St. Thomas Aquinas Patron of our Parish
FEAST DAY – JANUARY 28th
SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS was a Dominican priest, theologian and philosopher. Known as the Doctor Angelicus (the Angelic Doctor) he is considered one of the greatest and most influential Christian philosopher and theologian to have ever lived. The church has declared him a Doctor of the Church and the Patron of Catholic Schools.
As Thomas was over 6 feet tall, heavy and reticent he was nicknamed at school the “dumb ox”, but when Albert the Great heard his brilliant defense of a difficult thesis, he exclaimed: “We call this young man a dumb ox, but so loud will be his bellowing in doctrine that it will resound throughout the world.”
Thomas was a man of great prayer and was totally enraptured, devoted, and passionately in love with God. He got by on little sleep and spent long hours in contemplative prayer. Several features characterized his prayer: one was his devotion to the celebration of the Eucharist; it would often move him to tears. Another, was his devotion to the crucifix and the crucified Christ. Lastly was the connection he had between prayer & study. Thomas declared that he learned more in prayer and contemplation than he had acquired from men or books. He questioned; without doubting; the great truths of faith, and demonstrated the relationship of faith and reason. Thomas proved for all time that there is no quarrel between reason and revelation. He lived less than 50 years and composed more than 60 works. The most famous of which is “Summa Theologica” a complete scientifically arranged explanation of theology and summary of Christian philosophy.
As a mendicant friar he journeyed on foot, and carried no provisions. He was frequently transferred from one city and country to another, at a time when travel was difficult and dangerous. It is estimated that on his travels across Europe he walked over 9,000 miles. Most of his assignments placed him at quite a distance from his beloved family. He had many close friends in the Dominicans, such as his assistant Reginald and his mentor Albert. He was a creative man of powerful convictions and emotions, with a vivid imagination. He also suffered from a phobia of lightning and storms believed to be cause by a storm in his youth that killed his younger sister.
Thomas reply to Jesus’ question regarding his desired reward was: “Nothing, Lord but you.” Like Thomas we are called to have our minds transformed by love, prayer and the Eucharist, so that we could all say along with our patron that “We desire nothing Lord, but you.”.
For many years the statue of St Thomas Aquinas stood guard and protected the children of St. Thomas Aquinas School from his niche on the 3rd floor outside wall on 4th Avenue. This statue has been restored and relocated to the 4th Avenue church courtyard.