Skip to Content
College Marks Start of <br>2019-20 Academic Year on California Campus

College Marks Start of
2019-20 Academic Year on California Campus

Posted: August 26, 2019

“None of us here today have come of our own initiative,” Rev. Joseph Illo told the 104 freshmen gathered on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College, California, for its 49th Convocation exercises, the official start of the 2019-20 academic year. “Higher education is the response to a voice, the vox Dei, a vocation.”

The pastor of San Francisco’s Star of the Sea Church, Fr. Illo urged the members of the Class of 2023 to be mindful of this divine command. “It is Almighty God Who calls His servants,” he continued. “This college is His college. It is His initiative.”

  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit
  • California Convocation Mass 2019
    Slideshow: Mass of the Holy Spirit

Coming just two days after the first-ever Convocation on the College’s New England campus, the day began in California with a Mass of the Holy Spirit in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, with Fr. Illo serving as the principal celebrant and homilist. “Thomas Aquinas College’s 49th academic year is historic,” the College’s former head chaplain said in his homily. “We have gone beyond California, from the missions of St. Junipero Serra, even to the other end of our immense American continent. Three centuries after Spanish Franciscans came west, missionaries have now been sent east.”

  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation
  • California Matriculation Ceremony 2019
    Slideshow: Matriculation

As parents, upperclassmen, and friends sang “Come Holy Ghost,” the group then made its way into St. Cecilia Lecture and Concert Hall for the Matriculation ceremony. There, as Director of Admissions Jon Daly called each freshman by name, the students came forward, one at a time, to greet President Michael F. McLean and Fr. Illo. While their classmates cheered, the freshmen signed their name’s in the California registry, marking their entry into the College’s community of learners.

In addition to the new students, the College welcomed its newest tutors: Dr. Benjamin Block and Dr. Peter Cross (’11). With Head Chaplain Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P., leading them, the educators made the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity, as do all new Catholic members of the College’s teaching faculty.

In his Matriculation Address, President Michael F. McLean advised the new students that, even though their education will prepare them well for citizenship in its fullest sense, they should not become too concerned with worldly or political concerns over these next four years. “St. Augustine reminds us that we have only one foot in the earthly city,” said Dr. McLean. “The most important work of Catholic liberal education, and of Thomas Aquinas College, is that carried out in its philosophy and theology tutorials and in its chapel and other places of prayer. This work helps to perfect our highest faculty and enables us to grow in wisdom and in faith, hope, and charity.” 

The culmination of the day then came when Dr. McLean proclaimed the start of the academic year on the California campus — to which the students responded with loud and sustained applause. In gratitude and joy, members of the faculty and Board of Governors then processed out of St. Cecilia Hall, all singing “Immaculate Mary” on their way.

Rev. John Marie Bingham

“The culture at the College, the community was very formative for me. I saw joyful people living their Catholic faith, doing it to the best of their ability, and not being ashamed of it.”

– Rev. John Marie Bingham, O.P. (’00)

Parochial Vicar, Saint Dominic’s Parish, Benicia, Calif

“I am full of admiration for what the College, its founders, its leadership, its faculty and staff, and its students and alumni have achieved.”

– George Cardinal Pell

Archbishop of Sydney

NEWS FROM THE COLLEGE