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C The 487 orrespondent Newsletter of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology of the Immaculate Conception  Spring 2011 PFIC Welcomes Six New Deacons The PFIC joyously witnessed the ordination of six of its students to the diaconate on the last Saturday of the Christmas season, January 8, 2011. The Most Reverend Martin D. Holley, auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C., celebrated the ordination in the evocative surroundings of the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Five Dominican student brothers and one Marian of the Immaculate Conception were ordained. The schola cantorum from the Dominican House of Studies sang two chants and a communion motet from Oreste Ravanello in thanksgiving for God’s gifts to the brothers He has called to serve Him as deacons. Top: Rev. Br. Augustine Reisenauer, OP, speaks with Dominican sisters. Bottom: The deacons gather with Most Rev. Martin D. Holley. The six new deacons are Rev. Br. Angelo Casimiro, MIC, Rev. Br. Jerome Augustine Zeiler, OP, Rev. Br. Jordan Joseph Schmidt, OP, Rev. Br. Augustine Marie Reisenauer, OP, Rev. Br. Michael Dominic O’Connor, OP, and Rev. Br. Justin Marie Brophy, OP. These brothers have already begun their diaconate ministries in parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Arlington. Ordained on a Saturday, most of the brothers had the high honor of preaching their first homilies less than twenty-four hours later at their parish’s Sunday mass. These six brothers are transitional deacons, which means that their service as deacons is the penultimate step in their formation for the priesthood. The coming year is a time for them to grow in practical knowledge and spiritual love for the care of souls, as they undertake new ministries as assistants to the bishop and his priests. In preaching, catechizing, baptizing, witnessing weddings, officiating at funerals, and attending at the holy sacrifice of the Mass, these men learn the joys and struggles of the sequela Christi (following of Christ) so dear to Our Holy Father St. Dominic’s heart. Please continue to pray for them as Christ prepares them for the priesthood through their time as deacons. French Scholar Remi Brague speaks to the Thomistic Institute The eloquent and urbane Remi Brague brings a refreshing clarity to the topics he studies, and never more so than during his December 7, 2011, lecture at the PFIC as part of our ongoing Thomistic Circles series. Entitled “Is a Secular Society Possible,” Dr. Brague’s talk analyzed the terms “secularism” and “secular society” according to their historical, linguistic, and theoretical dimensions. A crowd of nearly 150 religious, priests, lay people, academics, and students filled Aquin Hall to hear the talk, which was followed by a question-and-answer period. presented two seemingly opposed theses: first, that a purely secular society would be unable to survive, and second that the term “secular society” is itself tautological. excluded at the outset. Modern societies aim to be hierarchically flat with respect to all their members and closed to anything beyond the human realm. Using primarily linguistic and historical grounds, Dr. Brague argued that a society that is fully secular will be unable to survive, as its members will naturally act as if their own living experience is the measure of the entire world. Care for the future or for people outside of their purview will necessarily wane and vanish. Dr. Brague is professor emeritus at the Sorbonne. He is best known for his books Eccentric Culture: A Theory of Western Civilization and Law of God: The Philosophical History of an Idea. In his talk, Dr. Brague His second thesis pointed out that the modern use of the word ‘society’ has the idea of secularism built into it. Allowing God into society would give an unfair advantage to one player over another, so He must be However without God, no one can confidently state that the world is good, that having children is better than living for oneself, that restraining one’s desires is better than exploiting the earth and others for one’s benefit. In order for a society to survive, its members must climb up to the transcendental notion of Good: that whatever is, is good. Without this profoundly theistic acknowledgement, society creates for itself a time-bomb with a one-hundredyear fuse; after that generation exhausts and destroys itself in selfish pursuits, only collapse or conversion await. Spring 2011 | 1

The 487 Correspondent :: Winter 2011

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