Skip to Content
Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

 Dr. Richard D. Ferrier Dr. Richard D. FerrierIn a beautiful testament to filial love, tomorrow morning alumnus Edward Ferrier (’99) will donate one of his kidneys to his father, tutor Dr. Richard Ferrier. Providentially, the transplant surgeries will take place on the Feast of St. Thomas — a solemnity on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College, as it is the anniversary of the dedication of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel.

“I’m full of confidence, happy, and expect to recover and return to teaching, maybe as soon as 2017-18,” writes Dr. Ferrier. “Also, I’ll take prayer requests to keep with me as I offer up the discomforts of the recovery.”

Please keep Richard, Edward, their family, and their physicians in your prayers!

Rose (Teichert) and Daniel J. Grimm (both ’76) with members of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, on a recent fundraising trip Rose (’76) and Daniel J. Grimm (both ’76) with members of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, on a recent fundraising trip

“Caring for the poor is not merely an option in Catholicism,” says Daniel J. Grimm (’76), the newly appointed director of Catholic Charities for the Santa Barbara pastoral region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “Jesus spells it out as the nonnegotiable basis of morality when He describes the Last Judgment. And if you’re going to love the poor the way Christ did, you must love them with the humility and respect that is particularly Christian.”

In his new position, Mr. Grimm is responsible for the work of Catholic Charities in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, a region that covers nearly 6,000 square miles and a population of more than 1.25 million residents. He oversees a staff of roughly 40 employees who operate nine different service centers across the region, guided by a “Catholic charism,” as he describes it, that sets the organization apart from other social-service programs or relief organizations.

“Even though we do a lot of what social workers also do, the core of our mission is to follow Jesus’ command to ‘love one another as I have loved you,’” he says. That mission requires “having an eye, as we do, to the eternal salvation of all” — the needy as well as the wealthy. “The ministry of Catholic charities is every bit as much for people who have wealth as for people who don’t have wealth, because it’s vitally important for Christians who have wealth to deal properly with it with regard to caring for the poor,” he explains. “In a sense, the wealthy need the poor; they are a gift from God for their salvation.”

By virtue of his past professions, Mr. Grimm is uniquely well-suited for his dual roles as minister to both the penniless and the prosperous. Prior to joining Catholic Charities in September, he served as a marriage and family therapist, a job that prepared him well for the pastoral nature of his current work. He is also an experienced fundraiser, having once served as Thomas Aquinas College’s director of development. And, as a licensed attorney, he brings the legal acumen necessary for managing a complex organization.

Still, assuming his new responsibilities has had its challenges. “One of my colleagues in Santa Barbara said that starting this job is like trying to drink from a fire hose,” Mr. Grimm laughs. “There is an awful lot coming at you, and you can only absorb a tiny little bit!”

Yet in his brief time at the helm, he has already formed a vision for how he seeks to expand the reach and work of Catholic Charities in the region. “I would like to start a specifically Catholic men’s counseling program, and I would like to see more marriage counseling offered,” he says. “Marital breakup is a huge cause of poverty in society, and while it’s great to provide people with the help that they need, one special part of our charism is offering help so people don’t need to get in that situation. The most important way is by strengthening marriage, strengthening families.”

As for his own family, Mr. Grimm and his wife, Rose (Teichert ’76), are the parents of seven children, all Thomas Aquinas College graduates, and the grandparents of 17 grandchildren. He is also the director of the Thomas Aquinas College Choir. Please keep him, his family, and his important work at Catholic Charities in your prayers!

Clear Creek monks Clear Creek monks

By God’s grace, the number of ordained alumni priests will soon rise to 68! On this coming Sunday, November 13, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, will confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon two more graduates: Br. Joseph Hudson, O.S.B. (’03), and Br. Robert Nesbit, O.S.B. (’07). Brs. Joseph and Robert are two of the 11 Thomas Aquinas College alumni living and praying at Clear Creek Abbey in Hulbert, Oklahoma.

Please pray for them as they approach their ordination day!

Leveled Cathedral of St. Benedict

In August the monks of the Benedictine community at Monastero San Benedetto — of which three Thomas Aquinas College alumni are members — saw their monastery and their city badly damaged by the 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck central Italy. This past Saturday they experienced yet more disaster as a 6.6-magnitude tremblor rocked the monastery and the region. The 14th century St. Benedict Cathedral, which the brothers serve and which is constructed over the 5th century ruins of the home of Saints Benedict and Scholastica, has been destroyed. Indeed, every church in the city of Norcia is now in ruins. By God’s grace, however, there were no casualties.

“We watch and pray all together on the mountainside for Norcia and for the world,” writes Fr. Benedict on the community’s blog. “The priests go into town to visit the sick and the homeless. We are grateful for your prayers, as ever.”

Please continue to keep Norcia and its monks in your prayers!

Joseph Peterson

Please say a pray for the family of Mary (Gisla) and Matthew Peterson (both ’01), whose five-week-old baby, Joseph, died suddenly last Friday, September 30. “We are overwhelmed not only with grief,” Mr. and Mrs. Peterson write, “but also by the outpouring of love and grace we have received over the last few days.”

There will be a viewing and Rosary at noon on Friday, October 7, followed by a funeral Mass at 1:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Escondido, California. There is also an online donations page for those who would like to assist the Petersons with their medical and funeral expenses.

“Thank you so much for your prayers,” the couple writes. “We are doing our best to offer up the suffering of this cross for our family and our friends. Sustained by our faith, we are blessed to be part of such a community of friends.”

Members of the Life Legal Foundation, including Vice President for Legal Affairs Katie Short (’80, left) and President Paul Blewett (’85, right) Members of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, including Vice President for Legal Affairs Katie Short (’80, left) and President Paul Blewett (’85, right)

In a Riverside, California, courtroom last week, a legal team led by two Thomas Aquinas College graduates delivered a blow to the state’s new assisted-suicide law.

Attorneys from the Life Legal Defense Foundation — whose vice president for legal affairs is Katie Short (’80) and whose president is Paul Blewett (’85) — sought an injunction against California’s End of Life Option Act, which went into effect in June. The attorneys argued that granting doctors the power to help kill their patients deprives sick and vulnerable Californians of the constitutional rights to due process and equal protection.

Although Life Legal did not obtain its sought-after injunction, it achieved an important victory nonetheless. In his ruling, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia granted that the six physicians and the nationwide medical group that Life Legal represents have standing to challenge the law, and that their case is “ripe” — that is, the End of Life Option Act may cause actual (not just hypothetical) harm to those it affects. As a result, Judge Ottolia rejected the state’s attempt to block Life Legal’s lawsuit, thereby allowing the challenge of this unjust law to continue.

Please pray for Mrs. Short, Mr. Blewett, Life Legal, and their continued success!

Officer Rex Mohun (’90)A recent NBC News report describes how a contingent of California Highway Patrolmen has traveled to Cleveland to help local authorities ensure safety at this week’s Republican National Convention. Among the special-response team members chosen for this operation is a graduate of the College, Officer Rex Mohun (’90), who was recently named Officer of the Year for Ventura County.

Due to security concerns, the CHP has disclosed neither the number of officers it has dispatched nor the nature of their assignment. Yet given political tensions surrounding the presidential campaign, the ongoing threat of terrorism, and the recent outburst of violence against police officers that has plagued the nation, the security risks are significant.

Officer Mohun’s wife, Serena (Gimm ’87) reports that his family is praying the Prayer to St. Michael for his safety. Let us all join them in this prayer, for Officer Mohun and for law-enforcement officials everywhere:

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Jeffrey Hanley (’13) and Maximilian Nightingale (’13)
Jeffrey Hanley (’13) and Maximilian Nightingale (’13)

This coming Saturday, the Most Rev. Paul J. Bradley, Bishop of Kalamazoo, Michigan, will ordain two members of the Thomas Aquinas College Class of 2013 to the transitional diaconate: Jeffrey Hanley and Maximilian Nightingale. Kalamazoo natives, Messrs. Hanley and Nightingale both entered the seminary shortly after their graduation and have studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. By God’s grace, these classmates will be ordained to the priesthood in 2017.

Please pray for these two young, courageous servants of God!

Zach Cheeley ('08)

Please pray for the eternal repose of Zach Cheeley (’08), who passed away suddenly yesterday. Below is a message, received via one of Zach's classmates, from his parents:

“Today our beloved Zach was taken from this life to the next. After experiencing cardiac arrest early Thursday a.m., Zach was without oxygen for an unknown period of time: no pulse, no breathing. He experienced severe & irreparable brain damage as a result. 911 responded & he was revived after 20 minutes of CPR, so we're thankful for their efforts. We held out hope that things might turn around until the EEG revealed Saturday a.m. that there was no cortex brain activity at all & only minimal brain stem activity. So we removed the ventilator today after the organ transplant team was in place to take what Zach had signed on to donate, all this with unanimous family support. He passed peacefully at 12:35 p.m. today surrounded by his family that he loved so much. Zach was a rare breed & definitely a person who marched to his own drum.

“I can't begin to describe the sadness that I feel ... for losing him so young ... But, I trust an omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign Lord who loves Zach even more than I do.”

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.

Rev. Francis Michael Gloudeman, O.Praem.On June 6, 1991 — the Solemnity of St. Norbert — Rev. Francis Michael Gloudeman, O.Praem. (’84), received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Twenty-five years later, this Norbertine priest of St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, California, is celebrating his Silver Jubilee.  Thanks be to God!

Please pray for Fr. Francis, that God may continue to bless him in his service of Christ and His church.

Blog Categories

Suzie Jackson (’15)

“The texts we are reading ask the fundamental questions in life, which every human person needs to be able to answer. You want to answer these questions, and you experience the beauty of wonder in discussing them.”

– Suzie Jackson (’15)

Manassas, Va.


“May God bless Thomas Aquinas College for its excellent performance as a Catholic college since its foundation in 1971, a college where parents can send their children and be sure that this college is maintaining the best ideals of our faith and is giving not only information but formation.”

– Francis Cardinal Arinze

Prefect Emeritus

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments