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Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

Tom Brittain (’96), a legendary high school football coach in the Phoenix area, is taking the reins at Chandler Prep charter school this fall, and joining him as co-coach will be his son and fellow TAC alumnus Joshua Brittain (’15). The younger Brittain, a star in the College’s intramural program during his student days, previously served as the head coach at nearby Tempe Prep.

“Josh totally supported me throughout my career, coming to games before he could play, playing for me, coaching with me when I coached his four younger brothers,” Tom told the Arizona Republic. “He made the playoffs two years in a row and wanted to be with his dad. Bottom line, he’s been such a loyal, faithful son to put his own career on hold to support his dad that he deserves the credit for any success we have at Chandler Prep. I wanted to co-head coach with him.”

Chandler Prep Athletic Director Shawn Lytle praised the father-son coaching tandem for their commitment to developing “men of virtue and character,” adding the they “will bring and demand passion, discipline and courage.”


Most Rev. Gino Reali performs imposition of the hands on Matthew Maxwell ('08) The Most Rev. Gino Reali, Bishop of Porto-Santa Rufina, ordains Rev. Mr. Matthew Maxwell (‘08) to the transitional diaconate.

We have received the joyful news of another alumnus’ ordination to the transitional diaconate — the fourth of the year!

  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)
  • Deacon Matthew Maxwell Ordination
    Slideshow: The Ordination of Deacon Matthew Maxwell (‘08)

On May 17, the Most Rev. Gino Reali, Bishop of Porto-Santa Rufina (Italy) conferred Holy Orders upon Rev. Mr. Matthew Maxwell (‘08) at St. Phillip Neri Parish, Castel Giuliano, Bracciano in Rome. Deacon Maxwell also took perpetual vows as a member of Miles Christi, an order of priests dedicated to helping the laity grow in holiness through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He is now finishing his theology studies at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in preparation for — God willing — his priestly ordination in 2021!

Please pray for Deacon Maxwell as well as the other alumni who are entering the transitional diaconate this year: David Allen (’10), Michael Masteller (’13), and Ryan Truss (’16).


Sean Fitzpatrick (’02)Sean Fitzpatrick (’02)As the headmaster of Gregory the Great Academy in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania, Sean Fitzpatrick (’02) knows well the importance of a graduation ceremony in the life of a student. So it is with sympathy that he pens his latest essay in Crisis, May You Live In Interesting Times, a letter to members of the Class of 2020 at high schools and colleges everywhere.

“Though many have suffered grievously from this virus, you, graduating seniors, whether from high school or college, make up your own category of sufferers,” Mr. Fitzpatrick writes. “You are the forgotten class, the class of plague and circumstance, the class that graduated without a graduation. But in losing those worldly trappings you have the opportunity to become small enough to give Christ room to dwell in you.”

Missing out on the glory and joy of a graduation ceremony, the headmaster observes, is an opportunity for greatness — indeed, for sanctity — for this year’s graduates. “You went to school to learn how to become saints,” he reminds them. “Embrace your littleness, your Covid obscurity, and let Christ do good things with you. If He was bold enough to become so little to accomplish great things, we must do likewise.”

In closing, Mr. Fitzpatrick quotes the verse from Psalm 115 that graduates of his alma mater sing at the end of each year’s Commencement, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to thy name give glory.”


David Allen (’10) David Allen (’10)
Photo: Diocese of Monterey
Please pray for David Allen (’10), who, by God’s grace, will receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders tomorrow.

On the morning of May 22 at San Carlos Cathedral, the Most Rev. Daniel F. Garcia, Bishop of Monterey, will ordain Mr. Allen and two fellow seminarians to the transitional diaconate. Alas, like fellow alumnus and newly ordained transitional deacon Rev. Mr. Ryan Truss (’16), Mr. Allen will receive his sacrament in an all-but-empty church, owing to COVID-19 restrictions. Nonetheless, the Ordination Mass will be livestreamed via the Diocese of Monterey’s website and its vocations page on Facebook.

Please also pray for Michael Masteller (’13), whose own ordination to the transitional diaconate has been postponed until the resumption of public Masses. God willing, all three of these faithful men will be surrounded by friends and family in full cathedrals at their priestly ordinations next year!


“I don’t bring something special to the priesthood; the priesthood is something that God gives to me,” says Michael Masteller (’13) in the above video from L.A. Catholics. “It’s our path of holiness. Every person has their path. Every vocation is that path of holiness.”

One of four alumni seminarians studying for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Mr. Masteller was originally scheduled to be ordained this Saturday, May 23, but the Ordination Mass has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please pray for him and that he may soon receive Holy Orders.

“The good and bad things that are in us,” says Mr. Masteller, “the Lord draws out to purify, to heal, and to bring to fruition the desires of our heart.”


Mr. and Mrs. Nazeck in wedding clothes and medical masks Meg (Downes ’20) and Patrick Nazeck (’19)

The first member of the Class of 2020 to make the Faith in Action blog is Meg Downes (’20), who has wasted no time answering her vocation. Last Wednesday, she completed her last examination. The next day, she married Patrick Nazeck (’19) at St. Mary Parish in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

“Even though we had to change a lot of the plans we’d made because of COVID travel restrictions, and after being apart for a year, we were able to have a small ceremony with my family and Pat’s parents, about a day after Pat graduated from Combat Engineer School in North Carolina,” writes Mrs. Nazeck. “Even though most of our family and friends weren’t able to be there, all the love and support we’ve received from all over the place has been incredible, and it has meant a lot to us in this crazy time.”

The couple is next headed to Southern California, where Mr. Nazeck will be stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

“We thought this picture,” the bride adds, “pretty well captured the whole scenario!” 

From the wedding of Meg (Downes ’20) and Patrick Nazeck (’19)

Please keep the newlyweds in your prayers!


Katie Ellefson, RN, BSN (’16), Joanna Kaiser, RN, BSN (’15), and Annamaria Masteller, RN, BSN (’16) Katie Ellefson, RN, BSN (’16), Joanna Kaiser, RN, BSN (’15), and Annamaria Masteller, RN, BSN (’16)

A new article in the Arlington Catholic Herald, Health care workers share what it’s like to treat COVID-19 patients, features two of three alumnae nurses recently profiled on this blog, Katie Ellefson, RN, BSN (’16), and Annamaria Masteller, RN, BSN (’16).

“Annamaria Masteller’s nursing career began March 23, 2020,” begins reporter Zoey Maraist. “She had expected her first year of nursing to be challenging, but she hadn’t expected to start at Inova Fairfax Hospital during a global pandemic.”

In the story, both of the new nurses reflect on how the Faith informs their work and brings them solace as they battle the pandemic. “We are given countless opportunities every shift to brighten the lives of patients. And that makes my job very rewarding,” says Miss Ellefson. Adds Miss Masteller, “I just don’t know how I would do it if I didn’t have this understanding that God is in control. … I feel like I have this little secret that I get to take with me every day, that I have this huge, powerful God on my side even though I’m just this new nurse.”

The full story is available via the Catholic Herald website.


The Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, ordains Rev. Mr. Ryan Truss (’16) Photos courtesy of The St. Louis Review

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis was largely empty of worshipers on Saturday, May 2 — but it was overflowing with grace.

That morning, the Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, ordained Rev. Mr. Ryan Truss (’16) and five other young men to the transitional diaconate, their last stop before, God willing, entering the priesthood next year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ordinandi were allowed to bring no guests but their parents and had to wear masks throughout much of the ceremony. The parents, also masked, were seated with full pews between them.

“My ordination day was very blessed indeed,” writes Rev. Mr. Truss (’16). “I wish that more of my friends and family could have been there to share my joy in person, but I am glad that so many were able to tune into the livestream! To receive ordination at a time like this convinces me that God is never outdone in generosity, even in times of pandemic.”

The St. Louis Review has graciously shared the following photos from Deacon Truss’ ordination, which reflect the beauty, the sorrow, and the hope of that sacred day:

Ordinandi postrate on the floor

 

The Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, ordains Rev. Mr. Ryan Truss (’16)

 


Eric Maurer (’98) with some of his students at St. Paul’s Choir School in Cambridge, Massachusetts Eric Maurer (’98) with some of his students at St. Paul’s Choir School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Archdiocese of Boston has named 10 teachers from its Catholic school system as recipients of its 2020 Excellence in Education Awards, including a Thomas Aquinas College alumnus: Eric Maurer (’98).

“The 10 recipients were nominated by parents, administrators, students, and/or their peers because of their strong leadership qualities, Catholic values, academic excellence, and their commitment to their students as well as schools," says the Archdiocese’ Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Thomas Carroll. “The honorees are the cream of the crop in terms of faculty members.” 

Mr. Maurer and his fellow educators “have gone above and beyond to create a welcoming environment and a culture of success,” says Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston. As teachers, they “share the Catholic faith in word and action” in the course of their work.

A co-founder of the Lyceum in Cleveland, Mr. Maurer now teaches mathematics, science and Latin to fifth-through-eighth graders in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “I am blessed to work at St. Paul’s Choir School, where I am trusted with many subjects and am not only allowed, but actually encouraged, to share and explain the Catholic faith whenever possible,” says Mr. Maurer. “I am coming to see that younger boys are natural philosophers, always willing to wonder,” he adds. “The enthusiasm that bubbles up when one is sincerely seeking truth is contagious and motivates students as they learn to pursue truth themselves.”

Noting that he is “humbled and overwhelmed” to have been chosen for this honor, Mr. Maurer graciously credits his alma mater as the place “where I became educated, as Aristotle describes in his Parts of Animals, learning to think and to repel sophistry with such confidence and humor.”


Ryan Truss (’16) Ryan Truss (’16)On Saturday, the Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, will ordain Ryan Truss (’16) and five fellow seminarians to the transitional diaconate — in that city’s all-but-empty Cathedral Basilica.

“I’ve just received word that, despite precautions that must be followed due to the current situation with COVID-19, my ordination to the transitional diaconate will go on as planned!” writes Mr. Truss. The Mass is closed to the public, but it will be livestreamed via the Cathedral’s website at 10:00 a.m. CDT. 

“Certainly, this is not how any of us would have imagined our ordination day,” he adds. “But I am confident that God will use these circumstances to bring about a greater trust in His providence.” 

On the morning after his ordination, Sunday May 3, Mr. Truss will assist and, for the first time, serve as the homilist at a Mass at St. Gerard Majella Church in Kirkwood, Missouri. That Mass will be available via livestream at 8:00 a.m. CDT. 

Saturday’s ordination marks the penultimate step in a journey that, for Mr. Truss, started when he first began to discern a call to the priesthood as a young boy. “I can still remember how, on the day of my First Holy Communion, I longed to become a priest so that I could bring Jesus to others,” he recently told the St. Louis Review.

The call to Holy Orders only became more strong during his time at the College:

After high school, I went to California to attend Thomas Aquinas College. Here I grew in my knowledge and love for God through our daily discussion of the great books and through the sacraments, which were readily available and were celebrated with reverence. At college, I was also surrounded by friends, teachers and chaplains whose faith inspired me to continue discerning my vocation. I entered the seminary soon after graduation.

Please pray for Mr. Truss and his fellow ordinandi!


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Patrick Nazeck (’19) -- quote 2

“Here I am surrounded by other people my age who share my interests, who value their education as much as I do, and whom I can have fun with while still learning about big ideas. It is an awesome experience that I have never found anywhere else.”

– Patrick Nazeck (’19)

Ridgecrest, California

NEWS FROM THE COLLEGE

“With an academic program as rigorous as Thomas Aquinas College’s, and with a long line of successful alumni, Thomas Aquinas College is essential to the health of our Church in the United States and beyond.”

– The Most Rev. Thomas Daly

Bishop of Spokane