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From the Pastor 01/22/17

This weekend marks the beginning of the 2017 Catholic Ministries Appeal. As you know, each year the archbishop sponsors this diocesan wide effort to raise money for six key areas: the New Evangelization, Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary and Vocations, St. Rita’s School for the Deaf, Catholic Charities, Retired Priests, and finally Prison, College Campus, and Hospital Ministries.

I asked Scott and Jackie Borchers to be our parish spokes couple for the 2017 CMA and they graciously accepted. In meeting with Scott and Jackie last month, it was clear to me how much they love St. Gertrude Parish and believe in the CMA. Their witness talk appears in the centerfold of this weekend’s bulletin along with key information about this year’s CMA.

St. Gertrude continues to be a light in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Since I have been your pastor, our parish has exceeded its CMA goal each year. The goal for the 2017 CMA is $5 million, the same amount as last year, and our parish goal has been set for just under $95,000. Your help is needed to reach this important goal! Ninety cents of every dollar contributed goes directly to fund the ministries. Once again, if our parish exceeds its goal, we will receive 50% over our goal back to the parish, which has been designated to go towards our youth evangelization efforts, especially our expanding and very successful Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Atrium Program.

The 3rd Annual Greater Cincinnati Catholic Women’s Conference. SAVE THE DATE AND REGISTER!
The 2017 Greater Cincinnati Catholic Women’s Conference (GCCWC) will take place on Saturday, March 4, at The Manor House in Mason, OH. There is a wonderful line of speakers for this first Saturday of Lent ― speaking under the theme of Lord, Teach Us to Pray. Archbishop Schnurr will be joining the conference to celebrate Mass. Registration is now available online at: www.catholicwomenofcincinnati.com. Last year the event was sold out so register early and bring a friend!

Altar Servers: We are switching out the old altar server albs to new cassocks and surplices. Each of the new cassocks and surplices will cost us about $100 each. If anyone would like to make a contribution to the new altar server cassocks and surplices please fill out the flyer in the bulletin in the next few weeks and return to the parish.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Feast Day is January 28 (1225 – March 7, 1274)
By universal consent, St. Thomas Aquinas is the preeminent spokesman of the Catholic tradition of reason and of divine revelation. He is one of the great teachers of the medieval Catholic Church, honored with the titles Doctor of the Church and Angelic Doctor.

At the age of five he was given to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino in his parents’ hopes that he would choose that way of life and eventually became abbot. In 1239, he was sent to Naples to complete his studies. It was here that he was first attracted to Aristotle’s philosophy.

By 1243, Thomas abandoned his family’s plans for him and joined the Dominicans, much to his mother’s dismay. On her order, Thomas was captured by his brother and kept at home for over a year.

Once free, he went to Paris and then to Cologne, where he finished his studies under the instructions of Dominican St. Albert the Great. He held two professorships at Paris, lived at the court of Pope Urban IV, directed the Dominican schools at Rome and Viterbo, combated adversaries of the mendicants, as well as the Averroists, and argued with some Franciscans about Aristotelianism.

His greatest contribution to the Catholic Church is his writings. The unity, harmony and continuity of faith and reason, of revealed and natural human knowledge, pervades all his writings. As one might expect Thomas, as a man of the gospel, was an ardent defender of revealed truth. But he was also broad enough, deep enough, to see the whole natural order as coming from God the Creator, and to see reason as a divine gift to be highly cherished. In St. Thomas we see a beautiful blending of both faith and reason. St. Thomas taught us all that these two important realities are never opposed to one another, but instead both are used to lift us up to the Holy Trinity.

The Summa Theologiae, his last and, unfortunately, uncompleted work, deals with the whole of Catholic theology. He stopped work on it after celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273. When asked why he stopped writing, he replied, “I cannot go on ... All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.” He died March 7, 1274.

Fortunately his secretaries and ardent theological followers knew his style of writing, as well as his vision, and finished the Summa for him.

We can look to Thomas Aquinas as a towering example of Catholicism in the sense of broadness, universality, and inclusiveness. We should be determined anew to exercise the divine gift of reason in us, our power to know, learn, and understand. At the same time we should thank God for the gift of his revelation, especially in Jesus Christ.

Saint Thomas Aquinas is the Patron Saint of Catholic schools, colleges, and students.

A blessed week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor