The Catholic University of America

Jan. 29, 2013

St. Thomas Aquinas Mass Opens Spring Semester

  Father Brian Mulcahy

Very Rev. Brian Mulcahy, O.P., prior provincial of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph, serves as celebrant and homilist at the Mass.

Calling the Christian faithful to “rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God,” Very Rev. Brian Mulcahy, O.P., on Jan. 29 challenged Catholic school students and members of the Catholic University community to be living witnesses to others during the New Evangelization in the Church’s Year of Faith.

Father Mulcahy, prior provincial of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph, was chief celebrant and homilist at the Mass, which honors St. Thomas Aquinas, and this year marked National Catholic Schools Week.

Hosted annually by Catholic University and the Dominican House of Studies, the Mass was held for the first time in association with the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).

Students from Archbishop Carroll High School and St. Anthony Catholic School, both near the CUA campus, participated in the Mass held in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. NCEA urged its member schools to watch as the Mass was televised live shortly after noon.

St. Thomas Aquinas Mass  
Students from Archbishop Carroll High School and St. Anthony Catholic School participate in the Mass.  

The liturgy began with a formal procession of Catholic school students, as well as dozens of University deans and professors in academic regalia. They were followed by deacons and altar servers, and 43 concelebrating priests from the faculty and staff of CUA and the Dominican House of Studies, who were dressed in white vestments — the liturgical color to mark special Church celebrations, including the feast days of non-martyr saints.

University President John Garvey welcomed close to 800 participants to the standing-room-only Mass, while Brother Robert Bimonte, F.S.C., executive vice president of the National Catholic Educational Association, participated as a reader.

In his homily, Father Mulcahy reminded listeners, “As Christian men and women of today, we must equip ourselves with a thorough knowledge and profound understanding of the teachings of our Faith.”

The most effective tool for evangelization in today’s world, he said, “will not be just well-informed Christians but rather authentic Christians, who will be the witness by our lives as disciples of Jesus.”


Father Mulcahy also noted that faith tells us we should treat one another with the same reverence given to the Eucharist. “Wouldn’t that transform our celebration of this Year of Faith if each of us could strive to do that?” he asked. “Wouldn’t that go a long way to make us the authentic witnesses to Christ that the Holy Father urges us to be?”

CUA students participating in the Mass included cantor Siena Sanchez-O’Brien, a senior music major, and organist Caleb Wenzel, graduate assistant for music and liturgy. The Schola of the Dominican House served as choir for the Mass.

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.

The Mass was televised live on the television network EWTN and will be rebroadcast at midnight on Jan. 29.

To read Father Mulcahy’s prepared homily, see


More news from CUA