St. Thomas University Celebrates Year of the Priest

Pediatrics Week
April 3, 2010

In recognition of the "Year of the Priest," designated by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Miami's St. Thomas University honors this week over 100 individuals who, as priests, have served the institution from 1961 as Cuban exiles were arriving in Miami during the Cuban exodus to the present.

Among these much admired figures are a number of Augustinian friars (the order which opened Santo Tomas de Villanueva University in Havana) including Rev. Patrick H. O'Neill, O.S.A.; Rev. James MacDougall, O.S.A. (this year celebrating his 50th anniversary of ordination); Bishops Gilberto Fernandez, Thomas Wenski, Robert Lynch, and Robert Dorsey; Monsignors William Hennessey, Michael Souckar, Andrew Anderson, Tomas Marin, and Franklyn M. Casale, University President since 1994. Three STU Directors of Campus Ministry attended the inaugural Mass: Rev. Warren Hall, Rev. Edward Blackwell, and Rev. Harry Loubriel. Those honored as deceased members include the late Rev. Jorge Sardinas (former STU art professor who designed the Chapel of Saint Anthony) and Monsignor Bryan Walsh, internationally known refugee and immigrant advocate, founder of Catholic Charities and organizer of Cuba's Pedro Pan Operation that helped over 15,000 Cuban children flee the island regime.

The Most Reverend Archbishop John C. Favalora inaugurated the momentous occasion March 16 with a campus Mass followed by a Paella luncheon in Plaza Kelly, named in honor of the late Augustinian friar who headed the Havana University. "Today we celebrate the life and service of the St. Thomas University priests who have also served in various parishes, capacities, educational endeavors and international missions," says St. Thomas University President Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale. "They have been like springs of living water, renewing students and exposing them to intercultural issues, peoples of different creeds, ideas and cultures united under a current of social justice, ethics and commitment to service. Thousands of graduated students were led to successful careers and meaningful lives thanks to their guidance, influence and teachings."

St. Thomas is hosting other on-campus Year of the Priest activities that include Eucharistic celebrations with Taize music, evening prayer services, recitation of Divine Mercy Chaplet, Stations of the Cross, and a March 19 St. Joseph Day Mass. Expanding its curriculum in the School of Theology and Ministry, the University is offering a new graduate degree, a Master's in Divinity.







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