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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!

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!

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.”

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!

An illustration from Tomie dePaola’s The Legend of the Poinsettia An illustration from Tomie dePaola’s The Legend of the Poinsettia

Sean Fitzpatrick (’02)Sean Fitzpatrick (’02)Late in Lent, Tomie dePaola, a longtime children’s author beloved by many Catholic families, died following a fall at his studio in New Hampshire. The news of his passing was largely lost amidst COVID-19 reporting, but alumnus author Sean Fitzpatrick (’02) has now penned an appropriately prayerful Easter tribute to Mr. dePaola in Crisis.

“It is at this time of resurrection that Catholics may …  remember those who have passed away in the hope of rising again, and especially those whose memory might be seasoned with the brightness they brought to life by their lives — how they participated in Christ’s work to make all things new,” writes Mr. Fitzpatrick. “Tomie dePaola may not have been religious, but he was certainly reverent. Though he lost the Faith, he never lost his love for the goodness, beauty, and perhaps truth of what he had once believed.”

Mr. Fitzpatrick continues:

DePaola saw the splendor of the Catholic Faith with its enduring power, its charm, its sacred mystery, and the mystical way it lent itself to lore and legend. As a writer and illustrator of children’s books, he famously presented the Faith, the heroes of the Faith, and the traditions of the Church with a vitality that is all but unmatched in the modern children’s library. ...

[His] hard lines, soft brushstrokes, and bright palette, coupled with his straightforward writing style, made the invisible aspects of sainthood and sanctity visible, tangible, and attractive, giving the heroes of the Church, and even the stories of Christ, a dimension that goes beyond stuffy histories or plain catechisms. 

“This Easter, Catholics should remember this storyteller and painter who thought it his vocation to bring children to God by bringing old things to new life,” Mr. Fitzpatrick concludes. “May his soul, like the soul of his Clown of God, rest in the hands of the Christ Child, and there find the glorious vibrancy he searched for and praised in his painting.”

crucifix in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Dr. Ken J. Kaiser (’78), who died this morning. Dr. Kaiser was the brother of Associate Dean Thomas Kaiser (’75), Kathy (Eubanks ’77), and David (’79), and the father of Will (’03) and John (’07). Please also pray for the consolation of his wife, Patti (Grimm ’79), and their entire family. 

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.

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Isaac Cross (’19) -- quote 1

“The Discussion Method gives you a sense of finding the truth for yourself, and thereby owning it, rather than being told what to think.”

– Isaac Cross (’19)

Leominster, Massachusetts


“Thomas Aquinas College is doing on the undergraduate level exactly what should be done. The College's alumni and alumnae prove that with this kind of education you can go on and do anything.”

– Dr. Ralph McInerny (†)

Scholar and Writer