With the end of the academic year fast approaching, the College community took time this past weekend to bid farewell to two of its beloved members who will not be returning in the fall — Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P., and Dr. John Finley. (See slideshow.)
A chaplain at the College since 2006, Fr. Paul has been a profound influence on campus, highly regarded for his reverent liturgies, his wise spiritual counsel, and his thoughtful homilies. Having served as a parish priest before coming to the College, he admits that he was initially uneasy about taking on the challenge of campus ministry, but he quickly came to love his work with the students. It is with a heavy heart that Fr. Paul will leave Thomas Aquinas College this summer, but ever-faithful to his religious vows, he looks forward to his new assignment at the Dominican Order’s Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage, Alaska.
The same year that Fr. Paul came to campus, the College welcomed John Finley as a new tutor. For Dr. Finley, who did his graduate work at the University of Dallas, his appointment to the faculty was a homecoming in many respects. His parents are graduates of the College; his late father also served on the teaching faculty; and he is himself a member of the Class of 1999. Given his lifelong love of the College, Dr. Finley acknowledges that it is not easy for him to depart, but he is drawn by the opportunity to serve Christ and His church in the formation of holy priests. Next fall Dr. Finley will become a professor of philosophy at the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. He, his wife Hilary, and their young son, Abraham, will be greatly missed.
Students, colleagues, and friends toasted Fr. Paul and Dr. Finley at a bittersweet, campus-wide barbeque on Sunday evening. Amid sorrow about their departures, there was also much gratitude for the role both men have played in the life of the College, as well as excitement about what God has in store for them in the years ahead.
Posted: May 2, 2012