Faith in Action Blog
Under the Rule of St. Benedict, the community must be self-sufficient, and the brothers have taken up a successful brewing business to help pay the bills. For several years they have marketed their Birra Nursia in Italy, and in April they began — with Br. Augustine (Philip Wilmeth ’13) as their brewmaster — selling in the United States, too. Birra Nursia’s two beers, a blond ale and a Belgian strong ale, are now both available for purchase throughout the U.S. via the monastery’s website.
In an interview with Rev. Dwight Longenecker, Br. Augustine explains that, for the monks, brewing is part of their life of prayer. “The goal of our life is to pray always, whether brewing, cooking, or walking down the corridor,” he said. “Continual prayer; it may happen when we are brewing or bottling or drinking or while we are praying.”
Thomas Aquinas College Governor Bernarda Neal helped coordinate the U.S. launch of Birra Nursia, which has attracted considerable media attention. In addition to the segment on Fox News, the monks have enjoyed coverage in Aleteia and the Los Angeles Times, which proclaimed, “If holy contact is paramount, Birra Nursia delivers the most monk for your buck. From the hilltop monastery in central Italy, there are no laymen involved in the production or packaging of the beer, and no retailers or bartenders between you and this Benedectine brew.”
Rev. Mr. Miguel Gaspar Batres, O.Praem (’08) talks to students at St. Michael's Abbey Preparatory School The College just learned of another alumnus who was ordained to the transitional diaconate over the past weekend: Rev. Mr. Miguel Gaspar Batres, O.Praem (’08). The Most Rev. Kevin William Vann, J.C.D., Bishop of Orange, ordained Frater Miguel, a Norbertine monk at St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, California, on Saturday, June 25, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Costa Mesa.
Following the ordinations of Rev. Messrs. Jeffrey Hanley (’13) and Maximilian Nightingale (’13) on Saturday, plus Rev. Mr. Deneys Williamson (’10) on May 26, that makes four new deacons in the last month — and, by God’s grace, four new priests within the next year.
Thanks be to God!
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!
Kathryn Claahsen (’12), Bridget Heffernan (’13), Clara Diodati (’17), Bridget Lynch (’12), Meghan Reichert (’18), Emily Sanchez (’17), and Emily (Barry ’11) Sullivan
The seven women pictured above, four alumnae and three current students at Thomas Aquinas College, all participated in the recently concluded GIVEN Catholic Young Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.
Organized by the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious — whose former chair, Sr. Regina Marie Gorman, O.C.D., was the College’s 2015 Commencement Speaker — the forum included 300 Catholic lay women from across the United States, joined by 75 religious sisters. Its purpose was to provide faith formation to selected attendees, aiding them in their work within their parishes, communities, or dioceses. The weeklong forum included talks from prominent women leaders within the Church, such as Helen Alvaré and Sr. Mary Prudence Allen, R.S.M., as well as small mentoring groups.
In order to attend the forum, participants had to complete a rigorous application that included three letters of recommendation and a detailed action plan for upcoming projects related to their work or apostolates. All expenses for the forum, including travel and accommodations at The Catholic University of America, were paid for through the generous support of the Hilton Foundation.
Sr. Mary Josefa of the Eucharist (left) and her fellow Benedictine, Sr. Judith Marie of Jesus, upon making their solemn vows The College has just received the joyful news that on April 9, Sr. Mary Josefa of the Eucharist, OSB (Kathleen Holcomb ’07), made her Solemn Profession of Vows as a member of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles. The vows took place during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at St. James Catholic Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, with the Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, the Most Rev. James Vann Johnston, Jr., presiding.
There are now 41 professed religious among the College’s alumni, and 65 ordained priests.
The video above is a message of welcome from the incoming headmaster of Holy Spirit Academy in Monticello, Minnesota — Andrew M. Lang (’06). A private high school that features a classical curriculum, Holy Spirit strives to offer a faithfully Catholic education in “an environment grounded in the Truth, which prepares students for a life at the service of others.”
Previously Mr. Lang, who studied at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California, served as a pastoral associate for a cluster of four parishes in Bellevue, Iowa. He officially assumes his new post at Holy Spirit Academy on July 1.
“Please join me in my prayers,” writes this husband and father of five, “for a peaceful and expedient transition for my family and for continued success under my leadership of this promising classical Catholic high school.”
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.
In the new film Me Before You, alumna journalist Katrina Trinko (’09) sees the inversion of It’s a Wonderful Life.
Katrina Trinko (’09)Writing for the Daily Signal, of which she is the managing editor, Miss Trinko regards the differences between the two films as a barometer of cultural decline. Whereas the Hollywood of Frank Capra made “movies that affirmed life’s beauty, even when it’s tough, even when things are dark,” Me Before You “wants the audience to believe that personal choice comes first, even if it means leaving that ‘awful hole’ in loved ones’ lives.”
Thus, in It’s a Wonderful Life, we see how George Bailey’s loved ones would suffer without him. Me Without You, on the other hand, attempts to make the case that life is better for all those still living after the protagonist (a quadriplegic) commits suicide.
“But,” Miss Trinko observes, “it doesn’t work.”
Try as the filmmakers might, they are unable to put a happy face on a tragedy, and the movie concludes with an unintended, but undeniable, tone of sorrow and despair. Contrast that, Miss Trinko urges, with the ending of It’s a Wonderful Life — “an exuberant George Bailey kissing his kids and wife” — and there can be little doubt which Hollywood world view is not only good and beautiful, but also true.
The full review is available via the Daily Signal.
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.
Officer Rex (’90) and Serena (Grimm ’87) Mohun
A two-decade veteran of the California Highway Patrol, Officer Rex Mohun (’90) has received “Officer of the Year” honors from the Kiwanis Club of Ventura — for the third time.
At a ceremony at Oxnard’s Tower Club on May 22, the civic organization presented its annual award — given to one officer from each law-enforcement agency in the county — to Officer Mohun, who previously received the honor in 1998 and 2014. The California Highway Patrol chooses its honorees via a vote of fellow officers, meaning that Officer Mohun has earned the highest regard of his peers. Below are the words that his superior, CHP Captain Terry Roberts, offered in his support:
Throughout the years, Officer Mohun has earned the respect and admiration of his fellow officers and supervisors. Officer Mohun has consistently and without exception displayed sound judgment, leadership abilities, and a strong work ethic that is second to none.
Officer Mohun has willingly taken on many responsibilities and collateral assignments within the Department. Officer Mohun is a dedicated Motorcycle Officer and serves as a vital member on the Coastal Division Protective Services Detail, which provides escorts and protection for visiting dignitaries. Officer Mohun has completed comprehensive training courses during his tenure and regularly serves in the capacity of Field Training Officer, Physical Methods of Arrest Instructor, Certified Motorcycle Training Officer, Range Master and Non-Lethal Training Ammunition Instructor, Special Response Team, Warrant Service Team, Taser Instructor, and Emergency Medical Response Instructor. To say that Officer Mohun’s contribution to each of these assignments is excellent would certainly be an understatement.
Officer Mohun lives in Santa Paula with his beautiful wife of 30 years, Serena (Grimm ’87). They are the proud parents of twelve children. Two years ago Officer Mohun had the honor of pinning the California Highway Patrol badge on his oldest son, Robert (’09), who is currently assigned to the Altadena Area Office.
Officer Mohun is a credit to the California Highway Patrol and the citizens of California. He is truly deserving of your recognition as the Kiwanis Club of Ventura Officer of the Year.