Faith in Action Blog
Marianna Bartholomew has published an article with the Catholic News Agency about a sign of springtime in the Church — the return of hand-stitched altar linens at Blessed Sacrament Church in Lincoln, Neb. The linens are the handiwork of faithful parishioners in a newly established “Order of Martha,” an organization which boasted as many as 6,000 members in the 1960s, but by 2005 had dwindled to only five known groups nationwide. At the heart of this story is the priest who recognized two needs — one material, one spiritual — and by bringing them together inspired a group of committed laywomen who make beautiful vestments and altar cloths to be used in the Mass.
That priest is Rev. Brendan Kelly (’85), the pastor of St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Bee, Neb., and a teacher at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Lincoln.
The story begins in 2008 when Fr. Kelly, who was then assigned to Blessed Sacrament, discovered that the girls in his church took a keen interest in its tattered and aging altar linens. Remembering his grandmother’s participation in the Order of Martha, and mindful of the great joy its members took in offering themselves at the altar in this way, Fr. Kelly established a new chapter. The chapter has since sewn linens for Blessed Sacrament as well as for the College’s Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel.
This new Order of Martha has also borne great spiritual fruit — which you can read all about in Mrs. Bartholomew’s wonderful story.
By God’s grace there are now 58 priests among the alumni of Thomas Aquinas College!
Rev. Joseph Bolin (’01)
On June 15, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, His Eminence Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, laid hands on Rev. Joseph Bolin (’01), ordaining him to the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ. “In high school I studied mathematics and computer science and received several awards and fellowships for further study in these areas,” reflects Fr. Bolin on an Austrian website (see electronic translation). “But I decided instead to go to Thomas Aquinas College in California, so as to become well-equipped for life — no matter what profession I should choose — by studying the liberal arts and philosophy.” It was during his time on campus, Fr. Bolin adds, that “I heard the call to follow Christ in a special priestly ministry.”
Numerous photos of the ordination, which took place in Vienna’s Cathedral of St. Stephan, are available online. Thomas Aquinas College President Michael F. McLean attended the ordination, where he saw several alumni, including Ginger Mortensen (’96), director of development for the International Theological Institute in Trumau.
Rev. Francis Marotti (’07)
Eight days later, on June 23, His Excellency Paul J. Bradley, Bishop of Kalamazoo (Mich.), ordained Rev. Francis Marotti (’07) at St. Augustine Cathedral. The chairman of the College’s Board of Governors, R. James Wensley, was there to witness the ordination, joined by Vice president for Development Paul J. O’Reilly and tutor Brian Dragoo. A recent graduate of the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Fr. Marotti twice had the honor of chanting the Gospel at papal Masses while he was still a deacon. He now will serve as a diocesan priest in his hometown of Kalamazoo.
Rev. Maximilian Okapal, O.Praem. (’02)
That same day, some 4,500 miles away, the Most Rev. Cirilo B. Flores, Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego (center), conferred the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon Rev. Maximilian Okapal, O.Praem. (’02, right) at Mission Basilica in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. His Excellency also ordained one of Fr. Okapal’s fellow alumni Nortbertines, Frater Nathaniel Drogin, O. Praem. (’01, left), to the transitional diaconate. College Governor Andrew Zepeda was in attendance, as were three members of the faculty: Director of Admissions Jon Daly and tutors David Arias and Tom Kaiser. The following morning Fr. Okapal offered his first Mass at St. Michael’s Abbey Church in Orange, Calif., with Deacon Drogin assisting.
Rosie Grim (’10) reports via Facebook that she is applying to participate in several clinical trials for an anti-cancer drug that is not yet on the market. She may also require another surgery on the tumor in her neck. Still, she says, “I’m feeling fabulous and have started jogging.”
On Wednesday she left with her father and brother for a pilgrimage to Lourdes, England (where she will visit sites related to Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman), and Cascia (home of her beloved patroness, St. Rita). Please keep their intentions your prayers.
In addition to their prayers to Bl. John Henry, the Grimms have also invited friends to join them in the following devotion to St. Rita:
+Dear Rita, model wife and widow, you yourself suffered in a long illness showing patience out of love for God. Teach us to pray as you did. Many invoke you for help, full of confidence in your intercession. Deign to come now to our aid for the relief and cure of Rosie. To God all things are possible; may this healing give glory to the Lord. Amen.
+Oh ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfortess of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with mercy. When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. My loving Mother, obtain my request. I will try to imitate your virtues so that I may one day share your company and bless you in eternity. Amen.
Sr. Mary Andre, O. Praem (’11) and Sr. Mary Thomas, O. Praem (’09)
On June 6, the Feast of St. Norbert, two alumnae of Thomas Aquinas College took their religious names and were vested in the habit of the Norbertine Canonesses at the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph in Tehachapi, Calif. Thus, by God’s grace, Alison Bright (’09) is now Sr. Mary Thomas, O. Praem. (after the College’s patron, St. Thomas Aquinas!), and Annie Huguelet (’11) is now Sr. Mary Andre, O. Praem (after St. Andre Bessette).
Director of Alumni Relations Mark Kretschmer notified alumni last night that after a week-long search for John Morris (’03), a freshman at the College in 1999-2000, authorities had discovered his body.
Mark asked alumni to “pray for the repose of John’s soul and for the comfort and solace of his family and friends during this very difficult time.” He added that “Rev. Hildebrand Garceau (’78), one of the College’s chaplains, will say a Mass for John next Thursday, June 14 at 5:20 p.m. in the College’s Chapel. Of course, everyone is welcome to attend.”
May his soul, and those of all the faithfully departed, rest in peace.
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
While many Catholics across the country, including numerous Thomas Aquinas College alumnae, have protested the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate by citing religious freedom, others are also challenging it on a more fundamental level. They are questioning not only the federal government’s power to force Catholic employers to provide contraceptives and abortifacients, but also its stated reasons for doing so. “Is it really,” they ask, “in the best interest of women, marriage and family, society, or the environment to promote the use of oral contraceptives and other such medications?”
No, says Dr. Pia de Solenni, an ethicist, theologian, member of the Thomas Aquinas College Class of 1993, and recipient of the 2001 Pontifical Prize of the Academies. Last Saturday Dr. de Solenni spoke at The Pill Kills 2012, a national symposium held in Washington, D.C., and sponsored by the American Life League and 30 other pro-life groups. Presenting the teachings of the Church, Dr. de Solenni drew on references ranging from popular culture to St. Thomas Aquinas, noting how modern conceptions of love and sexuality are inherently truncated and unfulfilling.
“All of our cultural references, and all of our examples of ‘chick lit’ — from Bridget Jones to Sex and the City to Bridesmaids — they’re all manifesting a deep dissatisfaction, a sense that you have to do things this way because that’s the way it’s done. And yet they’re all yearning for something more,” said Dr. de Solenni. “When the Church is looking at sexuality, there is a context here, and it is a context shaped by love. Contraception impedes the sexual act between spouses because it holds back fertility. It’s not a gift of self.”
Dr. de Solenni’s presentation is available in the above video, and the rest of the symposium can be found on the American Life League’s YouTube Channel.
After 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.
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.
Over the weekend two alumni of Thomas Aquinas College were ordained to the sacred priesthood, bringing to 55 the total number of alumni priests!
First, on Friday, May 25, the Most Rev. J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, ordained Rev. Jerome Augustine Zeiler, O.P. (’00) at St. Dominic Church in Washington. D.C. The following day, the Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, conferred the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon Rev. Fadi Auro (’03) at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
Fr. Zeiler is the fifth alumnus of the College to become a Dominican priest. After graduating from the College in 2000, he pursued graduate studies at the University of Dallas, then entered the Order of Preachers in August, 2005. He earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and a Master of Divinity at the Dominican House of Studies and a Licentiate in Philosophy at the Catholic University of America. His first priestly assignment will be as a parochial vicar at St. Gertrude Parish in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Born in the United Arab Emirates, Fr. Auro is the child of Iraqi Chaldean Christians who moved to the United States at the start of the first Persian Gulf War in 1991. While studying at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Fr. Auro first met Raymond Cardinal Burke, then the Archbishop of St. Louis, who invited him to become a seminarian in the archdiocese. Fluent in several languages, Fr. Auro is a “bi-ritual priest,” able to offer the Mass in both Eastern and the Latin Rites.
Fr. Zeiler and Fr. Auro are the first of five alumni who are set to be ordained to the priesthood this summer. The others are: Rev. Mr. Joseph Bolin, Class of 2001 (Diocese of Vienna, June 15); Rev. Mr. Francis Marotti, Class of 2007 (Diocese of Kalamazoo, June 23); and Frater Maximilian Okapal, O.Praem., Class of 2002 (Norbertines, June 23).