Aquinas alums commit to religious, priestly vocations

Sister Mary Thomas and Sister Mary Andre, graduates of Thomas Aquinas College, recently made first professions as cloistered Norbertine Canonesses.

Two recent graduates of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula have made professions in their call to religious life.

Sister Mary Thomas (Alison Bright, class of 2009) and Sister Mary Andre (Annie Huguelet, class of 2011) made their first profession of vows as cloistered Norbertine Canonesses and received their black veils with the Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph in Tehachapi last month.

The Rite of First Profession took place during Mass on the morning of June 6, the Feast of St. Norbert, in the monastery’s chapel, with Norbertine Father Alphonsus Mary Hermes, provost of the priory, presiding. Earlier that morning, the canonesses had been vested and received their religious names. The families of both women, and the three other canonesses who also made their first vows, witnessed the professions from the small lay portion of the chapel. The Norbertine Canonry is now home to 29 sisters.

Elsewhere, Father Matthew Busch (class of 2004) became the college’s 60th alumnus priest on May 10, ordained by Bishop Gregory Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pensacola. Father Busch’s first assignment is at Blessed Sacrament Church, Tallahassee, where he also served as a transitional deacon.


Voices

Spiritual, but not religious? Who to blame for declining church attendance

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

It’s no secret that today there’s been a massive drop-off in church attendance. Moreover, that drop-off in church-going is not paralleled by the same widespread growth in atheism and agnosticism. Rather, more and more people are claiming to be spiritual but not religious, faith-filled but not churchgoers. Why this exodus from our churches?

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