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Students Celebrate <br>the Universal Church at <em>Cor Unum</em> 2018

Students Celebrate
the Universal Church at Cor Unum 2018

Posted: April 12, 2018

On Sunday evening, the rafters of St. Joseph Commons were festooned with flags from around the world. On the wall beside the community bulletin board were dozens of handwritten copies of the Hail Mary, each translated into a different language — Nepali, French, Hindi, and Portuguese, among others.  Students had gathered for an event of their own creation, Cor Unum, or One Heart,” named for a former dicastery of the Roman Curia, signifying, in the words of Bl. Paul VI, “a heart that beats in rhythm with the heart of Christ.”

Now in its second year, Cor Unum showcases the international character of the student body and celebrates the universality of the Church. Sunday’s event began with a late-afternoon seminar on Pope St. John Paull II’s 2001 message for the World Day of Peace, Dialogue Between Cultures for a Civilization of Love and Peace. Leading the seminar was tutor Dr. Anthony Andres, who for years directed the College’s conferences on the Social Doctrine of the Church, and Director of College Relations Anne Forsyth, who lived in Africa and the Caribbean when her late husband was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service.

From there followed the celebration in St. Joseph Commons, complete with the global decorations, cultural performances, and foods from around the world. College Chaplain Rev. Robert Marczewski offered the invocation in his native Polish, and a student recited, in Russian, the first 14 verses of St. John’s Gospel. While dining on food from Brazil and the Mediterranean, students listened as their classmates performed music from South America, Ireland, and Eastern Europe’s Jewish diaspora.

Marcus Porto ('20)Among those who performed was Marcus Porto (’20), who hails from Brazil, and who gave a  brief talk about how he first learned of the College — and the difference it has made in his life. At the age of 15, he said, he left the Faith and was “very far from God,” when, at the age of 20, he enrolled in a Greek and Latin immersion program in Rome. It was there that he first learned about Thomas Aquinas College from an alumnus, Joshua Lo (’12), who “inspired me in the way he spoke, in the way he addressed the questions we would discuss every day, and in his lived faith.” At Mr. Lo’s urging, Mr. Porto applied to the College and was accepted.

Upon beginning his studies, Mr. Porto soon learned “that reason and faith can go together; they are not opposite.” This realization gave him a new outlook on the Faith, answering, as he put it, “two yearnings” of his heart — faith in “a higher reality” and “the capacity to understand the world” — that he had once thought incompatible. “That was what brought me, as you might know, last weekend to return to the Church,” said Mr. Porto, “and finally turn to Him, Who from the beginning was leading me to Himself.”

The night ended with a benediction from Fr. Marczewski, who led students in praying the words that Jesus gave the Church, in the Church’s own universal language:

Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
sanctificetur Nomen Tuum;
adveniat Regnum Tuum;
fiat voluntas Tua,
sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a Malo.

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

“May God bless Thomas Aquinas College for its excellent performance as a Catholic college since its foundation in 1971, a college where parents can send their children and be sure that this college is maintaining the best ideals of our faith and is giving not only information but formation.”

– Francis Cardinal Arinze

Prefect Emeritus

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments