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Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

Most Rev. Gino Reali performs imposition of the hands on Matthew Maxwell ('08) The Most Rev. Gino Reali, Bishop of Porto-Santa Rufina, ordains Br. 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 Br. Matthew Maxwell (‘08) at St. Phillip Neri Parish, Castel Giuliano, Bracciano in Rome. Br. Matthew 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 Br. Matthew as well as the other alumni who are entering the transitional diaconate this year: David Allen (’10), Michael Masteller (’13), and Ryan Truss (’16).


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.”


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)

 


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!


Representatives from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles who visited the California campus for a recent vocations talk, including Jorge Moncada Hernandez (’18 , center) and Paul Collins (’14, bottom right) Representatives from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles who visited the California campus for a recent vocations talk, including Jorge Moncada Hernandez (’18 , center) and Paul Collins (’14, bottom right)

What does it mean to witness for Christ? How does one discern God’s call? What role does celibacy play in the life of a priest?

These questions and more were the topics of a recent vocations talk on the California campus presented by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, featuring two alumni seminarians: Jorge Moncada Hernandez (’18) and Paul Collins (’14).

“This place was really foundational to discover my calling,” said Mr. Moncada, who urged students to see their time on campus as an opportunity to seek God’s will for their lives. Dating “a beautiful woman” while a student briefly caused him to question a lifelong sense that he was called to the priesthood, but during his junior year, “God told me what I needed to do in life.” Forsaking marriage and family is a difficult sacrifice, he added, but a joyful one. “We say ‘no’ to many things, but we say ‘yes’ to many more.”

Mr. Collins, who, in addition to a lifetime of service in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, plans to spend 20 years as a chaplain for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, echoed this sentiment. “The priesthood is for a guy who wants to give his whole life to witness for Christ and save souls,” said Mr. Collins. “Being willing to give up marriage and family — despite really wanting it — that’s what makes a good priest. That’s the whole point of our spirituality: to give our lives for Christ.”

Mr. Moncada and Mr. Collins are just two of the five Thomas Aquinas College alumni studying for the priesthood in Los Angeles. The others are David Allen (’10), Michael Masteller (’13), and Edward Seeley (’16).


New Dominican novices, including Br. Michael Thomas Cain (’18, second from left) and Br. Kevin Peter Cantu (’15, right) New Dominican novices, including Br. Michael Thomas Cain (’18, second from left) and Br. Kevin Peter Cantu (’15, right)

The Dominican Friars of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus report the joyful news that, on Thursday, four men entered their novitiate — among them, two recent Thomas Aquinas College graduates, Br. Michael Thomas Cain (’18) and Br. Kevin Peter Cantu (’15).

Br. Michael Thomas, according to the Friars’ website, “draws inspiration from St. Thomas Aquinas, whose brilliant intellect was united with an intense humility.” The newly habited novice joined the Dominicans, he says, because “the world’s need for Christ is urgent,” and “the Dominican is called to bring the light of Christ to all nations.”

The province’s profile of Br. Kevin Peter notes that, while at the College, Head Chaplain Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P., “introduced him to the Dominican life.” Br. Kevin Peter has a devotion to a fellow Dominican, St. Juan Macias, “who like his contemporaries St. Martin de Porres and St. Rose of Lima, cared for the poor and marginalized.” As a member of the Order of Preachers, the story observes, he “desires to preach Christ crucified.”

Thanks be to God for these young men’s faith and their willingness to answer God’s call! Please pray for them as they continue to discern their vocations.


Newly professed Franciscans, including Br. Sean Paul Wood (’13, third from left), Br. Faustino Lemmon (’14, second from right) Newly professed Franciscans, including Br. Sean Paul Wood (’13, third from left) and Br. Faustino (Sebastian) Lemmon (’14, second from right)

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in the Bronx, N.Y., have announced via their Instagram account that, on August 6, two alumni brethren — Br. Sean Paul Wood (’13) and Br. Faustino (Sebastian ’14) Lemmon —made their first vows at Most Blessed Sacrament Friary in Newark, New Jersey. These temporary professions last for one year, during which time the Brothers further discern God’s will for their lives. After making annual vows a minimum of four times, the they then become eligible to make final, or permanent, vows, pledging a life of service to the poor on the streets of New York City.

“Br. Faustino Lemmon and Br. Sean Paul Wood are our first Thomas Aquinas College grads to make vows with us,” observed the Friars in another Instagram post. “Thanks, Thomas Aquinas College, for preparing them well!”

Br. Faustino makes his first profession Br. Faustino makes his first profession.

The College is humbled and grateful to have played its small part in God’s glorious plan for these men and the holy work of the Franciscan Friars. Let Christ be praised!


Rev. Mike Perucho, associate vocations director for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with the four Thomas Aquinas College alumni who are studying for the priesthood in the Archdiocese: Paul Collins (’14), Edward Seeley (’16), Michael Masteller (’13), and Jorge Moncada Hernandez (’18) Rev. Mike Perucho, associate vocations director for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, with the four Thomas Aquinas College alumni who are studying for the priesthood for the Archdiocese: Paul Collins (’14), Edward Seeley (’16), Michael Masteller (’13), and Jorge Moncada Hernandez (’18)

On Wednesday four alumni who are studying for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles returned to their alma mater to give a vocations talk to the College’s students. The late-afternoon session began and ended with some comments from Rev. Mike Perucho, the Archdiocese’ associate vocations director, in between which students heard personal talks from each of the alumni seminarians.

First among them was Jorge Moncada Hernandez (’18), a member of last year’s graduating class, who spoke of how he discerned his vocation, how his time at the College aided him in that process, and how he now longs to serve the people of Los Angeles as a priest. “This place definitely helped me in my vocation. It gave the foundation that we need to be good priests and also good men,” said Mr. Moncada. “And what we need right now in the Church are priests who are men really willing to understand their manhood and bring that to the people of God, and this place definitely helped me a lot in growing that.”

Next came Edward Seeley (’16), who described the spiritual and intellectual formation that the seminarians receive at the Archdiocesan seminary. “It’s a graduate-level program — so that’s a little easier than here,” he joked. “I find it’s very, very helpful to have had the formation here, because you’re able to see the unified picture more easily. You’re able to say, ‘Well, I can draw on St. Thomas or St. Augustine, and then look at what the more modern teachings of the Church are and how that fits in with them, how they integrate and connect.”

The next speaker, Paul Collins (’14) discussed his more particular vocation: Although studying for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he will begin and end his ministry, he will serve for as many as 20 years between those periods as a chaplain for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. “I felt a call to be a Navy chaplain because they have a real need right now,” said Mr. Collins. “There are less than 50 priests serving the entire Navy — that’s the least-served diocese in the whole world” — a deficiency he is working hard to ameliorate.

Finally Michael Masteller (’13) spoke about his experience as a seminarian, including learning Spanish and coming to know the wide range of cultures within the Archdiocese. He also described his discernment, how he deepened his prayer life while at the College, and how he became assured of God’s call while teaching high school in Wisconsin for two years after his graduation. “Working at a diocesan high school, seeing where our culture is at, the difficulties that a lot of youth are going through — that just really touched my heart,” he said. “Because there were a lot of good kids there, bright, and you could just see that they wanted more. I definitely felt called to be on the front lines with the people, wherever they are.”

The seminarians stayed on campus through dinner, where they met with students and visited with Chaplain Rev. Cornelius M. Buckley, S.J., whom Mr. Moncada later thanked on Facebook:


Rev. Mr. Andrew De Silva (’03) Rev. Mr. Andrew De Silva (’03)“In spite of all this,” writes the Rev. Mr. Andrew De Silva (’03) of the Church’s ongoing abuse scandal,  “I still feel called by God. Am I naive?”

A seminarian and transitional deacon for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, Deacon De Silva is a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves Chaplain Corps. By God’s grace, he will be ordained to the priesthood next spring. Like most Catholics, he is appalled and outraged by the daily revelations of filth and negligence in the Church, but his faith remains strong, as does his yearning to embrace his vocation. Why?

“I want to be a Catholic priest; because of all the incredible men who are good and holy priests and have helped and supported me in my own life,” he writes in CatholicPhilly.com. “Because of the much-needed ministry I have been privileged to provide already as a religious brother; doing Army chaplain ministry and as a seminarian. Because God has chosen to make Himself present in the Eucharist in the hands of a priest. Because we as Catholics believe that the priest, despite his own frailty, has the awesome power to forgive sins. But mostly, because God has called me in this incredible way, and I wish to answer that call.”

Deacon De Silva has no illusions about the difficulty of ministering in a church whose own leaders have done so much to discredit it. “I know that when I am ordained a priest in May, much of the institutional goodwill for the Catholic priest will not exist as it used to,” he remarks. “I cannot change this. I can, however, take up the challenge to have greater faith in the God Who calls me. With His immeasurable help overcoming my own weakness, I can resolve to be ever more united to His Son the priest, and yes, the victim.”

Thanks be to God for Deacon De Silva’s faithful witness. Please pray for him as he approaches his ordination.


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Isaac Cross (’19) -- quote 2

“There’s a joy for life here you don’t get in most places, a sense of purpose, a sense of love and fellowship bound up in our common cause of seeking the truth.”

– Isaac Cross (’19)

Leominster, Massachusetts

NEWS FROM THE COLLEGE

“I am most grateful for Thomas Aquinas College’s resolute fidelity to the Church and her teachings. The young people whom you serve certainly are being formed to think with the Church and to defend the Faith with courage and charity.”

– The Most Rev. William E. Lori

Archbishop of Baltimore

Chair of the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty