January 25, 2024
The University celebrated the Patronal Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas with a Mass on Jan. 25. (Catholic University/Patrick G. Ryan)

Catholic University celebrated the Patronal Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas with a Mass that focused on fellowship in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Jan. 25.

Beginning with an academic procession, featuring University faculty dressed in their academic regalia, the Mass was celebrated by Father Allen Moran, O.P., prior provincial of the Province of St. Joseph. 

He was joined by concelebrants from the Dominican House of Studies, the University, and others. The Mass was livestreamed and broadcast on EWTN. 

In remarks near the close of Mass, University President Peter Kilpatrick reflected on St. Thomas Aquinas’s words on friends helping each improve in life.

“So call your friends today and this semester,” the president said. “Let them know how grateful you are for their friendship. Help them in their pursuit of sanctification..”

He continued: “We live in a perilous time of loneliness and social isolation and there are many right here at The Catholic University of America that want and need your friendship. Let us be known as a loving community of friends, and in so doing, live well the admonition of St Thomas to ‘unite us in friendship so as to preserve and promote virtue.’”

Sienna DeGross, a senior psychology major, said she lives out that ideal by working with people who have intellectual and physical disabilities thanks to programs at the University.

“I share God's light and love with other people in the community,” she said. “Some of them will say that they don't really get to interact with a lot of people, so when I get to be the person that they see on a consistent basis, it makes me happy.”

Senior Luis Garcia Abundis said the patronal feast Mass synthesizes the University experience.

“I really enjoy how it unites our campus and brings all fellowships and friendships together,” Garcia Abundis said. “We get to celebrate St. Thomas Aquinas, a great philosopher, and theologian. I like how all the faculty come together… have this beautiful procession together, and are able to just celebrate such a profound figure in the Catholic Church.”

View more photos from Patrick G. Ryan in the slideshow below.