The Aquinas Academy
The Aquinas Academy was set up under the auspices of the Australian Province of the Marist Fathers by Fr Austin Woodbury SM in March 1945. The Academy began as a centre for the study of Philosophy and Theology in the Thomistic tradition. For some twenty-nine years it continued in this capacity under Fr Woodbury's guidance, in premises at the back of St Patrick's Church, Gloucester Street, in The Rocks (Sydney, NSW). For a short while the Academy offered a License in Philosophy under accreditation from the University of St Thomas in Rome. Since its inception, a number of qualified priests, religious and laity have been part of the lecturing staff. The Academy was one of the pioneers of Catholic adult education in Australia.
Since 1975, the Academy has increasingly focused on general adult education in the faith. Perhaps the most popular of the programs mounted was the Christian Growth Program, offering basic education in theology, morality, psychology and spirituality.
Sandwiches for the homeless in London
Br Ivan Vodopivec sm writes from Notre Dame de France, London: Normally on a Saturday morning our parish centre would be full of volunteers preparing sandwiches, crisps, cakes, biscuits, fruit and soup ready to welcome our 100 -120 visitors, most of them living on the streets or vulnerably housed. But on March 14th that all stopped. The normally lively bustling Leicester square with hundreds of people on the go became a still and quiet and somewhat eerie space. Read more
Aquinas Courses Starting Again!
A full range of Courses commences again from 21 July.
July/August 2020t THE MYSTICS: The Pathfinders to the Spiritual II
Presenter: Sr. Patty Andrew
When: 4 Tuesday mornings, 10am-12noon; July 21, 28, August 4, 11
Cost: $150/person (Including summary notes)
t DEVELOPING YOUR OWN SPIRITUALITY I
Presenters: Michael Whelan SM, PhD & Marie Biddle, RSJ, MA, MTh
When: 4 Thursday mornings, 10am – 12 noon, August 6, 13, 20, 27
Cost: $150/person (Including summary notes)
Laudato Si' - Special Anniversary Year
24 May 2020 - 24 May 2021
On 24 May 2015 Pope Francis signed Laudato Si’, the watershed encyclical letter that called world’s attention to the increasingly precarious state of our common home. Five years on the encyclical appears ever more relevant. The multiple “cracks in the planet that we inhabit” (LS, 163), from the melting ice caps in the Arctic to the raging wildfires in the Amazon, from extreme weather patterns around the world to unprecedented levels of loss of biodiversity that sustain the very fabric of life, are too evident and detrimental to be ignored any more. Pope Francis’ prophetic words continue to ring in our ears: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (LS, 160) The poor communities around the world are already the early and disproportionate victims of the current ecological degradation and we cannot remain indifferent any longer to the increasingly desperate “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (LS, 49). Read full article
Winton Higgins, Albert Camus and Pope Francis
Winton Higgins is a distinguished writer, Secular Buddhist teacher and Holocaust scholar. He tells us the story of Le Chambon. In 1940 the writer Camus was sent there for his TB but while writing The Plague, he observed a conspiracy of goodness. The community was committed to saving the lives of many Jewish people and helping them escape to Switzerland.
As plague force global emissions in our time are temporarily lessened by flights,cruises and industry being locked down for the pandemic, many are re-reading The Plague. Winton discusses the novel in terms of what strength we can draw from it as we face the truth of the climate emergency in our generation.
He also looks at Laudato Si! by Pope Francis to learn how not to displace our moral responsibility... How to be citizens rather than consumers. More information and to listen
"Comments on" and "Response to" Michael Whelan's Book Review
See Article "Problem-solving has Little to Offer in the Face of Evil" on this website
Comments on Michael Whelan’s Review of the book: Abuse and Cover-Up: Refounding the Catholic Church in Trauma (Orbis Books, 2019), by author Gerald A. Arbuckle, SM.
I am grateful to fellow Marists Michael for his review and to Tom Ryan for his Response that are on this website. They have tried to engage my book seriously. I offer a few reflections in light of their interchanges.
Course: The Mystics - Pathfinders to the Spiritual II
Sr. Patty Andrew osu
Starts Tuesday 21 July
Four sessions will be presented by Sr. Patty Andrew osu, featuring several men and women from the Christian mystical tradition who have illuminated the mystical path for those seeking a heart understanding of the divine. The series is a continuation of the work presented in 2019, however it is not necessary to have attended these sessions before taking part in the 2020 series.
Course: Developing Your Own Spirituality, Unit I
Mystery & Freedom, Participation & Possibility
Starts Thursday 6 August
The aim of this course is to assist participants to develop an approach to everyday living which will promote a well-grounded personal spirituality. Spirituality is first and last about relationships – with God (however you name God), yourself, other people and the events and things of the world. Spirituality is never private though it is always personal. It begins by listening effectively – “with the ear of the heart” as St Benedict says – to what is going on.
The self-emptying of Divine Presence
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
•“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
“The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Spiritual Practices and Attitudes 10 - Eucharist: Bread of Life
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (2002) goes to the heart of the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist:
The sacrificial nature of the Mass, solemnly asserted by the Council of Trent in accordance with the Church’s universal tradition, [Ecumenical Council of Trent, Session 22, Doctrina de ss. Missae sacrificio, 17 September 1562 : Enchiridion Symbolorum, H. Denzinger and A. Schönmetzer, editors (editio XXXIII, Freiburg: Herder, 1965; hereafter, Denz-Schön), 1738-1759.] was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which offered these significant words about the Mass: ‘At the Last Supper our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood, by which he would perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, thus entrusting to the Church, his beloved Bride, the memorial of his death and resurrection.’
Gospel for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (12 July 2020)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
van Gogh - The Sower
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”
The rest of the Gospel text below is optional:
Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered,