Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

Greg Pfundstein ('05)Greg Pfundstein (’05) continues to wage the difficult battle to protect the unborn in New York. The executive director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic organization in Manhattan, Mr. Pfundstein has issued a strong statement condemning Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s support for the Reproductive Health Act, which would further undercut the state’s minimal restrictions on abortion. “The notion that women need more access to abortion in New York is simply preposterous,” he says.

In support of that contention, Mr. Pfundstein cites extensive — and horrific — data that the Chiaroscuro Foundation has compiled about the rate of abortion in the Big Apple. “The rate of abortion in New York City is nearly twice the national average, with 40 percent of pregnancies ending in abortion in the city,” he notes. “In some zip codes, the abortion ratio approaches 60 percent.”

According to a Chiaroscuro Foundation poll, solid majorities of New Yorkers favor increased restrictions on abortion — as opposed to the more expansive abortion license that Gov. Cuomo proposes. “New Yorkers support sensible restrictions to bring down New York City’s unconscionably high rate of abortion, and Gov. Cuomo promises the exact opposite in the Reproductive Health Act,” says Mr. Pfundstein. “New York certainly needs abortion legislation, but the RHA is not it.”


Sean Fitzpatrick ('02)Writer, illustrator, and educator Sean Fitzpatrick (’02) has reviewed two Christmas-season classics for “The Civilized Reader” feature in Crisis magazine. First is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which, he warns, “is no Hallmark affair to be taken lightly, much less dismissed as tacky and trite”:

A Christmas Carol is a preparation, and the process it initiates is not an easy one. Everyone knows in his or her own way that it is a steep path fraught with difficulty. But, as the ghostly mentors of Scrooge held up a mirror to him rigidly, relentlessly, and sometimes reluctantly, so too must we face our own inward conversions and cleansings, looking to don a garment worthy of the Bridegroom’s coming. Alongside of Scrooge, groveling in the shadows of our own tombstones, all are beckoned to declare themselves not the men they were but for the holy intercourses of the Advent season prompted by this wonderful story. Many hearkening to this call, swear to lead a changed life, an altered life that will honor the spirit of Christmas in their hearts, and try to keep it all the year, living in the past, the present, and the future.

Next, Mr. Fitzpatrick revisits The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter:

The Tailor of Gloucester is a tale that keeps alive the belief that there are ordinary things in the world that can accomplish extraordinary things. With God all things are possible. This is the principal theme of Christmastime, making it a time to faithfully hang our stockings by the fire with care in the hopes that elves will soon be there — because they are there, under the wooden wainscots, (“though there are very few folk that can hear them, or know what it is that they say.”)

Those looking to purchase these works may want to do so by way of the College’s Amazon Gateway. Meanwhile, when the Christmas season is past, be sure to see Mr. Fitzpatrick’s review of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes.


Dr. Sean Kelsey (’92) recently presented a response to a paper by Scottish philosopher Dr. Alasdair MacIntyre titled, “Catholic Instead of What?” Both presentations took place at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture’s 13th Annual Fall Conference, from which video is available below:

An associate professor in the University of Notre Dame’s philosophy department, Dr. Kelsey also serves as its director of graduate studies.


John Winkowitsch (’04) writes that the College “has helped inspire yet another alumnus to enter the seminary.” This fall he began studying for the Diocese of Madison (Wis.) at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. “I’ve never been happier,” he reports, adding, “My first semester has been wonderful, due in no small part to all the prayers of my friends and family.” Above is a vocational video he made for the Diocese this past summer:

Mr. Winkowitsch also presented a “Theology on Tap” in July on the subject, “Friendship: The Key to Eternal Happiness.” Audio of that talk is available below:

 



Br. Peter Miller (’07), Br. Robert Nesbit (’07), and Br. Patrick Carter (’05)

Thanks to all who prayed the novena posted here in behalf of Br. Patrick Carter (’05), Br. Peter Miller (’07), and Br. Robert Nesbit (’07). Those prayers have borne good fruit!

The young Benedictines — three of the 11 Thomas Aquinas College alumni living and praying at Clear Creek Abbey in Hulbert, Okla. — all made their solemn professions on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2012. Several alumni and representatives of the College, including Vice President Peter L. DeLuca and Senior Tutor John Nieto, were on hand for the blessed occasion.

In other good news out of Clear Creek, on October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, two other alumni monks were ordained to the transitional diaconate: Br. Andrew Norton (’06) and Br. Christian Felkner (’01).

Deo gratias!


The family of Loraine (Ivers ’81) Hoonhout invites all to join them in saying the following prayer to Servant of God Frank Duff (founder of the Legion of Mary). Please pray for Mrs. Hoonhout’s healing from cancer, especially and most urgently for the removal of a malignant tumor near her spinal cord.

Servant of God Frank DuffGod our Father,

You inspired Your servant, Frank Duff, with a profound insight into the mystery of Your Church, the Body of Christ, and of the place of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in this mystery.

In his immense desire to share this insight with others and in filial dependence on Mary, he formed her Legion to be a sign of her maternal love for the world and a means of enlisting all her children in the Church's evangelizing work.

We thank you, Father, for the graces conferred on him and for the benefits accruing to the Church from his courageous and shining faith.

With confidence we beg You, that through his intercession You grant the petition we lay before You for the healing of Loraine Hoonhout in her struggle with cancer.

We ask, too, that if it be in accordance with Your will, the holiness of his life may be acknowledged by the Church for the glory of your Name, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.


Joseph Susanka ('99)A film critic, a cultural commentator, and a regular blogger at Patheos.com, Joseph Susanka (’99) recently participated in a bloggers’ roundtable on Relevant Radio with host Sheila Liaugminas. The discussion, which broadly covered current issues of faith, culture, and media, is available in both streaming and downloadable formats.


Michael Van Hecke ('86)Campus Notes, the blog of the Cardinal Newman Society, features an amusing and inspiring profile of Michael Van Hecke (’86). The title of the post: He Fell Off the Surfboard and Into Catholicism.

As the headmaster of Saint Augustine Academy in Ventura, Calif., and president of the Catholic Schools Textbook Project, Mr. Van Hecke has made Catholic education his life’s work. But it was not always so. When he entered Thomas Aquinas College as a freshman, he admits, he had littler interest in studying. “I came out here to learn how to surf and then I planned to transfer out,” he says.

Yet his time on campus was transformative. “I found myself in a truly Christian society, concerned about higher things, and concerned about people and imbued with holy charity,” he says. “People were good. They cared about you.”

That experience prompted in him a yearning to share the fruits of his education with others. “I found happiness,” says Mr. Van Hecke. “And I wanted to bring that to people, too. I want to give that joy to kids.” After graduation, he became a teacher, and not long thereafter, a headmaster.

Earlier this year, the Cardinal Newman Society named Saint Augustine Academy to its 2012-13 Catholic High School Honor Roll, which recognizes “excellence in Catholic identity, academics and civic education at Catholic high schools across the United States.” Saint Augustine is one of just 50 schools nationwide — and one of three headed by Thomas Aquinas College alumni — named to the list.

 


Laudamus Te, inaugural issue coverThe arrival of Advent brings with it the launch of a new Catholic magazine, Laudamus Te, which aims “to bear witness to the sublime beauty of the ancient Latin liturgy, to foster renewed devotion to its merits, and to aid the faithful in entering more deeply into its sacramental mysteries.” The magazine’s publisher and production manager is an alumna of the College, Margot (Foucht ’92) Davidson.

A homeschooling mother of five, Mrs. Davidson owns and operates Hillside Education, a small publishing house that produces educational materials for homeschoolers — and now Laudamus Te. The magazine publishes six times a year corresponding with the liturgical seasons of the 1962 Church calendar. Each issue of Laudamus Te includes that season’s daily Mass readings for the extraordinary form of the Mass, plus explanatory essays and commentaries by various saints and Doctors of the Church, as well as devotional writings by priests, religious, and laity.

Just in time for Advent, the magazine’s first issue is now available, both in print and electronic formats.



Br. Patrick Carter (’05), Br. Robert Nesbit (’07), and Br. Peter Miller (’07)


Rev. Joseph O’Hara (’92), a secular priest who has long felt a pull toward the religious life, has entered Clear Creek Abbey in Hulbert, Okla. Fr. O’Hara is now one of 11 Thomas Aquinas College alumni living and praying within this Benedictine community, including the Order’s subprior, Rev. Mark Bachmann, O.S.B. (’82).

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), three of Fr. O’Hara and Fr. Bachmann’s alumni confreres will be making their solemn professions: Br. Patrick Carter (’05), Br. Peter Miller (’07), and Br. Robert Nesbit (’07). Along with the announcement for the professions, Br. Patrick recently sent Thomas Aquinas College President Michael F. McLean the following note:

“Blessed be God! I pray that all is well with you and with the whole Thomas Aquinas College community. Despite the passage of time, the College does not lose ground in my affections, but rather becomes dearer and dearer to me.…

“It is with profound gratitude for the education and formation we received at Thomas Aquinas College that we give ourselves definitively to the Lord’s service here at Clear Creek. Be assured of our support and prayers both for the general intentions of the college and for your work as president.”

The Brothers ask that we pray the following:

Novena Prayer for Professions:

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy
Holy Trinity, the One God, have mercy on them
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on them
Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God, pray for them

Saint Michael and all your holy Angels, pray for them
Saint John the Baptist, pray for them
Saint Joseph, pray for them
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for them
Saints John, Thomas, and Philip, pray for them
Saint Gregory, pray for them
Saints Augustine and Jerome, pray for them
Saint Patrick, pray for them
Saint Anselm, pray for them
Saint Robert Bellarmine, pray for them
Saint Benedict, our blessed Father, pray for them
Saint Anthony of the Desert, pray for them
Saints Maur and Placid, pray for them
Saint Bernard, pray for them
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for them
Saint John of the Cross, pray for them
Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, pray for them
St. Mary Magdalene, pray for them
Saint Scholastica, pray for them
Saints Getrude and Hildegard, pray for them
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, pray for them
All you holy monks and hermits, pray for them
All you saints of God, intercede for them

Let us pray
O God, who hast made the Immaculate Mother of thy Son to be also our mother, grant, we beseech Thee, that these who are born into the life of perfection through the vows of religion, may, by the nourishment of that same Mother, arrive at the measure of the full age of Christ. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

May God bless the Clear Creek 11!