

Read more

Katie GatesAfter a long struggle with cancer, Mary Kathleen Lear (Katie) Gates — mother of Nora (Bulcher ’04) and mother-in-law of Peter Bulcher (’05) and tutor John Baer — died this past Saturday. A mother of 8 children and the grandmother of 29, Mrs. Gates was a pioneer in homeschooling and a member of several choirs. Her complete obituary is available via the Ventura County Star.

A rosary for Mrs. Gates will be held on Friday, June 8, at 7 p.m. at St. Sebastian Church, 235 N. Ninth Street in Santa Paula, Calif. A funeral will be held on Saturday, June 9, at 10:30 a.m., also at St. Sebastian. Interment will follow at Santa Paula Cemetery.

Please pray for the repose of Mrs. Gates' soul and the consolation of her family.

Rosie Grimm ('10)Please keep praying for Rosie Grimm (’10). The latest report from her family reads:

“We didn't get good news ... the nodules in Rosie’s lungs have grown somewhat. They’ll be meeting next week to discuss the next step. Thanks, as ever, for your prayers ... this is hard news, but we know God has a plan.”
The Grimms asks that friends seek the intercession of Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman, on Rosie’s behalf, through the following prayer:
O God, who bestowed on the Priest Blessed John Henry Newman the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church; graciously grant that, through his intercession and example, we may be led out of shadows and images into the fullness of your truth, and that Rosie be speedily and completely healed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

God our Father,
your servant John Henry Newman
upheld the faith by his teaching and example.

May his loyalty to Christ and the Church,
his love of the Immaculate Mother of God,
and his compassion for the perplexed
give guidance to the Christian people today.

We beg you to grant the favors we ask
through his intercession
so that his holiness may be recognized by all
and the Church may proclaim him a saint.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

William Sockey (’75) and the National Pilgrim Virgin StatueAmong the many Thomas Aquinas College alumni who are actively defending religious freedom in the face of the HHS Mandate is Bill Sockey (’75) — and he is doing it through prayer.

As the Custodian of the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue, blessed by His Holiness Pope Paul VI and given to the United States by the Bishop of Fatima in 1967, Mr. Sockey brings the statue to dioceses across the United States. In this capacity and with the World Apostolate of Fatima (WAF), he has for the last three years promoted a campaign urging Catholics to make reparation for the sins of the country and to pray daily for national peace.

Now, as a consequence of the HHS mandate, a new intention has been added to this prayer — as requested by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — for the preservation of religious freedom. So far over 25,000 new members of WAF have pledged to say this prayer and make this reparation every day.

The prayer is:

“O my God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee and I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love thee.
“O my Jesus, I accept and bear with submission whatever suffering I will encounter today for love of You, for the conversion of sinners and as reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Previously Mr. Sockey served as the vice-president of Catholics United for the Faith and the World Apostolate of Fatima as well as the executive director of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, the Couple to Couple League for Natural Family Planning, and the St. Thomas More Center for Catholic Family Life.

For more information about the World Alliance of Fatima — including arranging a visit of the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue to your diocese, see —

Charles GoodrichOn May 14, 2008, two-year-old Charles Goodrich, son of Kathleen (Ellis ’99) and Glen (’00), was killed when struck by an out-of-control pickup truck whose driver and passengers were under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This Friday the Goodrich family and many of their friends will gather by Charles’ gravesite, as they do every year around the anniversary of his death, to pray — for the three people in that truck.

Mrs. Goodrich explained this tradition in a Facebook posting last year:

“This coming May 14 is the third anniversary of my son Charles’ death. Most of my friends know this, though I suspect that some of you never heard about it, so really quickly, the bare facts are these:

“I was walking to the store pulling my two and a half year old son in a wagon, carrying my four-month-old infant in a baby carrier. At about 2:15 on a Wednesday afternoon, a couple of known gangsters were joyriding through the school zone I was walking through. The man at the wheel, Roberto Villanueva, two weeks out of prison on parole (and unlicensed) was high on cocaine. The owner of the pickup truck, Albert Garcia, was in the passenger seat drinking Jack Daniels from the bottle. Cindy Nunez, a mutual friend, was in the back seat. Horseplay in the front caused the truck to jump the curb, striking Charles’ wagon and killing him pretty much instantly. The driver regained control and sped away.

“Later on, Albert Garcia pleaded guilty (against the advice of his attorney) to various charges, and asked for full sentencing - he was the one most responsible for the accident. He is serving the third year of his 20 year sentence. Roberto Villanueva, a previous offender, negotiated a little more, but did eventually plead guilty to various charges, and was sentenced to seven years. According to his attorney at the time of sentencing, he has reconnected with his Catholic faith while in prison, and has requested Masses to be said for our family on the anniversary. Cindy Nunez, I don’t know about, but her daughter came to Charles’ visitation and abjectly apologized - their family is very broken.

So here is what I want. The anniversary is TAC Graduation Day, and most of you will be busy. So on Friday, May 13, I’ll be at the Santa Paula cemetery with my children, at 3pm, praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for those three poor children of God. When people tell me they are praying for me, I appreciate it very much, and I know that it is the only thing pulling me through. But I am entirely wrapped in love and grace, surrounded by friends and family, supported by strangers and strengthened by the sacraments. These three people are vilified, tormented by guilt, and in probably the last place on earth where they can find comfort. They need your prayers.

“Christ said ‘Today I am sending you with My message of mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to my Merciful Heart.’

“Come to the cemetery and join me in prayer, if you like, or if you can’t be there, pray wherever you are. If you don’t have time for the whole chaplet, pray this prayer: ‘O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus, as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You.’

“I’m not tagging or targeting anyone in this note. I would like as many people to know about it as possible, because I want as many prayers offered for their conversion and peace as possible, but I don’t want to hold myself up as a model of anything at all. Share it with anyone that you think would like to know about it —- share this note on your Facebook profile, send it to your e-mail list, whatever you like. But please pray for this dear intention of mine.”

For those who are interested in joining the Goodriches in their prayers this year, Mrs. Goodrich recently sent out the following invitation:

“Some people have asked me if we are doing anything public to make Charles’ feast day this year. As I did last year, I’ll be going over to the Santa Paula Cemetery on the Friday before (that’s this Friday, May 11) at 3pm to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the needs of the three people who were in the truck that day. Anyone is welcome to join me, in body or in spirit, at that hour or at whatever hour of the day they are able to join in. Feel free to pass this message on to anyone who may be interested.”

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

David Ellis ('83)Update: A funeral will be held at Cross Winds Church, 6444 Sierra Court, Dublin, Calif. at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 14.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of David Ellis (’83) and the consolation of his wife, Carol, and their family. Recently retired from the Alameda (Calif.) Police Department, Officer Ellis died suddenly of a heart attack on Monday. He was the brother of Sabrina Bjornstrom (’79) and Jennifer Tenney (’85).

For most of his 30 years as a policeman, both in Alameda and previously in Oakland, Officer Ellis was assigned to motorcycle units, serving as the lead instructor for the motorcycle training of new traffic officers. Over the years he received numerous awards for his work, including being named Alameda’s Officer of the Year in 2009.

May his soul, and those of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.

rosie Grimm ('10)This good news from Director of Alumni Relations Mark Kretschmer (’99):

Rosie has finished radiation, and is continuing with immunotherapy. She has had no significant side effects and is feeling well and happy. Thanks for all of the prayers, and please keep it up!”

“Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified. He has risen, He is not here; see the place where they laid Him.”

At Pope Benedict XVI’s Easter Vigil Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, the honor of proclaiming the above words belonged to an alumnus of the College, Rev. Mr. Francis Marotti (’07), who chanted the Gospel (Mk. 16:1-7). The proclamation can be found at the 96:30 mark in the video below:

Rev. Mr. Marotti, a transitional deacon from the Diocese of Kalamazoo (Mich.), is currently studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. In January he was honored to chant the Gospel at the papal Mass of the Epiphany.

Please remember to pray for Deacon Marotti who, God willing, will be ordained to the priesthood on June 23.

Michael J. Paietta ('83)On the morning of Tuesday, April 4, friends, family, and many members of the Thomas Aquinas College community gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles for the funeral Mass of longtime tutor and alumnus Michael J. Paietta (’83).

Mr. Paietta died late in the evening of March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, 16 days after entering the hospital with symptoms suggestive of a heart attack. Just prior to his passing, he received the last rites, including absolution and an apostolic blessing, from College chaplain Rev. Hildebrand Garceau, O.Praem (’78).

Fr. Garceau also served as one of the concelebrants at Mr. Paietta’s funeral Mass, joined at the altar by fellow chaplain, Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P, and a former head chaplain, Rev. Michael Perea, O.Praem. The principal celebrant was Monsignor Kevin Kostelnik, pastor of Our Lady of the Angels, where Mr. Paietta’s mother, Kay, is a parishioner.  Following the Mass, Mr. Paietta's remains were interred in the Cathedral's crypt mausoleum, alongside his late father and brother.

Delivering the first eulogy was Daniel Paietta, who recalled his oldest brother’s great love of literature and encyclopedic memory. “Michael was the first Thomas Aquinas College graduate to get a perfect score on the GRE — in English, of course,” he remarked. “When one of the tutors asked him if he really knew all of the vocabulary words, he said, ‘Well, no, I did have to guess on one of them.”

Mr. Paietta’s former Thomas Aquinas College roommate and colleague on the faculty, Dr. Glen Coughlin, offered a second eulogy. “Michael was no scholar interested merely in the opinions and actions of men for their own sakes. His life was a pursuit of truth itself. His soul turned naturally to the nature of things, to the consideration of how we should live, to the highest and the best things, to the infinite good that Dante speaks of,” said Dr. Coughlin. “He was not content to know that someone else knew something or thought something. He wanted to know for himself.”

A Lifelong Scholar
From even his earliest days, Michael Paietta had a zeal for obtaining knowledge and a passion for sharing it with those around him. After serving a number of years in the U.S. Navy and briefly attending the University of California, Los Angeles, he enrolled at Thomas Aquinas College as a 25-year-old freshman in 1979. He graduated from the College in 1983 and went on to the University of Notre Dame, where he did his graduate and doctoral work.

In 1989 Mr. Paietta returned Thomas Aquinas College as a member of the teaching faculty. “Mike was noteworthy for his love of literature, music, and baseball,” observed his colleague of many years, President Michael McLean. “Not only did he love these things, he sought to understand everything about them. Above all, though, he was devoted to understanding the thought of our patron, St. Thomas, and was particularly sure that discussions with our founders, Ron McArthur, Jack Neumayr, and Mark Berquist, would help him in that pursuit.”

Dr. Paul O’Reilly, a longtime fellow tutor and the College’s vice president for development, offered a personal reflection saying, “Mike had a tremendous wit and a remarkable memory. We all wanted him on our trivial pursuit team. And those who had him on their team were on the winning side.” Reflecting on Mr. Paietta’s life, Dean Brian T. Kelly added, “Mike cared deeply about his students and mingled with them frequently in the dining hall. His deep-rooted sense of loyalty was manifest in his abiding love for the Catholic Church, Thomas Aquinas College, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He will be sorely missed.”

This sense of loss, however, was perhaps most poignantly expressed by an anonymous student who shares his late tutor’s love of poetry:

If only Life might slow its hurried pace,
That all the grief might pour like winter rain
From out the soul that weeps with hidden face
And feels the greatest depths of human pain.
I ask not end, but merely wish for pause,
As babes at nighttime cry out for the sun,
To have an end to sorrows without cause,
To weep when death begins and life is done.
I should have known him better than I do,
Though humor, knowledge, wisdom did I see,
And this enlightened, now I see the true,
I know he’s gone and feel but misery.
We’ll miss you, less as tutor than as friend,
We’ll love you, Mike Paietta, to the end.

A memorial Mass for Mr. Paietta will be offered at a later date in the College’s chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. Details will be provided on the Thomas Aquinas College website when they are available. Please keep Mr. Paietta and his family in your prayers.

May his soul and those of all the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Michael J. Paietta ('83)

The funeral Mass for longtime tutor and alumnus Michael J. Paietta (’83) will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 3, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. Mr. Paietta’s mother is a parishioner there, and he will be interred in the mausoleum underneath the Cathedral alongside his father and brother.

Directions and Parking: See the Cathedral’s website for directions. There are garage entrances on both Temple or Hill streets. Although the posted parking fee is $16 per hour, funeral attendees will receive validation for a flat rate of $5 (the rate the Cathedral has contracted with the owners of the garage). A brunch/reception will immediately follow the funeral in one of the Cathedral’s function rooms.

Information about the College’s memorial Mass for Mr. Paietta in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel will be posted when it is available. Please continue to keep Mr. Paietta and his family in your prayers.