Category Archives: Newman Guide

Thomas Aquinas College Named a “Best Value” College by The Princeton Review

Thomas Aquinas College is one of the nation’s 75 “Best Value” private schools according to The Princeton Review in its just-published book, “The Best Value Colleges: 2013 Edition” and on a special area on its website. Thomas Aquinas College is the only private Catholic college in California to be named a “Best Value,” and one of only five private Catholic institutions in the country, along with Boston College, the College of the Holy Cross, Georgetown University, and the University of Notre Dame.

Says Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s Senior VP/Publisher, “We commend Thomas Aquinas College and all of our extraordinary 2013 ‘Best Value Colleges’ for their stellar academics and for all they are doing to make their colleges affordable, especially for applicants with need in these tough economic times.”

In its profile of Thomas Aquinas College, The Princeton Review quotes extensively from students at the College who were surveyed for the book.  Among their comments: 1) Thomas Aquinas College is a school that “takes learning seriously for its own sake, not just as preparation for a job;” 2) the College has “a strong Catholic identity” and “a rigorous curriculum,” where “professors … lead you to truth without forcing it on you;” and 3) “You get all kinds of people here — but one thing they have in common is a desire to search for the truth.”

The Best Value Colleges, subtitled “The 150 Best-Buy Colleges and What It Takes to Get In,” profiles 75 public and 75 private colleges the Princeton Review designates as “Best Values” based on assessments that examined more than 30 data points covering academics, cost, and financial aid.  The Company chose the 150 schools from 650 colleges and universities at which it conducted institutional and student surveys for this project in 2011-12. Of the 75 schools in each group, the top 10 colleges are ranked 1 to 10, and the remaining 65 are listed in alphabetical order.

USA TODAY, the Princeton Review’s publishing partner for this project since 2009, has posted the Company’s 2013 list and an exclusive database of “Best Value Colleges” information at a special area of USA TODAY.com: http://bestvaluecolleges.usatoday.com  There, users can find detailed stats and facts about each college and sort the list several ways including by state, tuition, enrollment, and average freshman grant.

The Princeton Review selected its “Best Value Colleges” schools based on institutional data and student opinion surveys collected from the 650 colleges and universities that the company regards as the nation’s academically best undergraduate institutions. The selection process analyzed more than 30 data points broadly covering academics, cost, and financial aid. Cost and financial aid data came from the Company’s fall 2012 surveys of school administrators. Data on academics came from its fall 2011 through fall 2012 surveys of school administrators. Data from students attending the schools over these years included their assessments of their professors and their satisfaction with their financial aid awards.

College of Saint Mary Magdalen President George Harne Pledges Fidelity to Pope Benedict XVI

The College of St. Mary Magdalen President Dr. George Harne.

On February 2, 2013 Dr. George Harne, president at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen, pledged his fidelity to Pope Benedict XVI.   The signing of this pledge took place during the third annual Ex Corde Presidents’ Roundtable and Forum hosted by Christendom College.

The event was an opportunity for presidents at faithfully Catholic colleges to come together, pray, receive spiritual nourishment, meet fellow presidents, share ideas, and renew fidelity to the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church.

His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze was the special guest of the Roundtable.   Cardinal Arinze offered Mass and led a reflection on the Presidents’ spiritual role in maintaining Catholic identity in education.

“This event provided the occasion for college presidents to examine the challenges and opportunities facing Catholic institutions of higher education, and contemplate how to best overcome the challenges and utilize the opportunities,” said Dr. Harne of the Roundtable discussions.

The Ex Corde Presidents’ Roundtable was concluded with the presidents signing of the Pledge of Loyalty to uphold the teachings of the Magisterium.   Cardinal Arinze will personally present the Pledge of Fidelity to Pope Benedict XVI.

Wyoming Catholic College to Host Cardinal Raymond Burke for Catholic Education Symposium

Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, will be joining faculty, students, and a small group of Catholic men and women for the “Discover a New Renaissance: Celebrating the Revitalization of Catholic Education” symposium taking place at Wyoming Catholic College April 7-10, 2014.

Ecclesiastical Advisor to our Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education

The symposium will offer guests the opportunity to learn more about Wyoming Catholic College’s distinctive program, attend classes in the college’s Downtown Center, dine with the students at Frassati Hall, attend a demonstration on the college’s Outdoor Leadership Program, visit the future home of the college at Broken Anvil Ranch, and participate in liturgies and an address on the revitalization of Catholic education by Cardinal Burke.

“We are greatly privileged to have Cardinal Burke come to Wyoming Catholic College,” said President Fr. Robert Cook. “He understands the nature of Catholic education in a comprehensive and profound way, and we are confident he will appreciate the unique Catholic educational model and mission that we provide to our students. We look forward to hearing his insights into what we can do to further the renaissance of Catholic education in America today.”

Cardinal Burke serves as Ecclesiastical Advisor to The Cardinal Newman Society’s Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education.

Cardinal Arinze Speaks at Christendom College on the Role of the Laity

Cardinal Francis Arinze addresses students at Christendom College on Monday, Feb. 4.

Cardinal Francis Arinze addresses students at Christendom College on Monday, Feb. 4.

Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, spoke on “The Year of Faith and the Apostolate of the Laity” at Christendom College on Monday, February 4.  Speaking as part of the college’s Major Speakers Program, the talk was based upon Cardinal Arinze’s forthcoming book that examines the role of the laity in transforming the culture.

Cardinal Arinze, who is celebrating his 55th anniversary of ordination this year, explained that the Holy Father, in establishing the Year of Faith this past October 11 on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, wants the faithful to pay more attention to the Council and what it taught.

During the Year of Faith, Catholics are encouraged to intensify their reflection on the faith, be more vigorous in their adherence to the Gospel and profession of faith, celebrate the sacred liturgy, especially the Holy Eucharist, with more diligence, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church more frequently, and establish more credible ways of witnessing to Christ.

His Eminence then focused on one way of witnessing to Christ – through the apostolate of the lay faithful.

“The Church has always understood the call to follow Christ by faith and Baptism as a call to the apostolate,” said Cardinal Arinze.  “By apostolate, we mean the mission of the Church, the motive of Christ in founding His Church. It is to spread the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ, so that all men and women may know the One, True God and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent, and knowing Him, that they believe in Him, live the new life He has won for all humanity and find eternal salvation in His name.”

Cardinal Arinze explained that there are no spectators in the Church, and that everyone has a role to play. The apostolate expected of a person in the Church depends on and follows on what that person is called to be in the Church. The laity, who comprise 99.9% of the Catholic population, are to carry out their part in the mission of the whole Church by engaging in temporal affairs and ordering them according to the plan of God.

Cardinal Arinze then elaborated on three different Vatican II documents on the lay apostolate: Gaudium et Spes, Lumen Gentium, and Apostolicam Actuositatem.

In Gaudiem et Spes, the Council Fathers wrote, “Let the lay person take on his or her own distinctive role,” which Cardinal Arinze explained as meaning that lay people should strive to discharge their earthly duties conscientiously and in response to the Gospel spirit.

“Secular duties and activities belong properly, though not exhaustively, to lay people,” he said.  “As citizens of the world, they are to observe the laws proper to each discipline and labor to equip themselves with competence, each person in his or her profession…The Christianization of the temporal order, or the bringing of the spirit of the Gospel into secular affairs, is the apostolate specific to the laity.”

According to the Dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium, the lay apostolate is a participation in the saving mission of the Church herself, and the laity are called to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can she become the salt of the earth.

“The laity are to persevere in promoting cultural values, in harmonizing faith and civic duties, and in guaranteeing religious freedom for citizens,” Cardinal Arinze said.

Finally, in Apostolicam Actuositatem, the Council reminds the faithful that Christ’s redemptive work, while of itself directed toward the salvation of people, involves also the renewal of the whole temporal order.

“God’s plan for the world is that people should work together to restore the temporal sphere of things and to develop it unceasingly. By temporal sphere is meant family, culture, economic affairs, the arts and professions, political institutions and international relations, as well as their development and progress,” he said.

Cardinal Arinze concluded his lecture by enumerating some reasons for the urgent need of the lay apostolate today and some reasons for hesitation on lay engagement. He said that many countries and cultures have turned away from God and leave God out of life in society, and this needs to change. Marriage and the family are under attack in one country after another and the witness of lay people in the mass media, in parliaments, in governments, and in academic institutions is absolutely necessary in order to overcome these threats to the Gospel.

Politics and government have to be evangelized. These are specific fields where the lay faithful are called to bring the spirit of Christ into the various areas of secular life. If the laity do not do this, who will do it? The presentation of the Christian stand on social questions, when made by lay people who are well prepared, has special power to convince the general public more than the witness by clerics and religious. Very symbolic and convincing is the example of that king [Baudouin of Belgium] who resigned his kingship rather than sign a law in favor of abortion. Such action is worth more than a thousand words.

There are some, though, that believe that it is very difficult for the laity to get involved in transforming the culture, due to the fact that there is a sort of power struggle going on between the clergy and the laity. Cardinal Arinze recommends that each person does their specific vocation and apostolic work, which for the laity is the Christianization of the temporal order as insiders. But to do this, they must be educated and adequately prepared for their mission.

“Our prayerful hope is that this Year of Faith may have as one of its fruits that the lay faithful will realize more and more the dignity of their calling in the Church and in the world, and that they may more vigorously take on their own distinctive role and launch out into the deep,” he concluded.

University of Mary President Appointed Monsignor

Monsignor Shea

President Monsignor James Shea

According to the Bismarck Tribune, University of Mary President James Shea, 37, was one of six western North Dakota priests appointed as monsignor in early December. Bismarck Bishop David Kagan made the announcement online through the diocesan web site.

Shea was named the sixth president of the University of Mary in 2008. He previously served as pastor at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Killdeer and St. Paul’s Church in Halliday, and as school chaplain at Trinity High School in Dickinson. He also worked at St. Mary’s High School. A native of Hazelton, he graduated from Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock High School in 1993, and was ordained a priest in July 2002.

According to the news release, this was the first time a monsignor had been named in the Diocese of Bismarck since December 1991. There are now seven monsignors in the diocese. Monsignor is a title of honor granted by the pope, usually at the request of the local bishop.

The title of monsignor honors a priest’s service to the Catholic Church and bears no extra duties or responsibilities except for the privilege of wearing different vestments during liturgical celebrations.

UST to Co-host Pontifical St. Thomas Aquinas Conference

Photo: St. Thomas AquinasThe University of St. Thomas Center for Thomistic Studies and the John Paul II Forum plan to co-host the first U.S. Conference of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, on Oct. 18-19, 2013 in Houston, Texas.

The theme of the conference, “Thomas Aquinas: Teacher of Humanity,” will explore the teachings of St. Thomas on what it means to be human and what he contributes to contemporary understandings of that concept.

Cardinals, bishops and scholars associated with the Pontifical Academy around the world have been invited to attend.  Among the confirmed guests are the Most Rev. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, who will be opening the conference, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the Chancellor of the Papal Academies and the Secretary of the Pontifical Academy, and Sister Prudence Allen, author of “The Concept of Woman.”

Dr. Mary Catherine Sommers, director of the Center for Thomistic Studies and an organizer of the event, said the conference will be a forum for exchanging ideas and research and tackling the problems associated with defining “humanity” in a world with many cultures, traditions and technologies.

Dr. John Hittinger, UST professor of philosophy and founder of the John Paul II Forum, said the conference will be an opportunity for the local Catholic community to hear from international scholars and Vatican officials.

“To the community-at-large, it’s the play of ideas involving these questions of human nature and humanism that is interesting,” Hittinger said. “The thought of Aquinas has things to teach us in the 21st century.”

Pope Leo XIII founded the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1879 to encourage the study of St. Thomas’ philosophy in Catholic universities and seminaries. One of the Pontifical Academy’s new initiatives, the Thomistic Legacy of Blessed John Paul II, unites the mission of the Center for Thomistic Studies with that of the John Paul II Forum.

UST’s Center for Thomistic Studies is the only center in the nation that grants a doctorate in the thought of Thomas Aquinas. The John Paul II Forum was created to promote the understanding of the thought of Pope John Paul II.

A registration fee will be required, but UST students will receive a special discount. Cardinal DiNardo will celebrate a Mass for participants at 5 p.m. on Oct. 19 in the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 St. Joseph Parkway, followed by a banquet.

Those interested may find out about the call for papers on the CTS website or they can contact the Center at thomistic_center@stthom.edu.

Thomas Aquinas College Unveils Renderings of New Classroom Building

The image depicts St. Gladys Hall from the rear, as it will be seen from the new plaza overlooking the athletic field, with Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel in the background.

The image depicts St. Gladys Hall from the rear, as it will be seen from the new plaza overlooking the athletic field, with Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel in the background.

In anticipation of the upcoming groundbreaking ceremony for St. Gladys Hall, Thomas Aquinas College has unveiled commissioned artist’s renderings of the new classroom building. The renderings are the work of Domiane Forte, principal of Forte & Associates, an architectural firm based in Santa Paula, Calif., and 2000 graduate of the College. The design architect for the project is Scott Boydstun of Rasmussen and Associates in Ventura, Calif., who has designed 10 of the 12 permanent buildings on campus.

As part of the construction project, the College will complete the last remaining section of the colonnade, thus connecting St. Gladys Hall to the Library and the Chapel, giving the entire quadrangle a finished and permanent appearance. Housing eight classrooms, the new building is designed to facilitate the small, seminar discussions about great books that are at the heart of the College’s unique program.

The renderings will be on prominent display at the Mass and groundbreaking ceremony for St. Gladys Hall, which will take place on April 17. Construction of the new building will begin immediately after Commencement, and St. Gladys Hall should be ready for use by the start of the 2014-5 academic year.

Cardinal Arinze to Discuss Year of Faith at Christendom College

Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, will deliver a talk entitled, The Year of Faith and the Apostolate of the Laity, to students and faculty at Christendom College on February 4, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. The address is part of the College’s Major Speakers Program and will be based on Cardinal Arinze’s forthcoming book examining the role of the laity in transforming the culture.

“This topic is very timely and something dear to us here at Christendom,” College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell says. “To have the Cardinal here to discuss what is at the heart of our institution’s mission will truly be a highlight of our 35th Anniversary year.”

Arinze will be on campus from January 31 to February 4, celebrating the community Masses and leading spiritual reflections for the Ex corde Ecclesia Presidents Roundtable, a private association of presidents of Catholic universities, colleges, and institutes, who have embraced the vision of Catholic higher education as presented in the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae.

Cardinal Arinze was ordained a priest in 1958 and was consecrated bishop in 1965. In 1979, his brother bishops elected him president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, a position he held until 1984, when Pope John Paul II asked him to serve as president for the Secretariat for Non-Christians (now the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue). One year later, he was appointed Cardinal by Pope John Paul and, in 1999, he received a gold medallion from the International Council of Christians and Jews for his “outstanding achievements in inter-faith relations.” From 2002-2008, he served as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Cardinal Arinze remains active as a highly sought speaker and catechist, being featured in programs and events that cover Pope John Paul II’s encyclicals and apostolic letters, Vatican II, and many other topics.

The talk, which is open to the public, will be held in the St. Lawrence Commons and will be followed by a reception.

More Than Half a Million March for Life

While official figures haven’t yet been released, organizers estimate that between 500,000 and 600,000 people participated in the Jan. 25 March for Life in Washington, D.C., and more than 50,000 participated in the Walk for Life West Coast on Jan. 26. Participation by elementary, high school, and college students was high, particularly from Catholic schools. Students from the University of Notre Dame led the March for Life. Students from Thomas Aquinas College had leadership roles in the Walk for Life West Coast.

University of Notre Dame students were invited to carry the lead banner at the March for Life. (Photo courtesy of Matt Cassens of the St. Blogustine blog) http://stblogustine.blogspot.com/2013/01/40th-annual-march-for-life-pictures-and.html

University of Notre Dame students were invited to carry the lead banner at the March for Life. (Photo courtesy of Matt Cassens of the St. Blogustine blog) http://stblogustine.blogspot.com/2013/01/40th-annual-march-for-life-pictures-and.html

Jan Fox from Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport, PA – a school recognized as a Catholic Honor Roll school – accompanied 37 students to the March. She said she has participated in nearly every March since attending one as an eighth grade student in 1998.

“As a committed Catholic, we should always be optimistic,” Fox told the Washington Post, expressing her hope that abortion will be banned again. “Things can change.”

Mount St. Mary’s University brought more than 280 people on five buses. That number included at least 110 students, more than 170 seminarians, and several faculty members.

Students and seminarians from Mount St. Mary's aboard the bus on their way to the March for Life.

Students and seminarians from Mount St. Mary’s University aboard the bus on their way to the March for Life.

Students from the Mount participated in a Vigil for Life evening retreat before boarding the buses to participate in the March for Life.

“The Vigil preps you for what you are about to face the following morning,” said junior Carolyn Shields. “You’re surrounded with your generation…You start the morning with Mass in the Basilica and you bus off to speak for those that couldn’t. One third of my generation is missing.”

More than half of the student body from the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner, NH traveled 10 hours to take part in the March. It’s one of many ways that Magdalen students support the culture of life. Students have participated in HHS mandate protests, and senior Ava Voisseum, president of Spes Vitae – the college’s pro-life club – addressed the entire Magdalen community on the culture of life.

Students from The College of Saint Mary Magdalen participate in the March for Life.

Students from The College of Saint Mary Magdalen participate in the March for Life.

Christendom College sent its entire student body – some 400 students, faculty, and staff to the March. Students were excited to be a part of the annual demonstration.

“The March is so invigorating because it is a chance to renew our commitment to life with each other and with God,” said senior Stephen Wood. “And there is no better way of living out this commitment than by walking in a spirit of prayer and penitence through the streets of our nation’s capital.”

The College has historically cancelled classes for the day of the March so that the entire school can attend. The student body began the day with morning Mass at Christendom’s Christ the King chapel, then boarded the buses for the drive to Washington. Along the way, students prayed a Rosary for the intentions of the pro-life movement and for an end to abortion.

“Whether it’s your first time to the March or your tenth, it never gets old,” said sophomore Emily Bot, who has attended the March many times. “Being surrounded by thousands of other pro-lifers is an amazing feeling—knowing that we are not alone in the fight—it’s a great experience!”

Students returned from the March with a renewed purpose to continue in the pro-life work that they are active in year-round. Some of these pro-life activities include Students for Life, a club that focuses on supporting the pro-life cause through activism, and Shield of Roses, a student group that prays every Saturday morning in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in D.C. Students also volunteer their time and talent at the crisis pregnancy center in Front Royal.

In San Francisco, the day after Washington, D.C.’s March for Life, more than 50,000 people participated in the ninth annual Walk for Life West Coast rally.

Among them was Thomas Aquinas College senior Michael Masteller. He wrote about his participation in the Walk for Life at Zenit. He remarked about a protestor’s sign that struck him.

“There was one protestor’s banner that stuck out from all the rest.  On it was written: ‘This walk hates women!’  Naturally, my first response was to think: ‘That’s a lie! Clearly we treat women better than you do.’  Just then, though, the words of Fr. Illo and Archbishop Cordileone appeared in my mind.  I knew that even though we might not commit abortions, we are not totally innocent of dishonoring women—we too are guilty and stand in need of conversion.  Even if we might not be guilty of committing this sin of abortion, how many of us have neglected to defend women from being dishonored?  For myself, I knew that I could be doing a better job at this, for it is usually through a lack of loving on my part that others are not brought to see the Truth.”

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano delivered a special message to the Walk for Life participants from Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope’s message also went out via Twitter.

“I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life,” said the Pope’s tweet.

“His Holiness is grateful to all those who take part in this outstanding public witness to the fundamental human right to life and to the moral imperative of upholding the inviolable dignity of each member of our human family, especially the smallest and the most defenseless of our brothers and sisters,” Archbishop Vigano told those gathered.

“You are a powerful witness that God’s truth cannot be silenced,” said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, who blessed participants to begin the event. “Yes, we are here to stay because life is good and life is holy.”

Fr. Terence Henry Talks about His Tenure as President of Franciscan University of Steubenville

After nearly 13 years, Father Terence Henry is stepping down as President of Franciscan University of Steubenville. Tim Drake, senior editor with the Cardinal Newman Society recently spoke with him about his tenure, Catholic identity, and his contributions to the University.

Father Terence Henry, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Father Terence Henry, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville.

So, it was just announced that you’re moving on at the end of the academic year.

Yes, the winds of change are blowing here at Franciscan. The national norm for a president is six years. I’m looking back on this wonderful opportunity to serve the mission and I have a lot of fond memories. It’s been an awesome blessing to be entrusted with this responsibility.

Given the increasing secularization found in society, and among Catholic colleges and universities, why is fidelity to Catholic identity so vital?

C.S. Lewis once said that the atheist and the Christian hold opposite views about the universe, they both can’t be right, and consequently the one that is wrong will be working to help destroy that universe. The Christian life is the key to unlock a lock. Catholic education has so much to offer people today to escape  moral relativism. Pope Benedict XVI says we’re simply being tossed about. An authentic Catholic education can help people stand on solid foundations and provide the key to life itself.

How does Catholic identity manifest itself at Franciscan University?

Cardinal O’Connor once said it’s easy for the Church to defend a Catholic principle that’s not under attack, but it needs to be at those points of attacks where the culture of death is pressing in. We’ve always asked how we can best serve the Church. We’ve established a Chair in Bioethics. Our theology and philosophy faculty are well established.  Our science courses are rooted in authentic Catholic teaching. That’s how we’re responding to the culture of death.

In what ways might Franciscan be a model for the renewal of Catholic higher education?

We receive our understanding of our vocation and mission from the words spoken to St. Francis – “Francis, go and rebuild my Church.” We see that as so important. Any Catholic school can use that as a guideline.

When the Holy Father spoke at The Catholic University of America, he said that every aspect of a Catholic university campus ought to speak in union with the ecclesial church – not just academics, but our residence halls, the sportsmanship displayed, the entertainment we have – they should all speak to the mission. Catholic schools can go into an area that public schools cannot. Education involves mind, body, and spirit. Secular schools have to refrain from touching the spiritual part. Someone going to such a school will end up with career preparation, but no preparation for answering questions such as: “Who am I?”, “Why was I made?,” and “Where am I going?”

What, from your perspective, makes Franciscan distinctive?

I would say there are four distinctive elements about our university. One of those is the academic quality of our school. It attracts top students, and our SAT scores continue to rise. The quality of our professors and the personal interest they show in our students. Another is our unique culture. Pope John Paul II said that every Catholic college needs a Christian inspiration. Ours is St. Francis – a dynamic joy filled person. Everyone who visits campus notices how on fire our students are for God, and how willing they are to learn. We stand with the Church’s Magisterium and teaching. Finally, there is that sense of evangelism. Franciscan equips students to be salt and light. Our graduates are in all 50 states transforming the culture. They connect the intellectual formation they’ve received with a sense of applying that when they leave.

What changes have you seen during your time as president?

We’ve promoted John Paul II’s call for students. We’ve introduced new majors to transform the culture – an international business major, legal studies, a major in German, sacred music, a concentration in bioethics, and catechetics. The catechetical meltdown that took place for a generation among Catholics is being corrected by Franciscan University of Steubenville and our graduates. We have an endowed chair in bioethics. Where the Church needs to be is in those areas that the culture of death is attacking. In 2007, we entered the intercollegiate NCAA Division III and gained entry into the Allegheny Conference. The physical campus has nearly doubled in size.

What new projects are taking place?

In 2009, we completed our new friary. A unique element on our campus is that we have 20 friars who serve the spiritual needs of our students sacramentally, through counseling, in the classroom, in the residence halls, and by serving as moderators of our sports programs. That religious presence is very important for students, and it’s something we value greatly. That Franciscan presence has been a part of our school since its founding in 1946.

We are in the formative stage of our next capital campaign. The number one item on that needs list is the need for a new chapel. The student body under my tenure has grown an additional 600 students. The current chapel is no longer adequate. We’re hoping to address that need. I know that alumni will help. They can remember standing outside the chapel, unable to squeeze in, in January. Wherever I may be stationed, I would love to come back and be there at the dedication of the new chapel. It will speak to our Catholic and Franciscan heritage. The architecture will speak Assisi. It’s important that someone can set foot on campus and say, “This is a Catholic and Franciscan school.”

We also have been able to increase financial aid for our students through endowed scholarships. 39 new scholarships have been created in order to help them.

What do you see as Franciscan’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Our greatest strength is our commitment to the mission of our school – Catholic and Franciscan. That is the dominant charism of the University. Fidelity to that keeps us centered and provides a moral compass in a sea of moral relativity. That is the story of higher education in general.

We are mission driven, as is our household system, which replaced the fraternities and sororities of old. It’s a peer-to-peer way for students to encourage one another in a path of holiness. There’s been tremendous voluntary participation in household life. We’re up to 48 households now. Household life is a unique contribution that Franciscan came up with to have students support one another to grow in their faith. The bonds and friendships that students form in those households remain strong long after students graduate. They continue sharing in the challenges of living in a secular world. Learning takes place 24-7, and household life helps students to feel encouraged and supported by one another.

People who come on campus notice the physical growth of the campus, but the real story is the living stones – the students who want to grow in faith and wisdom. Cardinal John Henry Newman said a Catholic university is the only true university because it addresses the totality of the human person.

Our number one challenge is to increasingly be able to have the means to help students come to a small, private Catholic university and graduate receiving help. About 80% of our students receive some sort of financial aid, but it’s never enough. The need is acute.

What are you most proud of during your tenure?

I’m very proud that after a 20-year struggle our faculty has passed a new core curriculum that is more unified and integrated. It will provide a more common experience academically for our students. It was a battle because academically we’re not only a liberal arts school but also offer professional and pre-professional majors. I see a lot of blessings that will come from that.

Overall, when I became president, the general public probably wondered, “Does this mean that if Fr. Michael is not there, will the school mainstream itself in the bad sense of that word?” We’ve answered that. Our compass shows that we stand with Peter. If we stand with Peter, and not in front or behind him, we are on solid ground. That has been my main contribution. The school has remained faithful to the Magisterium. We have remained where the church would have us be, so that we can best equip young people to go into the world and transform it.

Do you have any idea what your new assignment will be?

I’m in a cloud of unknowing. I need to wait until May until I hear from my provincial. That’s where the vow of obedience kicks in. Will I be sent up the Amazon? I don’t think so. I’ve been in education all my life. That’s where my passion is.

Christendom College to Host Ex corde Ecclesiae Presidents Roundtable

On February 1-2, Christendom College will welcome Catholic college and university presidents to its Front Royal, Va., campus as it hosts the Ex corde Ecclesiae Presidents’ Roundtable. The Roundtable will examine the challenges and opportunities facing Catholic institutions of higher education, and will give the presidents an opportunity to discuss some very important issues.

“I believe that all the presidents involved will benefit by meeting to meditate on how we can cooperate with each other to be of service to Christ, His Church, and our nation through our educational apostolates,” Christendom College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell said.

The Presidents Roundtable, which was initiated by O’Donnell, is a private association of presidents of Catholic universities, colleges, and institutes, who have embraced the vision of Catholic higher education as presented in the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae of Blessed John Paul II and developed by Pope Benedict XVI, particularly in his historic address at the Catholic University of America on April 17, 2008.

During their meetings, the presidents will informally discuss areas of mutual interest and concern related to the strengthening of Catholic identity and will take advantage of the opportunity for spiritual rejuvenation in the company of fellow presidents. As a special guest, His Eminence Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments — who has fully supported the initiative — will personally lead the Roundtable’s spiritual reflections.  The discussions will cover topics ranging from student life to presidential leadership within the university. All discussions will be in service to the individual mission and unique charism of each institution.

Francis Cardinal Arinze will lead the spiritual reflections during the Ex corde Ecclesiae Presidents Roundtable at Christendom College.

Francis Cardinal Arinze will lead the spiritual reflections during the Ex corde Ecclesiae Presidents Roundtable at Christendom College.

“As a liberal arts college, Christendom has given dynamic leadership to its students on how to discover the true, the good and the beautiful, and how to pursue these goods which are so deserving in themselves,” said Cardinal Arinze. “The students are taught not to be afraid of the truth, of reality. Christendom College is above all a Catholic educational institution. It importantly expresses its Catholic identity through an explicit profession of the Catholic Faith, and through studies given unity and a sense of direction by sound philosophy and authentic Catholic theology. It is joy for me to be associated with whatever has to do with the good of Christendom College.”

The participating presidents will also sign a pledge to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church concerning Catholic higher education. Cardinal Arinze will then personally present this to Pope Benedict XVI. Nearly 20 presidents are expected to attend the Roundtable discussions and/or sign the pledge.

For more information about the Ex Corde Ecclesiae Presidents Roundtable contact Olivia Ruhl, at oruhl@christendom.edu or 540.636.2900.

Thomistic Scholar Rev. Thomas White Delivers St. Thomas Aquinas Lecture at Christendom College

Rev. Thomas White, O.P.

Rev. Thomas White, O.P.

Thomistic scholar and author, Rev. Thomas Joseph White, O.P., delivered the annual St. Thomas Aquinas Lecture on January 28 at Christendom College. The talk, entitled “How Does the Resurrection of Christ Illumine Human Reason? From Benedict XVI to St. Thomas Aquinas,” explored the doctrine of the resurrection of the body and its influence of philosophical thought.

Delving into the thought of modern philosophers on the relation of the body to the soul and Pope Benedict XVI’s response to them, Fr. White demonstrated that it was philosophically natural to hope in the resurrection from the dead.

“It is natural to want not to die,” Fr. White said. “And just because it is natural to want not to die — in part because we have an immaterial soul that we want to be united with our body— it can never be shown to be irrational to hope for the resurrection from the dead, even if reason cannot prove that we will rise from the dead.”

Fr. White explained further that the resurrection of Christ answers a very basic human desire and need to understand our final destiny as spiritual persons.

“For we aspire to immortality and knowledge of God and yet we are simultaneously mortal and bound to the labors of illness and death,” he said. “Hope in this situation is paradox. We must turn to the source of all that is — the Creator of the world…Who can create from nothing. And we must hope that He can raise the dead. Christ alive in the resurrection is the response of God to a deep innate longing in the heart of man.”

Concluding, Fr. White told the audience that if they wished to be ahead of the curve in human history, that they should be a Thomist, or follower of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.

“His vision of the human person is uniquely compatible with a realistic belief in the resurrection of the dead,” he said, “and helps us to see—even in our own age—how faith in the Word made Flesh provides a vivid, rich illumination to our human reason.”

Fr. White is a native of southeastern Georgia. He converted to Catholicism in college, in part from the influence of reading the letters of Flannery O’Connor. Educated at Brown University (B.A.) and the University of Oxford (Ph.D.), he entered the Dominicans in 2003 and was ordained a priest in 2008. He teaches theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., and is the director of its Thomistic Institute. He is the author of Wisdom in the Face of Modernity: A Study in Thomistic Natural Theology (Sapientia Press, 2009), and is an Ordinary Member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas.

The College hosts a distinguished speaker each year on or around the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (January 28) to speak on a philosophical or theological topic. To listen to this lecture and the previous lectures in this series visit Christendom on iTunes U, christendom.edu/itunesu.

Franciscan University President to Step Down at End of Academic Year

Father Terence Henry, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Father Terence Henry, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Franciscan University of Steubenville announced today that Father Terence Henry, TOR, will leave the office of president at the end of the academic year in May.

“Being president of Franciscan University for a single day would have been a huge honor and one of the most memorable moments in my life, but to have been entrusted with guiding its mission since 2000 is an awesome privilege and blessing for which I am thankful to God,” said Father Henry.

Inaugurated on October 4, 2000, Father Henry succeeded Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, as the fifth president of the University. Since then, Father Henry has led Franciscan University through more than 12 years of milestones including the most successful fundraising campaign in University history, the creation of a new liberal arts core curriculum, an increase by 389 students in undergraduate enrollment, the establishment of the Institute of Bioethics, the Catechetical Institute, and the Center for Leadership, the expansion of campus acreage to more than double, and the reintroduction of varsity athletics.

“When I became president, our philosophy and theology departments were already world renowned, and they have continued to grow through the founding of our Bioethics Institute and Catechetics Institute. Now, other academic disciplines have begun attracting national attention, especially in the sciences with faculty and student research on seizure disorders and rare diseases,” Father Henry said. “These priorities emerged as the University asked itself how we could best serve the needs of the Catholic Church. I am confident that Franciscan University’s next president will continue to lead from the heart of the Church.”

Father Nicholas Polichnowski, TOR, chairman of Franciscan University’s Board of Trustees, explained the timing of the change saying that within religious life, leaders are rotated periodically as a matter of course.

“Being a university president has become an increasingly difficult task. With presidents serving only six years on average, we are grateful to Father Henry for giving 13 years in generous service to Franciscan University,” Father Polichnowski said.

Father Polichnowski, the minister provincial of the Franciscan Friars, TOR, Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, which founded Franciscan University in 1946, also said the next president will be chosen from among the priests and brothers of the 139-member province.

“The Board of Trustees will begin the selection process immediately, and we expect the new president to start in June. Father Henry will receive his new assignment at that time,” Father Polichnowski said.

Father Henry, who just returned from his annual trip to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life, will close out his tenure with a busy semester including speeches on religious liberty at two Legatus chapter meetings. He has also accepted an invitation to give a major address at an international meeting of young Catholics discussing how to renew society through the Gospel at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

“As I’ve traveled throughout the world, I frequently hear about the importance of Franciscan University in the life of the Church and I’ve seen it firsthand as I’ve met alumni serving in dioceses, parishes, and bringing their faith into every career and vocation imaginable,” Father Henry said. “It’s humbling to witness how beautifully they and our faculty, staff, students, and benefactors live out the Lord’s call to St. Francis to ‘Go, rebuild my Church.’”

He added, “This University and all those I’ve worked with and come to know as president have a special place in my heart. I will carry Franciscan University and all those who serve its tremendous educational mission in my prayers.”

Pro-Life Catholic Colleges Put Faith in Action at March for Life

This week’s 40th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade ruling is marked by the participation tomorrow of several faithful Catholic colleges and universities in the Washington, D.C., March for Life. This year, attendance is expected to reach an all-time high. Total student participation by schools featured in The Cardinal Newman Society’s Newman Guide will surpass 2,000.

As in years past, the entire Christendom College student body, as well as faculty, staff members, and families will join the March.  Christendom expects that more than 400 people affiliated with the College will attend. Christendom cancels classes at its Front Royal, Va., campus for the day to allow students to participate.

The College has attended the March for Life annually since its founding 35 years ago. Christendom students have been invited to carry the lead banner and flags in 1984, 1998, 2009, and 2012.

Senior Chris Roberts said he finds it “refreshing” that the College cancels classes.

“It really highlights Christendom’s dedication to the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life – even in a culture of death,” said Roberts. “We are able to reinvigorate ourselves for the fight.”

Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kan., is sending a record number of students to this year’s March. The College had to add a seventh bus so that interested students could take the 48-hour round-trip ride to attend. They’ll be attending with their President, Stephen D. Minnis, and the new Abbot of St. Benedict’s Abbey, Abbot James Albers, OSB. The College has been participating in the march for 28 years.

“I organized the trip my sophomore year; we usually went with Kansans for Life,” said Abbot Albers, who graduated from Benedictine College in 1994. “Back then, 15 to 20 students going was a good number.”

St. Benedict's Abbey Abbot James Albers, OSB, addresses Benedictine College students before their departure for the March for Life.

St. Benedict’s Abbey Abbot James Albers, OSB, addresses Benedictine College students before their departure for the March for Life.

This year, more than 350 will be attending.

“Benedictine College has the largest group attending from the greatest distance away,” said Minnis, who has attended the March since becoming president in 2004. “Now, about 20 percent of our student body is willing to take that long…trip…in support of life. I am constantly amazed and pleased by our students.”

Franciscan University of Steubenville also has seven busloads of students attending. Prior to the March, the students will be attending the Solemn Mass for Life at 7:30 a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, followed by the Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the Verizon Center. FUS catechetics professor, Robert Rice, is hosting the Youth Rally.

Shortly before midnight, January 24, seven buses pulled out of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, transporting hundreds of students to the March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Shortly before midnight, January 24, seven buses pulled out of Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, transporting hundreds of students to the 2013 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

As he has every year since becoming president in 2000, Father Terence Henry, T.O.R., will lead the Franciscan contingent, 800 strong, under the emerald Franciscan University banner that proclaims, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you… Before you were born, I dedicated you…” (Jer. 1:5).

“When you see thousands of pro-life youth flooding stadiums, churches, and streets of Washington, D.C., it gives you hope,” adds Grace Daigler, a junior social work major and vice president of Franciscan University’s Students for Life.

Franciscan University of Steubenville students gather at the beginning of the 2012 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Franciscan University of Steubenville students gather at the beginning of the 2012 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Given its location, The Catholic University of America is involved in the March in a variety of ways. While classes are not cancelled, organizers expect approximately 500 CUA students to attend. In addition, the university will continue its custom of hosting teen marchers from out-of-town. More than 1,200 teens will camp out in the Ramond A. DuFour Athletic Center the evening before the March. Approximately 200 CUA students have volunteered to serve as hosts for the visitors. They help with hospitality, register visitors, serve meals, chaperone, and lay out sleeping bags.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life and vigil Mass begins at the nearby Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception’s Great Upper Church at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 24. The student volunteers also lead teams in the DuFour Center in the Rosary for Life. Beginning at 10 p.m. on Jan. 24, Catholic University is hosting all-night Eucharistic adoration, as well as opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

More than 17% of the student body at Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla., plan to attend. Approximately 150 students, administrators, and staff are taking three buses to participate in the March. Many others are driving or flying independently.

“I’m proud of our over 150 Ave Maria students, faculty and staff members who will travel over 1,000 miles… to participate in the March for Life,” said President Jim Towey. “Our students know how important it is for them to march as witnesses to the sanctity of life from the moment of conception through natural death.”

Last year’s trip nearly didn’t happen. The chartered bus cancelled the trip. With only hours to go before their departure, students raised $20,000 to hire an Orlando-based bus to take them to the 2012 March.

Mount St. Mary’s University is bringing more than 280 people on five buses. That number includes at least 110 students, more than 170 seminarians, and several faculty members.

Mount St. Mary’s junior, Justin Wykowski said that attending the March gives him hope.

“It’s arguably one of the most powerful ways to further the cause against abortion. Some people drive 40-plus hours just to march; I can do one,” said Wykowski. “It gives me hope. To look down from the top of Capitol Hill and see tens of thousands of people waving signs in the blistering cold is simply breathtaking. We are not alone in this fight. Not even close.”

Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., is sending its largest contingent ever to Washington, D.C., for the March. The College allowed students to attend the March without counting it as an absence, and similarly, for faculty or staff without being forced to use a vacation day.

Students from Aquinas College in Nashville gather outside the U.S. Capitol Building during the 2012 March for Life.

Students from Aquinas College in Nashville gather outside the U.S. Capitol Building during the 2012 March for Life.

Aquinas students, faculty, and staff spent two afternoons earlier this week placing 3,000 crosses on the front lawn to memorialize the 3,000 children lost every day to abortion.

Approximately 30 students from DeSales University are attending in conjunction with the Catholic Newman Center at Lehigh University.

St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Ok., is sending 14 students along with Fr. Nicholas Ast, OSB, vice president for mission and identity and university chaplain.

Students from St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, Ok. display their banner at the 2012 March for Life.

Students from St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Ok. display their banner at the 2012 March for Life.

“By participating in the March for Life, our students give a prophetic witness to the truth that all human life is sacred,” said Fr. Ast. “Indeed, the presence of so many young people at the march every year is a sign that a new generation has embraced the Gospel of Life.”

“Every year I make an effort to attend the March for Life, either in my hometown or in Washington D.C., as an exercise of my American right to peaceful protest and my duty as a citizen, and even just as a human being, to protect the rights and lives of others,” said Gabriela Weigel, a junior at St. Gregory’s University. “It is important for me to attend because action is what provokes change, and as a young person it is my place to be the new energy and vitality in the Pro-Life movement, and to display to our secular society a love for all its members, especially the unborn, elderly and disabled.”

Students from colleges far from Washington are participating in their own local demonstrations supporting life. One-third of the student body from Wyoming Catholic College braved that state’s winter weather to participate in the Wyoming March for Life in Cheyenne.

Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University helped plan and lead the inaugural Walk for Life San Diego on Jan. 19. Senior Timmerie Millington was a key organizer of the event. About 3,000 walkers participated.

Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University lead the San Diego Walk for Life held on Jan. 19. Photo credit: James R. Compton Jr.

Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University lead the San Diego Walk for Life held on Jan. 19. Photo credit: James R. Compton Jr.

Thomas Aquinas College, in Santa Paula, Ca., is sending two-thirds of the College’s student body to San Francisco for the Jan. 26 Walk for Life West Coast. The College has participated every year since the Walk first began in 2005. The more than 200 students, faculty, and staff attending make up one of the largest groups in the Walk.

Students will begin the 550-mile round-trip journey Friday after classes. Students are staying at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco’s Little Italy, where the Salesian fathers have offered them space to sleep in the parish’s two gymnasia. Students will participate in all-night Eucharistic adoration, culminating in a Holy Hour in honor of the Unborn Child Jesus from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. Later that morning, the students will attend the Walk for Life Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, celebrated by Archdiocese of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. Following the Mass is the two-mile Walk, beginning in Justin Herman Plaza, through Fisherman’s Wharf, and concluding with a rally in Marina Green.

Numerous TAC students have been asked to take on leadership roles in the event, including directing walkers, assisting visiting dignitaries, and bolstering security along the route. A delegation of the College’s women have been given the honor of leading the marchers through the city, carrying an “Abortion Hurts Women” banner.

New CUA Business School Rooted in Catholic Teaching

The Catholic University of America announced today the creation of a new School of Business and Economics based on Catholic social doctrine and the natural law.

From the University:

“Business schools focus on teaching commercial skills and rules of ethics, but they neglect the importance of character. Our distinctive idea is to bring the rich resources of the Catholic intellectual tradition and the natural law to bear upon business and economics. This will integrate morality into commercial life and help form the character of our future business leaders,” says Andrew Abela, chair of the previous Department of Business and Economics.

“We are going to let our Catholic thinking penetrate our curriculum,” Abela says, adding that studies show companies are more competitive and sustainable in the long run if they respect the dignity of consumers and employees.

The Wall Street Journal notes that while many business schools have introduced ethics courses in recent years, some point out that these efforts have been cosmetic, lacking integration into the core curriculum.  CUA, on the other hand, plans to overhaul its core business courses over the next year.

For example, accounting classes will stress judgment calls about what revenue can be kept off the books, along with the math behind those revenue calculations.

The School of Business and Economics will be distinctive in three ways, according to CUA.  Every class will include an ethics and morality component.  Research efforts will be oriented to the common good in order to make business more humane and effective.  And students will receive formation in virtue and be given the opportunity to apply their skills practically.

CUA has a “unique responsibility to contribute to the national discussion about the economic challenges facing the country,” said University President John Garvey.  He further noted:

Finally, as a new school we can do something different, unlike other schools — Catholic and non-Catholic — that already have large faculties committed to existing conventional approaches to business and economics. Our school is small enough to pursue a new and original direction.

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