Posted by Anthony, UST Senior
Hard hats, saws, nail guns, noise complaints, saw dust, lots of coffee (some tobacco may also have been present), shouting foremen, crews working the normal business day to shame to meet deadline, an electrician, and even an on sight firefighter. Multimillion dollar construction contract in South Saint Paul? No way. Five hundred dollar construction contract in the middle of Saint Paul. More specifically, the 2009 Saint John Vianney Seminary’s homecoming float worksite.
In regards to the float contest, the seminarians have notoriously swept the homecoming “field” for as long as present memory can recall, regardless of the blue ribbon commission’s ultimate decision. A pirate ship, armed with candy lobbing cannons; a two-story castle, whose climax was a Lord-of-the-Rings styled battle between a twenty foot long dragon, his league of orcish minions and no less than forty armored knights ; and the Tommie version of the Trojan horse, which at first appeared like a slightly obtuse football—until it paused in front of the judges and (miraculously) became a football field housing a team Tommie football players.
This year was no different. The Sems warmed themselves that snowy October morning with the literally flamethrowing exhaust of their biblically proportioned Dolorian, which came complete with fully functioning, horizontally hinged doors and an endearing white haired Doc at its helm. And in tribute to the “125 Years” theme, the 125 or so seminarians that did not play main characters of the Back to the Future trilogy donned white shirts with years 1985-2009 stenciled front and back in black spray paint, and walked in single file line, thus creating wonderful visual pun.
Unfortunately, neither the time-line, nor endearing doc, nor even the hot Dolorian could secure for them the win. Apparently, despite the snow that the Sems ordered in that morning, the fire-extinguisher-bearing fire fighter, and the clearly competent scientist present (he was even wearing a white lab jacket for godsakes), the judges did not score the float well in the “safety” category. Which apparently is a scoring category.
Oh well. Maybe this year’s loss will motivate an even more massive float next year. Who knows… only time will tell.
Posted by Jim Carrico, UST Graduate Student, Master of Arts in Catholic Studies
Last Thursday (10/22/09) the CSMA students hosted the second annual Fall Disputation. A disputation is a formal discussion upon some philosophic question, always phrased in a yes / no form. At this latest discussion the question posed was, “Is execution a legitimate form of punishment?” Most would agree that as a form of defense, execution could be resorted to in some instances. However the question was crafted so as to exclude this consideration and rather focus on the point of whether it is justifiable purely as a form of punishment. This question was elucidated by Dr. Kennedy and then taken up by, Dr. Wojda and Dr. Lu. What followed was a riveting examination of the nature of punishment in general and its aims. The fruit of the evening was that everyone went away with a more lucid sense of what issues were involved in the question. The CSMA students intend to host many more disputations in the future. So keep your eyes peeled and be sure to reply to emails and postings with any intriguing questions you may have. We are always looking for topics!
Posted by Matthew, UST Senior, Chemistry and Catholic Studies
I could not really picture what my college experience would be like if I had not chosen to be a Catholic Studies major. The courses, by design, target the person as a whole seeking to advance the intellect and increase a person’s capacity for learning in a way that, in my opinion, no other department at St. Thomas can replicate. One would think that that my mind would be in two parallel worlds if I was studying Thermodynamics and Quantum Mechanics at the same time as the Life and Thought of Cardinal Newman and Pathways and Practices of Christian Spirituality; however, it is quite the contrary. Catholic Studies combines faith and reason together, without compromising either, to create a fulfilling and deeply humanizing atmosphere. The philosophical, historical, and theological aspects of Catholic Studies courses have improved my analytical skills by teaching me to examine a subject logically, from a historical context, and with prudence. Chemistry has given me a sense of how little we actually understand about the natural world and, as a result, manifests how important it is to study our, as Chesterton says, “little sister earth” with a rational, ethical, and an imaginative procedure.
Posted by James, UST Senior, Philosophy and Catholic Studies
Any student can empathize with the unique set of fears and challenges brought forth by the beginning of a new school year. Our fresh bold feelings of hope, excitement, seriousness, and anticipation our often stifled a bit by a coupling set of fears and anxieties. It is only natural and right for us to look to our leaders for guidance and support when we experience such a mixed-bag of emotions.
At the beginning of this school year, I was blessed to take a retreat with the Catholic Studies Leadership Interns. This retreat was a wonderful opportunity for me to recall to mind who I acknowledge as my ultimate leader: Jesus Christ. With a total of five seminars, a group of about thirty Catholic Studies students learned the role of Catholic leaders in the world, which is always in the light of Jesus Christ’s perfect leadership. For example, we discussed how we define Catholic leadership, the necessity of Catholic leadership, the principles of Catholic leadership, where Catholic leadership takes place, the consequences of Catholic leadership, and much more.
We also spent a fair amount of time as a community in recreation: anything from canoeing to thrilling games of ping-pong to listening to the captivating sounds of Fr.Keating and Dr. Naughton’s guitar-playing-skills. It was a great time!
Most importantly, though, we spent time together in prayer by praying the hours of the Office, having a Holy Hour with benediction, and celebrating the Holy Mass. This, we know, is the source our communion.
All-in-all, it was a great blessing to retreat with the Interns. I was reminded of the power of Christ’s love and its uniting effects. The retreat re-ignited the Catholic vision within me; and, therefore, re-emphasized true principles through which I can orient my everyday life and lead others on the path to Christ.
Indeed, at the onset of a new school year, I empathize will all those who experience fear and anxiety. However, as Christians, we must fix our eyes on Christ who alone has the ability to dispel all fear and anxiety by revealing to us our true end. I conclude with a brief passage we read at the retreat, which was particularly inspiring to me. It was taken from a message given to the youth of America in May of 2008 by Pope Benedict XVI: “At times, however, we are tempted to close in on ourselves, to doubt the strength of Christ’s radiance, to limit the horizon of hope. Take courage!…Let your imaginations soar freely along the limitless expanse of the horizons of Christian discipleship.”