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Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

Br. John Winkowitsch, O.P. (’04) Br. John Winkowitsch, O.P. (’04)

Twenty years ago Br. John Winkowitsch, O.P. (’04), received the Sacrament of Baptism during his freshman year at Thomas Aquinas College. On Saturday, he will receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders as he is ordained to the transitional diaconate at the Priory of Saint Albert the Great in Oakland — the third of four alumni to be ordained this year!

“What do I love more than anything in the world?” Br. John asked upon making his first profession as a Western Province Dominican friar in 2017. “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.”

Less than a month ago, Br. John completed his entrance into the Dominican Order by professing solemn vows. Now, with his diaconate ordination — at the hands of the Most Rev. Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of Portland in Oregon — he takes the last step toward the priesthood.

Saturday’s ordination, regrettably, will not be open to the public, owing to COVID-19 restrictions. The Mass will be available online, however, via the video player below, starting at 10:30 a.m. PDT.

Please keep Br. John and his fellow ordinandi in your prayers!


Br. Michael Thomas Cain (’18) and Br. Kevin Peter Cantu (’15) Br. Michael Thomas Cain (’18) and Br. Kevin Peter Cantu (’15)

Three members of the Dominican Friars of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus made their first vows on Saturday, including two Thomas Aquinas College alumni: Br. Michael Thomas Cain (’18) and Br. Kevin Peter Cantu (’15). The Mass of First Profession took place in Oakland’s Priory of St. Albert the Great, video of which is available in the player below:

Deo gratias!


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!


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Thomas Cavanaugh (’18) -- quote 2

“My time here has really refined the way I think, read, and understand. It has allowed me to think about things more critically and logically.”

– Thomas Cavanaugh (’18)

Larkspur, California

NEWS FROM THE COLLEGE

“Thomas Aquinas College is lending a helpful hand to the Church to fulfill her mission. There is no doubt that this Christian environment that is nurtured here is the main cause why there have been so many responses to the call of God to the priesthood and to the consecrated life in the female and male students of your College.”

– Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski

Prefect Emeritus

Congregation for Catholic Education