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.
On New Year’s Eve, Pope Francis delivers his ‘silent majority’ speech
ROME - A pope is also the Bishop of Rome, and every once in a while, Romans expect to hear something special from their shepherd. On Sunday Pope Francis delivered, offering a New Year’s Eve homily expressing gratitude for his own Roman flock - although in terms, however, which will have resonance well beyond the Eternal City.
In effect, this was Pope Francis’s version of the famous 1969 “silent majority” speech by U.S. President Richard Nixon, suggesting that the concerns of ordinary people aren’t necessarily reflected in the rattle and hum of media coverage. Read more
Let's remember what Christmas is actually about to counter the stress and sadness
A psychologist friend told me recently that she and her colleagues are always overbooked at this time of year.
Make a note, if you need some time on the therapist's couch in December you'll need to get in early.
Conversations with friends this week certainly evoked a sense that, even when cognitive behavioural therapy isn't part of the mix, gritting teeth to endure the festive season is. Often rueful jokes about in-laws or wayward brothers mask a profound sadness that life hasn't turned out the way we'd hoped.
How did this happen? Where did the magical Christmases we enjoyed as children go? Read more
Courses Outline - 2018
Aquinas Academy is pleased to advise the following Courses Outline for 2018.
All Courses are held at Aquinas Academy, Level 5, 141 Harrington Street, The Rocks and include class notes.
tGo, seek the Kingdom: Pilgrimage & Poetry
Presenter: Elizabeth Guy, PhD (Poetry and Art)
When: 4 Tuesday mornings, 10am - 12noon, Feb 6 -27
On not quenching the Spirit
Nicholas King SJ
Pope Francis’ concern about the wording of the Lord’s Prayer has generated plenty of debate, and if that makes us more attentive to the working of the Spirit then we should embrace it. However, we ought not to be seeking a perfect translation, says Nicholas King SJ, with support from this Sunday’s second reading. ‘The function of the divine Word is to set us free, not enslave us.’
You have to be careful about words. There have been ruffled feathers in the past week because the pope indicated a certain dissatisfaction with the Italian translation of the Lord’s Prayer, ‘do not lead us into temptation’, indicating that the God whom we address as ‘Father’ could not possibly do such a thing. Read more
With remembrance goes compassion: Manus
In 'Epic', Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh mused on the relative importance of world and local contemporaneous events — Chamberlain's meeting with Hitler in Munich and a bitter local dispute about a patch of land.
'I have lived in important places, times / When great events were decided, who owned / That half a rood of rock, a no-man's land / Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.'
This poem came to mind when the refugees on Manus Island were forcibly evicted from their quarters. In Australia it was a small event ... Seen through the eyes of the refugees it was a large event, Read more
Conscience, hope and the double bind
Michael Whelan SM
One of the most wonderful gifts one human being can give another is the sense of realistic possibility. The presence of faith, hope and love tends to do this for us – especially when we are young and vulnerable. When others – typically parents – communicate faith in us, hope for us and love no matter what, it can awaken a realistic sense of our own dignity and worth and allow us to engage the world with some confidence and honesty. It tends to engender in us a life-giving sense of possibility, preparing us for adulthood ...
Course: Go, seek the Kingdom - Pilgrimage & Poetry
Dr Elizabeth Guy
Starts Tuesday 6 Feb 2018
This course examines the vibrant response of poetry to the experience of pilgrimage. Human beings have been compelled to turn their backs on the comfort of home in order to journey to the sacred. Even Odysseus knew the difficult journey of pilgrimage - fraught with suffering and an intense longing for a distant goal. Paradoxically, pilgrims travel forward in order to reach what the Ancient Greek philosopher Plotinus called that place from which we have come. Why?
Course: Developing Your Own Spirituality
Unit 1: Mystery & Freedom, Participation & Possibility
Starts Wednesday 7 Feb 2018
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.
Spiritual Practices and Attitudes 3 – The Jesus Prayer
Notes by Michael Whelan SM
In Psalm 6:2 we hear the psalmist cry out: “Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak.” In Luke’s Gospel we hear the blind man cry out: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (see Luke 18:36-43); in Paul’s Letter to the Philippians we read: “God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name ... at the name of Jesus every knee should bend” (see 2:5-11); St Paul urges us to pray without ceasing (see 1Thessalonians 5:16-19).
These words from Sacred Scripture prompted the early Christian communities to develop a brief and practical approach to prayer. Perhaps the best known of these prayer forms is the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner”.
Gospel for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (14 January 2018)
Gospel Notes by Michael Whelan SM
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). (John 1:35-42 – NRSV)