At a dinner marking the end of the 2014 Summer Tutor Program, the Thomas Aquinas College faculty said goodbye Wednesday night to Head Chaplain Rev. Joseph Illo, who will be departing in July. Tutors, senior administrators, and their spouses met in the campus coffee shop for the celebratory occasion, marking not only the start of summer break for the teaching faculty, but also a last chance for many tutors to bid farewell to this good priest who has served the College faithfully for the last two years.
In keeping with the nature of the event, President Michael F. McLean presented a report on the state of the College. He next took a moment to express, “with some melancholy,” the College’s gratitude to Fr. Illo, who will soon be leaving to establish an oratory in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Recently returned from a month-long trip, during which he gave retreats for the Missionaries of Charity in Brazil and Kenya, and then climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, Fr. Illo thanked the faculty for his time on campus.
“I’ve always admired Thomas Aquinas College from afar, and now thank God for the privilege of knowing it a bit from the inside,” Fr. Illo said. “You’ve all been most kind to me, and I’ve become close and hopefully lifelong friends with many of you. The College is a remarkable phenomenon, and one wonders how it works. In the end, it functions by virtue of love more than anything else: your love of holy wisdom, your love for God, Who has first loved you, and your love for each other. This is truly a Col-ledge, where men and women of good will not only work together, but live, pray and work together by virtue of the mighty bond of fraternal charity. Thank you for your authentic love for me these past two years, and know that I love you.”
Dean Brian T. Kelly, Head Chaplain Rev. Joseph Illo, and President Michael F. McLean at the faculty dinner