The Catholic University of America

Jan. 27, 2011

CUA Celebrates Patronal Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas with University Mass


Senior music major Danielle Lozano serves as cantor at the Mass. The Schola of the Dominican House (in the background) serves as choir.

View photo gallery  |  Watch video

Despite several inches of snow and ice that fell overnight and kept Catholic University closed until noon today, students, faculty, and staff filled the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at 12:10 to celebrate the Patronal Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas.

“Frequently at Mass, [St. Thomas Aquinas] was literally overcome … for he was consumed by the great mystery of this holy sacrament,” said Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass.

Archbishop Di Noia used St. Thomas Aquinas as an example of how Catholics today might reinvigorate their experience at Mass, an experience that to some becomes full of distractions, a routine, or an experience that feels “old,” he said.

Rather than thinking this way, Archbishop Di Noia said, “What we should do is ask ourselves, ‘What am I missing?’ ” He recommended that people take more time to reflect on the deep mysteries of the Catholic faith.

Archbishop Di Noia and concelebrants (from left) Very Rev. Steven Boguslawski, O.P., president of the Pontifical Faculty at the Dominican House of Studies; Monsignor Kevin Irwin, dean of theology and religious studies; Rev. Robert Kaslyn, S.J., dean of canon law; and Very Rev. Giles Dimock, O.P., prior of the Dominican House.

View photo gallery  |  Watch video

Nearly 50 priests from the faculty and staff of CUA and the Dominican House of Studies concelebrated the Mass. Additionally, lay members of the CUA faculty and administration attended in academic attire. This marked the second Mass of the week drawing strong attendance from the community, as President John Garvey was inaugurated during a Mass celebrated in the Basilica’s Great Upper Church on Tuesday, Jan. 25. Archbishop Di Noia served as a concelebrant at the inauguration Mass.

President Garvey welcomed the university community at the beginning of the Mass for St. Thomas Aquinas, explaining that it is particularly fitting to begin the spring semester celebrating this saint who was, as many in the congregation are, an academic in pursuit of truth. Each year at CUA classes are canceled for this feast day to allow the university community to gather at the beginning of the spring semester in prayer.

The Mass drew a number of priests and men in formation at the Dominican House of Studies, which is located across the street from CUA. The Schola of the Dominican House served as choir for the Mass, chanting in Latin during the preparation of the gifts and following communion.

The Dominicans hold St. Thomas Aquinas as a guide and model for the Dominican intellectual life. He joined the Dominican order in 1244 and formed the theological approach by which the Dominicans still study today.

  Archbishop Di Noia and President Garvey


Archbishop Di Noia was invited to be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass as CUA hosts a series of events this semester related to President Garvey’s inaugural theme, “Intellect and Virtue: The Idea of a Catholic University.” (Read the full text of Archbishop DiNoia's homily.)

For a complete listing of upcoming events related to Garvey's inauguration, visit


More news from CUA