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Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

Franz Wall ('16)

College Chaplain Rev. Cornelius M. Buckley, S.J., has posted the following message in St. Joseph Commons:

Fact One

Matt Talbot (1856-1925), reformed alcoholic and longshoreman who lived a heroic saintly life, needs a miracle for beatification.

Fact Two

Franz Wall (’16) needs a miracle for recovery from a ski accident. He is in bad shape.

Solution

A-Do-It-Yourself novena beginning Wednesday, January 20 and ending Thursday, the 28th. Join many people outside TAC in praying for Franz' healing through the intercession of the Venerable Matt Talbot.

Any prayer will do: from one Hail Mary to a Mass and Communion offering or a rosary in union with all making the novena. Just be consistent: any prayer — it needn’t be the same — for the nine consecutive days.

Fr. Buckley notes that he has reached out to the sisters at a number of Carmelite convents, and they have agreed to participate in the Novena.  “Do you think Matt is a saint for our culture today?” Father asks. “Remind the Lord to show us so by healing Franz.”


Franz Wall ('16)

The local Fox affiliate in Fresno, California, has published an inspiring update on Franz Wall (’16), who remains hospitalized and paralyzed  from the chest down following a skiing accident in late November. The story quotes Franz’s mom, Christy (Tittmann ’89), who remains faithful as ever during this trying time, which she likens to “the most bizarre dance between heaven and hell, and absolute grief and amazing joy, because the highs and lows are crazy.”

In the story, Mrs. Wall recalls Franz’s first phone call to her after his injury. “I pick up the phone, ‘Mom, I’m paralyzed,’ and I just told him, I said, ‘Look, if you’re paralyzed, then that’s what you need for salvation, and I’m behind you 100 percent, whatever I can do to help you.” Grateful for the outpouring of support that her family has received, she “wants people to remember, ‘God is good and, even in terrible situations, He is bringing about a good.’”

Part of that good, no doubt, are the many prayers that have been offered by friends of Franz, as well as those who have never even met him, for his recovery and for his family’s well-being. To that end, fellow alumna Mary Massell (’15) has arranged a novena for Franz and the Wall family at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church, in Surprise, Arizona, which will be livestreamed over Facebook at 6:00 p.m. PST on Friday, December 18. “All are welcome and encouraged to participate virtually,” Miss Massell writes. “Please share with your prayer groups!”


Michelle (Firmin ’97) HalpinPlease pray for the repose of the soul of Michelle (Firmin ’97) Halpin, who, following a years-long battle with cancer, passed away on Saturday. Her husband, Phil (’97), writes:

Michelle died peacefully early this evening. Her dad and I were with her, holding each of her hands as she finally let go and stopped breathing. All of our children have been staying with us here at the house for several days and it has been a beautiful and holy experience for all of us. We're so glad that Michelle is now with Jesus, where she has always wanted to be. ‘O death, where is thy sting?’

She was very comfortable and peaceful for the last several days, in her own bed here at home. I can't imagine anyone being more prepared for death, both practically and spiritually. But that's not a surprise to any of us because well-prepared was how she lived her whole life. I and all of our children are at peace and are doing very well.

Please also pray for the consolation of Phil and the Halpin family. Funeral information will be made available on Michelle’s CaringBridge site as soon as it becomes available.

Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.


November
29, 2020

Franz Wall ('16)Please pray for Franz Wall (’16), who was injured seriously in a skiing accident on Saturday. “He is currently in critical condition, having crushed his spine, and the doctors fear he could be paralyzed for life,” reports Giorgio Navarini (’17). “At this point, it is of chief importance that we storm heaven for Franz in his hour of need.”

Friends and family have begun the following novena to Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, whose intercession has healed two others with similar conditions. Please join them in praying the novena, and encourage others you know to pray as well.

Day 1

Jesus says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Pier Giorgio responds: “The faith given to me in Baptism surely suggests to me that of yourself you will do nothing; but if you have God as the center of all your actions, then you will reach your goal.”

We pray: Blessed Pier Giorgio, teach me true poverty of spirit. Help me understand that God cares for me; and that He asks me, in return, to care for others, especially those in need. Guide me to make choices in my life which will show a preference for service of God and neighbor, rather than accumulating financial wealth and social advantage for myself. Give me a special love for the poor and the sick.

Blessed Pier Giorgio, I ask for your intercession in obtaining from God, Who is the Lover of the poor, all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I confidently turn to you for help in my present need: (mention your request.)

Day 2

Jesus says: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Pier Giorgio responds: “Our life, in order to be Christian, has to be a continual renunciation, a continual sacrifice. But this is not difficult, if one thinks what these few years passed in suffering are, compared with eternal happiness where joy will have no measure or end, and where we shall have unimaginable peace.”

We pray: Blessed Pier Giorgio, teach me that I must be able to mourn if I will be able to rejoice. Show me how to face my sorrow, and not avoid it or pretend that it does not exist. Help me to enter into any present sorrow, so that my soul can empty itself and be filled with God’s peace.

Blessed Pier Giorgio, I ask for your intercession in obtaining from God, Who is our Consoler, all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I confidently turn to you for help in my present need: (mention your request.)

Day 3

Jesus says: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Pier Giorgio responds: “With violence you sow hatred, and you harvest its bad fruits. With charity, you sow peace among men – not the peace that the world gives, but the true peace that only faith in Jesus Christ can give us in common brotherhood.”

We pray: Blessed Pier Giorgio, guide me in claiming my rightful inheritance as a child of God and heir of His kingdom. Show me, by your own example, how to be slow to anger, and gentle in my dealings with others. Help me to show forth the peace of Christ by speaking words of peace, and by living a life of peace.

Blessed Pier Giorgio, I ask for your intercession in obtaining from God, Who is meek and humble of heart, all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I confidently turn to you for help in my present need: (mention your request.)

Day 4

Jesus says: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Pier Giorgio responds: “What wealth it is to be in good health, as we are! But we have the duty of putting our health at the service of those who do not have it. To act otherwise would be to betray that gift of God.”

We pray: Blessed Pier Giorgio, help me to seek God’s righteousness, His plan for my life and for the salvation of the world. Show me the way to self-surrender, so that I may desire nothing more than to be of service to the Lord and His Kingdom. Lead me to the table of love, where I will be satisfied.

Blessed Pier Giorgio, I ask for your intercession in obtaining from God, Who is righteous and just, all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I confidently turn to you for help in my present need: (mention your request.)

Day 5

Jesus says: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

Pier Giorgio responds: “St. Paul says that “the charity of Christ urges us.” Without this flame, which should burn out our personality little by little and blaze only for other people’s griefs, we would not be Christian, let alone Catholic.”

We pray: Blessed Pier Giorgio, teach me by your example of mercy to open my heart more widely to those in need, especially the poor and the sick. Guide me in extending that mercy both to friends and strangers, to those who love me and those who do not. Help me to reflect God’s own mercy, especially in words and deeds of forgiveness.

Blessed Pier Giorgio, I ask for your intercession in obtaining from God, Who is gracious and merciful and just, all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I confidently turn to you for help in my present need: (mention your request.)

Day 6

Jesus says: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Pier Giorgio responds: “I beg you to pray for me a little, so that God may give me an iron will that does not bend and does not fail in His projects.”

We pray: Blessed Pier Giorgio, lead me in the path of purity, for only those who are clean of heart can behold God’s face. Help me to be faithful to the covenant I have made with God in Baptism, that I may always be loyal to His commands and thus offer Him sincere worship. Show me by your life how to be single hearted and completely, unswervingly, dedicated to proclaiming thekingdom of God here on earth.

Blessed Pier Giorgio, I ask for your intercession in obtaining from God, Who is pure love and holiness, all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I confidently turn to you for help in my present need: (mention your request.)

Day 7

Jesus says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”

Pier Giorgio responds: “I offer you my best wishes – or, rather, only one wish, but the only wish that a true friend can express for a dear friend: may the peace of the Lord be with you always! For, if you possess peace every day, you will be truly rich.”

We pray: Blessed Pier Giorgio, despite your daily struggles, you found peace by fostering your own well being in work, study, and play; in prayer alone and with others; in silence and in song, in laughter and in serious conversation with friends. Guide me to that inner peace which will enable me to share peace with others.

Blessed Pier Giorgio, I ask for your intercession in obtaining from God, Who is our peace, all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I confidently turn to you for help in my present need: (mention your request.)

Day 8

Jesus says: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Pier Giorgio responds: “To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth – that is not living, but existing.”

We pray: Blessed Pier Giorgio, teach me silence in the face of personal humiliation and unjust criticism. But guide me to be courageous like you in standing on the side of God’s truth. Help me to be faithful to Him in all things, so that His Will may be done in and through my life. Show me how to persevere in the struggle for those things which are holy and honorable.

Blessed Pier Giorgio, I ask for your intercession in obtaining from God, Who is the source of grace and truth, all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I confidently turn to you for help in my present need: (mention your request.)

Day 9

Jesus says: “Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account.Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.”

Pier Giorgio responds: “We who by the grace of God are Catholics must steel ourselves for the battle we shall certainly have to fight to fulfill our program and to give our country, in the not too distant future, happier days and a morally healthy society. But to achieve this we need constant prayer to obtain from God that grace without which all our powers are useless.”

We pray: Blessed Pier Giorgio, show me how to bear all wrongs patiently. Help me to accept the sufferings which others inflict on me because of my desire to be faithful to Jesus.

Blessed Pier Giorgio, I ask for your intercession in obtaining from God, Who protects the innocent, all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I confidently turn to you for help in my present need: (mention your request.)


Dan and Rose (Teichert) Grimm (both ’76) Dan and Rose (Teichert) Grimm (both ’76)

“I am sad to report that my mom has a small cancerous tumor in her liver,” writes Wendy-Irene Zepeda (’99) of her mother, Rose (Teichert ’76) Grimm. “Mama is pretty upbeat and hopeful; still, of course this is a blow. She'd be specially grateful for prayers to pursue the right treatment — and of course, for the treatment to be successful.”

Through prayer Mrs. Grimm has successfully battled cancer before. Please hold her in your prayers once more!


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!


Fred Arthur (’96) Fred Arthur (’96)

Friends and loved ones gathered today at Santa Clara Church in Oxnard, California, for the funeral Mass of an alumnus of Thomas Aquinas College, Fred Arthur (’96). Serving as principal celebrant at the Mass was one of Mr. Arthur’s TAC classmates, Rev. Ramon Decaen (’96), a priest of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.  Audio of Fr. Decaen’s homily (recorded on a cell phone, thus the uneven quality) is available in the player at the bottom of this post.

Rev. Ramon Decaen (’96) Rev. Ramon Decaen (’96)“Today we pray in a special way for our brother Fred, whose gentle smile illuminated the campus at Thomas Aquinas College,” said Fr. Decaen in his homily.  “He had a great love for people, a great love for everyone. … He was always generous, very giving of himself.”

Fr. Decaen noted that he was “maybe the first person that Fred met at the College,” as they were freshman roommates.  The two became fast friends and, he added, “It’s when Christ unites us in friendship that we help each other on the road to heaven.”

The priest also joked about some cultural differences that the two had to work through — Fr. Decaen being a lifelong Californian, and Mr. Arthur a citizen of Ghana — mostly relating to the temperature of the room and who slept on which bunk. “We come from many different backgrounds, many different countries, many different beginnings, but we are all united together as one body, the Body of Christ,” Father said. “United in love, united in conviction, united in respect for the dignity of the human person, we are reminded that God is here with us.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only a limited number of friends were permitted in the church, but among them were several alumni of the College. Fr. Decaen urged all those gathered — and, by extension, Mr. Arthur’s friends everywhere — to pray for the repose of his soul and the consolation of his wife, Nana, and their four children. “That’s our goal today,” Father said. “We pray that he may go to the heavenly kingdom, and through the grace of this most powerful prayer that we celebrate today, we call upon God’s grace to give him rest in eternal life.”


Norman De Silva and family

Please pray for Dr. Norman P. De Silva (’75), a member of the College’s first graduating class who later served as a member of the teaching faculty. Today marks the 35th anniversary of his death on July 1, 1985. Head Chaplain Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P., remembered him at Mass this morning in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel.

May Dr. De Silva rest in peace!


Nanna and Fred Arthur (’96) with their children Fred Arthur (’96)

Rev. Ramon Decaen (’96) reports that his friend and onetime roommate, Fred Arthur (’96), succumbed to cancer this afternoon in California, just as Fr. Decaen was offering a Mass for him on the vigil of Corpus Christi in Lincoln, Nebraska. “Please pray for his wife (Nana) and their four children, ages 7 to 14,” writes Fr. Decaen. Funeral arrangements are pending. Pray for his eternal rest; may he rest in peace.”

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.


Nanna and Fred Arthur (’96) with their children Nana and Fred Arthur (’96) with their children

Rev. Ramon Decaen (’96), a priest in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, has contacted the College asking for emergency prayers for his friend, classmate, and onetime roommate, Fred Arthur (’96). Mr. Arthur, a husband and father of four, is struggling in his battle with cancer.

Please pray for a miraculous recovery and the protection of his family!


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Thomas Esser (’18)

“It’s wonderful how, in the integrated curriculum, everything matches up. You’ll be reading one thing in language class, and then it will come up again in philosophy, and goes on to affect everything you read from then on. You get a deeper understanding of each discipline by seeing how they connect with the others.”

– Thomas Esser (’18)

Chino Hills, California

NEWS FROM THE COLLEGE

“The students that have had an opportunity to be part of the life of the College have been enriched by their experience in an environment conducive to achievement. Now in all walks of life, graduates of Thomas Aquinas College are contributing, by following a wide variety of pursuits, to the betterment of society.”

– Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino

President, Pontifical Council

for Justice and Peace