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Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

On December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Br. Edward Seeley (’16) entered the novitiate for the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, a religious order with a small but rapidly growing North American community located just miles from the College’s California campus.

Before joining the Canons as a postulant earlier this year, Br. Edward was a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “During that time I discerned the need to grow together with other people to help me grow closer to Christ,” he says, “to really support me in my vocation, to help call me out when I’m not doing enough, but also to help pick me up when I fall down.”

This summer, the Canons published the above video profiling Br. Edward. “During college we read St. Augustine’s Confessions and the City of God, and in that I saw the working of God’s providence, first on a personal level in the Confessions and then on the level of salvation history in the City of God,” he says, explaining why St. Augustine is his favorite saint. “He’s wonderful at describing the experience of grace — the experience of a hardened sinner being converted, but also just the regular workings, how we see God working interiorly, more interiorly than we even understand. And so learning how to develop that, to listen to it, and then to work on it, is something that he taught me, I think, very well.”

One of six new postulants for the Canons Regular, Br. Edward now continues his discernment of a priestly vocation. “It’s wonderful,” he says. “It’s really amazing to be able to give yourself fully and entirely to God, and then to the people on His behalf.”

Br. Edward Seeley (’16), third kneeling from the left, enters the novitiate with the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception Br. Edward Seeley (’16), third kneeling from the left, enters the novitiate with the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception


Michael Masteller (’13) Michael Masteller (’13)

Please say a prayer for Michael Masteller (’13), who, by God’s grace, will be ordained to the transitional diaconate this Saturday!

One of three alumni seminarians studying for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Mr. Masteller was originally scheduled to be ordained on May 23, but the Ordination Mass was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. At last, the Most Rev. Alejandro D. Aclan, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, will ordain him on October 10 in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles.

“Even though we are living in difficult times, we know that the Lord has gone before us and that He always opens a path for our future and never fails to lead us to the Father,” Mr. Masteller reflects. “In my own life, I have known this to be true; the Lord found me when I was in darkness and brought me into new life and freedom. He has never ceased to lead me as I follow Him on my vocational path toward the diaconate and ultimately the priesthood.”

In making the next step down this path, Mr. Masteller is answering a call he initially discerned during his student days. “It was at the College that I received the first stirrings of vocation, and my friends from the College and the education I received there have continued to strengthen me over the years for this mission,” he says. “I look forward to my diaconate ordination and in making myself fully available for God and to be at the service of the Church. Please pray for us!”

Mr. Masteller will be the fifth alumnus ordained to the transitional diaconate this year, joining Rev. Mr. Ryan Truss (’16)Rev. Mr. David Allen (’10), Br. Matthew Maxwell (’08), and Br. John Winkowitsch, O.P. (’04). Deo gratias!


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 November!

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).


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Isabella Hsu (’18) on integrated curriculum

“It is amazing to read all the different works from a wide range of disciplines, and see the same truth popping up again and again — whether it’s in Euclid, or theology, or natural science. It all comes together to form a full picture.”

– Isabella Hsu (’18)

Redondo Beach, California

NEWS FROM THE COLLEGE

“I am happy with the mission of Thomas Aquinas College and with the results spread through various countries in the world!”

– Most Rev. Lionginas Virbalas

Metropolitan Archbishop of Kaunas, Lithuania