Faith in Action Blog
On March 13, the day of His Holiness Pope Francis’ election to the Chair of St. Peter, Megan Baird (’02) launched a Facebook page dedicated to the new Holy Father. “Initially, it was a small project that I wanted to do during Lent in memory of my Mom, who died of cancer in 2007,” explains Miss Baird, an assistant manager for the Fort Worth Library system. “My mom would have LOVED this new Pope.”
Since then, Miss Baird’s online tribute has grown into something much, much larger. In eight months the page has received more than 50,000 “likes” — 50,650 as of this writing.
Friends of Pope Francis, which is “devoted to the spiritual support of our new Holy Father and the Church,” invites visitors to “leave messages and prayers of support for him.” Its feed contains many of the already iconic photos of Pope Francis visiting with the faithful, notable quotations, and prayers left in his behalf.
As its readership has expanded so, too, has Friends of Pope Francis’ mission. “The page has broadened in scope to honor our Catholic faith and the wise words of Catholics and previous popes and saints,” Miss Baird writes. “For Pope Francis himself said, ‘Christ is the center; not the Successor of Peter.’ It would be appropriate, then, to put focus on the Faith of the Church as well.”
The video above promotes a new Catholic boys boarding school, Gregory the Great Academy, which is being led by two Thomas Aquinas College alumni: Sean Fitzpatrick (’02) and Luke Culley (’94). Founded in the tradition of St. Gregory Academy — a recently shuttered school that the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter operated for nearly 20 years in Elmhurst, Penn. — GGA aspires to create a similar experience, rooted in the liberal arts and orthodox Catholicism. The new school, located in the Pocono Mountains, recently began its inaugural year with 23 students. “Please keep the Academy and its quixotic mission in your prayers,” asks Mr. Fitzpatrick, the school’s headmaster, “and help spread the word in this new endeavor for Catholic education.”
Please pray for their efforts, as well of those of other alumni who are working to foster a climate of holiness and excellence in Catholic high schools.
From Director of Alumni Relations Mark Kretschmer (’99):
Eric Stoutz (’93) passed away peacefully early this morning.
He and his family have been praying that his death would bring about great good for many people. As we continue to pray for Eric and his family, let us also lift up this intention.
Thank you all for your prayers.
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.
Director of Alumni Relations Mark Kretschmer (’99) has sent out the following prayer request for Eric Stoutz (’93):
As you know, Eric has been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer and has recently started receiving chemotherapy. Eric, Monica (Chavez ’92), and their eight children have felt buoyed up by all our prayerful support. After being taken to the emergency room yesterday, he is now stabilized after a serious episode with internal bleeding. He is not out of the woods yet and is on a respirator. The family is asking that we pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet today at 3:00 p.m. (or when you get this) for Eric and his family.
Let us join together in praying a Chaplet for Eric’s health, for Monica’s strength, for the well-being of their dear children, and guidance for his healthcare professionals.
Please pray. Updates about Eric’s condition are available via the Prayers for Eric Stoutz Facebook page.
Mary Rose (Bacani ’93) Valenti, the recently retired TV producer/reporter who left the news business to turn her full attention to motherhood, has written two new columns for the Knights of Columbus’ “Fathers for Good” website. In the first, Little Rich Girl, she describes how, in striving to give her daughter, Chiara, a simple life, she has come to appreciate simplicity all the more for herself:
I provide a daily rhythm in the home that’s important for me as a human being. Manual labor, involving my whole person, connects me to reality, fulfills me wholly because I’m using my body. And if I move slowly and rhythmically, almost prayerfully, my child absorbs this, too. She imitates not only what I do, but the spirit with which I do it.
When Chiara was born, I stopped “working.” I now have a work that demands my whole being. Aside from my love, the greatest thing I can offer is a spirit of poverty that enriches her life.
This theme continues in the second column, A Nightly Prayer, in which Mrs. Valenti writes about other ways that motherhood has shaper her outlook:
“… our lifestyle decisions have surprised us. We always thought we were city people, but we found our happiness in the suburbs, close to quiet nature and away from the busyness. We are happily getting rid of stuff and are so content with owning very few things. We are starting to appreciate the mystery of Sunday, our Sabbath, when we let ourselves rest.”
Mrs. Valenti also reveals the exciting news that she and her husband, Richard, are now expecting their second child! May God bless their growing family!
Rosary: Friday, September 27, at 7:00 p.m. in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel
Funeral Mass: Saturday, September 28, 10:00 a.m. in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel
Graveside service: Immediately following the Funeral Mass, Santa Paula Cemetery, located off Santa Paula Street at 380 Cemetery Road
Reception: The Grimm’s home in Ojai at 10882 Creek Road
If planning to attend the reception,
please consider bringing a finger food or dessert.
Thomas Aquinas College chaplain Rev. Hildebrand Garceau, O.Praem. (’78), reports that a beloved alumna, Rosie Grimm (’10), passed into eternity earlier this evening after a protracted battle with cancer. She died surrounded by her family, who had just completed praying the Rosary. It was the most peaceful and beautiful death, Fr. Hildebrand says, that he has ever seen.
Rosie’s brother Jack (’15) has sent out the following reflection to friends and family:
My sweet sister Rosie died at about 6:20 tonight, after praying the Rosary with the family. She has been the most wonderful example of courage and faith that I have ever known or seen, as well as being a deeply encouraging and loving friend.
“Where shall we find a better daughter, or a kinder sister, or a truer friend?”
I look forward to seeing her again. May she rest in peace.
Please pray for the repose of Rosie’s soul and the consolation of her family.
Bl. Miguel Pro, pray for us!
Below is the latest update on Rosie Grimm (’10), from her sister Wendy Irene (‘99):
Thank you so much, everyone, for your prayers and to those who helped look for a relic of Bl. Miguel Pro. Deo gratias, a first-class relic has turned up — within driving distance! — which will arrive in a few hours. Our dear Jesuit friend will come to bless Rosie with it tonight. While Rosie’s physical condition continues to seriously deteriorate, we have already felt blessings flowing from Fr. Pro’s intercession and your prayers to him!
We want to invite you to join with us in praying a novena to Bl. Miguel Pro. We’re praying the following prayers, the first of which is by Fr. Pro. I asked Rosie what to request for her; she said, ask for a cure and for the same things Fr. Pro prayed for.
Prayer of Bl. Miguel Pro
Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with afflictions? Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so. If life be harder, love makes it also stronger, and only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. Love without egotism, without relying on self, but enkindling in the depth of the heart an ardent thirst to love and suffer for all those around us: a thirst that neither misfortune nor contempt can extinguish ... I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith ... Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love. Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence. Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee. Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life. Amen.
Blessed martyr of Christ the King, Father Miguel Agustin Pro, you are a special patron of those who labor, those in illness, depression, or despair. You are also a friend of musicians, the captives, and all who work toward social justice. Your beloved brothers, the Jesuits, revere you and count you among the ranks of their saints. You love your people of Mexico and all those loyal to the Church. I thank the Sacred Heart for loving you so dearly. I pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe whom you love so dear, to intercede for the cause of your canonization. I pray that you remember me in your eternal and well-deserved rejoicing, and also my needs: a cure for Rosie, if that’s God’s will, and that she receive all the graces of Fr. Pro’s prayer. Through your courageous life and martyrdom you have won the crown of life everlasting. Remember me, Blessed Miguel, for I remember you. Viva Cristo Rey! Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!
Most Reverend John F. Donoghue
Two years ago, we featured an item about Col. Sam Shaneyfelt, USAF (’86), who was then assuming command of the 35th Operations Group at Misawa Air Base in Misawa, Japan. After completing that tour of duty, Col. Shaneyfelt has returned stateside.
“I’ve been reassigned to help manage the production of the Department of Defense’s newest fighter aircraft, the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35),” he writes. He is now working at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia at Headquarters, Air Combat Command. “I’ve traded in my lovely F-16 Fighter for a desk that doesn’t move nearly as fast,” he jokes. “But the job’s important, and I’m happy to get to work getting this fighter into the hands of capable pilots.”
One year ago Sr. Erika Brown (’11) entered the first stage of formation, or candidacy, for the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. Tomorrow, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Sr. Erika will enter the second stage, or postulancy. According to the Carmelites’ website, the postulancy — which typically lasts 6-9 months — is a time “to deepen the postulants’ awareness of their personal consecration to Christ through their personal commitment to prayer, doctrinal study and communal living.”
“I feel so blessed to be a part of this Carmelite community praying ‘in the heart of the Church,’” wrote Sr. Erika last year. “The Lord has been working in my life in wonderful ways. I am so grateful for my time at Thomas Aquinas College: It fostered a desire to know and love the Lord which could not be quenched. God is so good!”
Please pray for Sr. Erika as she continues to answer God’s call!