Faith in Action Blog
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.”
A tribute to Rev. Jacques Hamel, who was martyred today in Normandy, by alumnus cartoonist Patrick Cross (’14):
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.
The Rosary and funeral Mass for Loraine (Ivers ’81) Hoonhout will take place this Saturday, March 12, at St. Louise de Marillac Parish in Covina, California. The Rosary will begin at 8:45 a.m., and the Mass at 9:30 a.m. Burial will follow at Holy Cross cemetery in Pomona, after which there will be potluck reception at the home of Julia and Martin Bowles. (Directions will be provided at the cemetery.) If you would like to bring a dish, please contact Loraine’s sister, Maureen Coughlin (’79).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
164 Apollo Road, SE
Carrollton, OH 44615
Shield of Roses
P.O. Box 9053
Glendale, CA 91226
Please pray for the soul of Loraine (Ivers ’81) Hoonhout, who, following a years-long struggle with liver cancer, passed away peacefully in her sleep on the morning of Saturday, March 5.
Please also pray for the consolation of her family, including her beloved husband of 30 years, Ronald; their three children, Clare (’08), Peter, and Lisa Davis; her 3-month old grandson, Christopher Davis; her two brothers, Jim and Harry; and her four sisters, all of whom are graduates of the College: Maureen Coughlin (’79), Marian Hartzell (’82), Jessica Langley (’85), and Sr. Maria Basiléa (Margaretha ’88).
The Rosary and funeral Mass for Mrs. Hoonhout will take place this Saturday, March 12, at St. Louise de Marillac Parish in Covina, California. The Rosary will begin at 8:45 a.m., and the Mass at 9:30 a.m. Burial will follow at Holy Cross cemetery in Pomona, after which there will be a reception; details are forthcoming.
May her soul, and those of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Writing on his personal blog, Mark Langley (’89) reviews an off-Broadway performance of a new play — written and directed by a Tony and Pulitzer award-winning author — about two late members of the Thomas Aquinas College family, Louise and John Schmitt.
Louise and John SchmittThe Schmitts were the parents of seven Thomas Aquinas College alumni, including Mr. Langley’s wife, Stephanie (’89), and the grandparents of six graduates and six current students. Mr. Schmitt, moreover, joined the teaching faculty in 1974 and was instrumental in organizing the College’s first Commencement ceremony. He left in 1979 to found the Trivium School, a residential high school offering a classical curriculum in Lancaster, Massachusetts. Many Trivium graduates have gone on to attend the College, and several of the College’s alumni have gone on to teach at Trivium.
Yet the reason that Mr. and Mrs. Schmitt figure so prominently in John Patrick Shanley’s recently debuted Prodigal Son has to do with their work prior to their time at the College, specifically in the 1960s, when Mr. Schmitt was the founding headmaster of the St. Thomas More School in New Hampshire. One of his students was a talented but rebellious boy who found his time at the school to be transformative. That student was Mr. Shanley, who has gone on to great acclaim as the screenwriter of Moonstruck and Doubt.
Featuring music by none other than Paul Simon, Prodigal Son tells the story of Jim Quinn, a character based on the adolescent Shanley. The Schmitts show extraordinary patience and dedication to the young man, for reasons, the audience learns, having largely to do with their own great personal suffering. As Mr. Langley writes:
“Mr. and Mrs. Schmitt .. share a well concealed sorrow, a sorrow caused by the tragic death of their own son. This sorrow becomes the source of Quinn’s redemption. Their hearts softened by grief, and harrowed by suffering, impel them to see the good in Quinn, despite his many expellable indiscretions, and they are able to see him through to the end — drawing out his hidden talents and mercifully allowing him to graduate — thus providing him with a sense of self-worth and new opportunity. …
“The play revealed a hidden chapter in the lives of John and Louise Schmitt. The events occurred when my wife was only a year old. Perhaps strangely, yet somewhat typical of many in that generation, Stephanie’s parents did not air their personal lives. They never spoke about these events to me and rarely if ever to their own children. In point of fact, John and Louise Schmitt suffered through not just one, but the tragic deaths of two of their children.”
The founder and the academic dean of The Lyceum, a classical school in Cleveland, Ohio, Mr. Langley writes that Prodigal Son “is about the mysterious role that suffering plays in life — even the seemingly senseless suffering and heartbreaking pain that comes with the death of one’s own child, one’s own son.” His wife, and her siblings, he adds, are “grateful for the gift that Shanley had given them through this play,” as it has helped to give them “an answer about the mysterious workings of God’s grace in the deaths of their siblings … deaths whose explanations until now had been consigned to the inexplicable mysteries of God’s Divine plan.”
Matthew Reiser (’00), a graduate of the College and the husband of Sharon (Raskob ’99), passed away suddenly last week on the Feast of the Presentation. His funeral will take place at the College, with a Rosary vigil the evening preceding. Below are the details:
Friday, February 12
6:00-7:00 p.m. Visitation
7:00 p.m. Recitation of the Rosary
Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel
Saturday, February 13
10:00 a.m. Funeral Mass
Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel
Interment will take place at Pearce Brothers Santa Paula Cemetery, after which there will be a luncheon reception in St. Joseph Commons.
Please pray for the repose of Matt’s soul, for Sharon’s consolation, and for the consolation of the Reiser and Raskob families. If you would like to help defray the cost of funeral arrangements, you can contribute to a fund set up for that purpose.
Head Chaplain Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P., reports the sad news that Matthew Reiser (’00) passed away at 5:20 this afternoon. Fr. Paul was at his hospital bedside, as was Matt’s wife, Sharon (Raskob ’99), and Matt’s mother and stepfather. “Matt died peacefully,” says Fr. Paul. “It was a great privilege to be there. We said prayers for the dying, the Rosary, sang the ‘Salve Regina.’ Along with the great difficulty of the death, there was deep consolation from the faith, and peace.”
Please pray for the repose of Matt’s soul and the consolation of Sharon and their families. “Sharon knew of everyone’s prayers and loving concern,” says Fr. Paul, “and wants everyone to know of the great consolation she is receiving from you all.”
May his soul, and those of all the faithful departed, rest in peace,
Margaret and Stephen Chavez (’87) with their three daughters
Stephen Chavez (’87) passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on November 20. He is the brother of Phillip Chavez (’86), Monica (Stoutz ’92), and Katherine (Kratz ’97). He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and their three daughters, Rachel, Sarah, and Rebekah.
Monday, November 30
Funeral Mass: 10:30 a.m.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
717 Bradford Ave.
Burial immediately following, Queen of Heaven Cemetery
Donations may be directed to: “Stephen Chavez Memorial Fund” for education expenses of the three daughters of Stephen and Margaret: 16722 Meadowview Drive; Yorba Linda, CA 92886.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Stephen Chavez (’87), who passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on November 20. He is the brother of Phillip Chavez (’86), Monica (Stoutz ’92), and Katherine (Kratz ’97). He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and their three daughters, Rachel, Sarah, and Rebekah. His funeral Mass and burial service will be held at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Rowland Heights, California. Date and time to be announced.