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NEW FRIARS IN MINISTRY

FR. ADRIAN PATRICK

MC CAFFERY, OP

PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY

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FR. ADRIAN

I am a professor of philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum), in Rome, where I serve the Order and represent the Province. The University, which is one of the world’s centers of Thomism, and which has an important place in the mission of the overall Order, draws all sorts of students from many countries. The special mission of the University is to promote the philosophico-theological vision of Thomas Aquinas, and my own small role as professor falls within this brave endeavor. Aquinas remains one of the most important writers in the western canon, and it is in my view the Dominican friar’s birthright and duty to Thomisticize — up there, even, with praising, blessing, and preaching, I’m pretty sure. 

When was your solemn profession? If ordained, when was your ordination?

What is your favorite part of your ministry/what excites you the most about your ministry?

My solemn profession was June 2, 2019; my priestly ordination was May 22, 2021. 

What excites me most about my ministry is working with students who are enthusiastic about philosophy (contemporary and medieval) and in particular Aquinas (with his relevance to both). These students do not come to class hopeful of memorizing stale responses in hopes of satisfying a vague or atavistic inclination but of engaging Aquinas’s creative, astonishing answers by deep concentration and close reading (and rereading). To absorb the mind of Aquinas is to absorb the whole western canon. It is also, what is much more important, to take on the mind of Christ. 

What's an unexpected challenge you faced in your ministry?

The challenge I face in my ministry is that I am so far from “Home.” I joined the Central Province to live in the American Midwest and serve - as priest and preacher - this region’s wonderfully good, intelligent people. Although it is a challenge for me to live so far away, I am delighted and privileged to be able to do it. 

What's an unexpected joy you experienced in your ministry?

An unexpected joy is the amount of pastoral ministry I find in a largely academic context. It’s probably very unhelpful (I’m learning) to exaggerate the differences of the two, there being so much happy overlap. 

FR. JORDAN

I recently began my first assignment as a priest, serving as a chaplain at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In that role, I work in Campus Ministry and also teach a theology course for undergraduates.

When was your solemn profession? If ordained, when was your ordination?

What is your favorite part of your ministry/what excites you the most about your ministry?

I made solemn vows on August 14, 2021, and I was ordained a priest on May 20, 2023.

My favorite part of ministry is seeing people come alive as they encounter Christ, whether that's in the confessional, learning about the faith, or growing in friendship and community.

What's an unexpected challenge you faced in your ministry?

An unexpected challenge of ministry has been how quickly I've become "old." My references don't always land, and I don't always get what the students are talking about.

What's an unexpected joy you experienced in your ministry?

An unexpected joy of ministry has been the community at Aquinas College. There are about 1100 students, along with faculty and staff, which means that I'm running into the same people across campus and able to form deeper connections with students, faculty, and staff.

FR. BEN

I am currently a parochial vicar at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center at Purdue University.  I focus mainly on campus ministry.

When was your solemn profession? If ordained, when was your ordination?

What is your favorite part of your ministry/what excites you the most about your ministry?

I made solemn profession in June of 2019, was ordained to the Diaconate in May 2020, and ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 2021.

My favorite part of the ministry is that I get the honor of being invited into people's hearts.  Whether it is in confession or just meeting with someone one on one in my office, I have had the privilege of getting to see people's hearts and wounds.  We have all been hurt and have wounds in our hearts that we desire more than anything to heal and simply know that we are loved.  It is so beautiful to get to sit with someone as Jesus helps heal their wounds, or gives them insight into who they need to forgive etc. and ultimately leads to them knowing how much they are loved on an even deeper level.  Walking with people as the Lord heals their hearts is one of the great gifts of ministry.

What's an unexpected challenge you faced in your ministry?

One unexpected challenge I have faced in ministry is saying no to things that I want to do.  It is much easier to say no to the things that I would rather not do anyway, but when there are too many things going on and I need to say no to things that I really want to be a part of, it is much more difficult.  There are just so many great things going on, and I have needed to learn how to say no to things that I want to do even if the reason is that I actually need to sleep a little. 

What's an unexpected joy you experienced in your ministry?

One unexpected joy that I have had in ministry has been living in our community.  The community has changed a number of times in the two years that I have been here, but it has been so much fun to live and work with the brothers.  Especially in our house where we are all invested in the same ministry for the most part.  We have a great time together, and it is such a joy to come back for lunch with the community every day.  We also have a great backyard at our house which is great for relaxing and just looking at the trees.

FR. PETER

I am a parochial vicar and campus minister at St. Thomas Aquinas parish at Purdue University.

When was your solemn profession? If ordained, when was your ordination?

What is your favorite part of your ministry/what excites you the most about your ministry?

Solemn profession was August 14, 2021
Ordination to the priesthood was May 20, 2023

I love the organic conversations about the faith that happen in a campus ministry. I'm also consistently blown away by God's mercy as I hear confessions.

What's an unexpected challenge you faced in your ministry?

 It's difficult to balance the demands of ministry with our life of prayer, community, and study, not to mention our basic human needs for rest, friendship, and exercise.

What's an unexpected joy you experienced in your ministry?

Even in a smaller community of friars than I'm used to, we still form strong bonds founded on prayer and our common life.

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