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College Celebrates <br>St. Thomas Day for First Time on Two Coasts

College Celebrates
St. Thomas Day for First Time on Two Coasts

Posted: January 31, 2020

Another beloved Thomas Aquinas College tradition has been replicated and adapted for the College’s newly opened campus in Northfield, Massachusetts: the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. On Monday, January 28, students and faculty on both coasts celebrated the occasion with a fitting combination of prayer, scholarship, and fun.

The day began on both campuses with a community Mass, at which members of the faculty — dressed in academic regalia in honor of the College’s beloved patron — led the procession into the respective chapels. At Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel in New England, Rev. Joseph Koterski, S.J., associate professor of philosophy at Fordham University, served as the principal celebrant. In his homily, Fr. Koterski urged the College’s students to follow the example of St. Thomas, calling his feast day “an invitation … to do as he did — not only to work as hard as he did, but especially to pray for the wisdom to see it aright, and especially the wisdom to use it well.”

 The  faculty of Thomas Aquinas College, New England, process into Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel The faculty of Thomas Aquinas College, New England, process into Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel

Three hours later Rev. Dominic Legge, O.P., assistant professor of systematic theology at the Dominican House of Studies, served as the principal celebrant at the morning Mass in California’s Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel. “We discover, as we study Aquinas, that he’s not only our master in the classroom, he’s a master of the spiritual life,” said Fr. Legge in his homily. “He, too, can be a friend, a companion on the way, the way of the Lord Jesus.”

  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California
  • St. Thomas Day Mass California 2020
    Slideshow: St. Thomas Day Mass, California

That afternoon New England students and members of the faculty gathered in the Dolben Auditorium, where Fr. Koterski delivered the campus’ first-ever St. Thomas Day Lecture, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God. “Learning how to read well can be a way of learning how to meditate. It is not a matter of reading quickly or reading a lot of things but a case of reading well,” said Fr. Koterski. “For Aquinas, this is the union of the love of learning and the desire for God.”

On the California campus’ St. Cecilia Hall, Fr. Legge gave the St. Thomas Day Lecture, Does the Father Want the Son to Die? Aquinas on Christ’s Passion and the Trinity. In his address, the Dominican argued that, contrary to a criticism common among modern theologians, St. Thomas’ account of Our Lord’s Passion is deeply Trinitarian. Among various examples, he drew upon the Common Doctor’s commentary on the Letter to the Romans. “Aquinas’ choice of words evokes the invisible mission of the Holy Spirit, since Christ’s human charity is the effect of the Holy Spirit’s proper and personal presence,” he said. “By tracing this charity back to the Father, Aquinas is also underlining that every effect of the Spirit’s presence in Christ’s humanity is therefore also from the Father.”

The New England St. Thomas Day Dinner The New England St. Thomas Day Dinner

Both campuses marked the occasion with a festive early dinner, after which came a favorite campus tradition, Trivial and Quadrivial Pursuits. In this campus-wide quiz show, famous for its extravagant costumes and over-the-top displays of gamesmanship, three teams — each drawn from members of all four classes — vie in a competition to answer questions taken from the College’s classical curriculum. Each team chooses a theme (sometimes serious, sometimes inane) and corresponding costumes. A  panel of tutors poses the questions and judges the answers.

  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits New England 2020
    Slideshow: New England Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits

Because there are not yet upperclassmen on the New England campus, students broke from the custom of choosing seniors as captains and elected two underclassmen per team. The Grammarians, led by Rosie Salas (’22) and Paul Dinan (’23) opted for  a Latin theme and, upon entering Gould Hall, performed a lengthy skit about the Stem Method, which is employed in the College’s language classes. The Logicians went with a Mafia theme, for which captains Jean Guerreiro (’22) and Rachel Wrobleski ’(23) played the roles of the Godfather and his wife. And the Rhetoricians, dressed in costumes drawn from biker gangs and West Side Story, were led by Nathan Andrues (’22) and Ben Domnarski (’23). The energy was high, and the game came down to the wire with all three teams getting a crack at the winning theology question. The Rhetoricians, however, got the win, completing a come-from-behind victory.

  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
  • Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits California 2020
    Slideshow: California Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits

Meanwhile, in California the Rhetoricians fittingly chose a saintly theme, with captain Marcus Porto dressing as none other than St. Thomas himself. Senior Morgan Sims led the Logicians, who were dressed as pirates. And the Grammarians opted for a “Deplorables” theme, with captain Isaiah  Brittain (’20) playing the role of President Trump, “#winning” the contest handily.

Pete Colarelli

“Thomas Aquinas College’s best asset is its ability to make faith part of everything. It permeates the social life and the academic life.”

– Pete Colarelli (’92)

First Ward Alderman, Lockport, Ill.

“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

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