Skip to Content
Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

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.


Edward Seeley (’16) Edward Seeley (’16) | Photo credit: The Rome Experience

“Being in Rome has been awe-inspiring,” writes Edward Seeley (’16). “We are being formed as men preparing for the priesthood, in order to help save souls through a knowledge of the history of the Church, through the beauty she has produced, and the firmness and maternal affection with which she proclaims Christ the Truth.”

A seminarian for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Mr. Seeley is in the Eternal City as part of The Rome Experience, a summer program run under the auspices of the Bishops Advisory Board that allows seminarians from throughout the U.S. to “pray and study in the heart of the Catholic Church, beside the Chair of St. Peter, and at the tombs of the saints and martyrs.” The program includes pilgrimages to several holy and historically significant sites, the major basilicas of Rome, and the Catacombs, as well as a trip to the Shrine of St. John Vianney in Ars, France; .

In a Postcard from Rome, published on The Rome Experience website, Mr. Seeley recounts the group’s general audience with Pope Francis, dinners with Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Stafford, and a visit and tour of the Basilica of St. Mary Major. He also describes interactions with fellow tourists who “obviously aren’t used to seeing a group of young seminarians tromping through small side streets or the ruins of ancient Rome,” and who “engage us in dialogue, often about their difficulties with the Church and the problems they face in their lives.”

Providing these inquirers with pastoral advice can be challenging, the young seminarian admits, but “what gives me the strength and hope to continue is being able to ask the saints that we visit for their intercession and guidance.” Adds Mr. Seeley, “When you come to the tombs of great men like St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Philip Neri, or those of Catherine of Siena and Claire of Assisi, you realize that you are not alone but can rely for aid on those who have gone before us.”


Derek Remus (’11) Derek Remus (’11)Please say a prayer for Deacon Derek Remus (’11), who, by God’s grace, will be ordained to the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ on June 29, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

Born and raised in Alberta, Canada, Deacon Remus discerned his vocation, in part, while a student at Thomas Aquinas College. “Coming to the College has helped me in my vocation discernment,” he remarked at the time of his 2011 graduation. “Studying St. Thomas, philosophy, and theology has increased my love of the intellectual life and has made me think more about a kind of teaching and preaching vocation in the priesthood.”

Three months after his graduation, he departed for six months of missionary work in Peru. After returning to Canada, he was accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Calgary and began studies at St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton, where he earned a Master of Divinity Degree. The Most Rev. William McGrattan, Bishop of Calgary,  ordained him to the diaconate last December and, on Friday, will ordain him to the priesthood at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

“We give thanks to God for the gift of Deacon Derek’s call to the priesthood,” announces the Diocese of Calgary’s website, “and we invite and encourage the faithful of the diocese to come and join in the celebration of the conferral of Holy Orders.”


A group of Los Angeles priests and seminarians leading a Eucharistic procession down Hollywood Boulevard for the First World Day of the Poor. Photo: Alexandra Cooper, Angelus News

 

The above photo, from a recent story in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Angelus magazine, features a group of priests and seminarians leading a Eucharistic procession down Hollywood Boulevard for the First World Day of the Poor. Carrying the cross is David Allen (’10), a graduate of the College and a seminarian for the Diocese of Monterey who is studying at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ St. John’s Seminary..

Mr. Allen is one of four alumni studying for the priesthood in L.A., along with Michael Masteller (’13), Paul Collins (’14), and Edward Seeley (’16). May God bless them!


 

The above video, from a recent report on the PBS NewsHour, features several members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, whose CD, Requiem, spent 13 weeks atop the Billboard classical-music chart. The segment includes several quotes from Rev. Joseph Lee, F.S.S.P (’00), academic dean at the Fraternity’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska, as well as appearances by Rev. Matthew J. McNeely, F.S.S.P. (’99) and Rev. Fr. Rhone Lillard, F.S.S.P. (’00).

Released in May, Requiem is a beautifully mastered recording of the Fraternity priests and seminarians chanting the repertoire for the Mass and Burial of the Dead. It is published by DeMontfort Music, which produced the similarly chart-topping CDs of the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, whose members include two alumnae: Sr.. Mary Josefa of the Eucharist, OSB (Kathleen Holcomb ’07), and Sr. Sophia of the Holy Eucharist, OSB (Gina Marie Eid ’08).


Derek Remus ('11)

“Thought you might like to know,” writes Derek Remus (’11), “that Bishop William McGrattan of the Diocese of Calgary, Alberta, has called me to be ordained to the transitional diaconate.” The blessed event will take place at the end of Advent, on December 23, just in time for the newly ordained deacon to proclaim the Gospel and preach the homilies throughout Christmas.

It was four years ago — two years after his graduation from the College — that Mr. Remus entered St. Joseph’s Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta, for the Diocese of Calgary. By God’s grace, he will be ordained to the priestood next summer, making him the first alumnus to serve as a diocesan priest in Canada!

Please keep an all alumni seminarians in your prayers.


The above video features Br. John Winkowitsch, O.P. (’04), who made his first profession as a Western Dominican Province friar on September 2. “What do I love more than anything in the world?” he asks. “I love the truth, and I love Jesus Christ, and I love the Church. I want to lay down my life sharing that love with others, sharing that truth with others.”

Making his first profession alongside Br. John last month was fellow alumnus Br. Athanasius Thompson (’12). The two visited campus last fall to meet with students interested in joining the Dominican Order. “Hopefully we’ll get back to TAC sometime this academic year to talk about vocations,” says Br. John. “It’s always wonderful to return home to TAC, where I was baptized Freshman Year!


Blog Categories

Caleb Skvaril (’19)

“Learning from the great books, you can see the questions that history’s greatest thinkers have asked and all the ways that they have tried to answer them. You’re able to see what’s right about what they’re saying, but also what’s wrong. The more your opinion is challenged, the more you have to refine it in order to get closer to the truth.”

– Caleb Skvaril (’19)

Asan, Guam

NEWS FROM THE COLLEGE

“I am full of admiration for what the College, its founders, its leadership, its faculty and staff, and its students and alumni have achieved.”

– George Cardinal Pell

Archbishop of Sydney