Thursday, November 29, 2012

Toronto the Good?

To say the very least, Toronto has had an eventful week. On Sunday, the Toronto Argonauts defeated the Calgary Stampeders to win the 100th Grey Cup. The Argos' victory in the Canadian Football League's annual championship game was naturally the cause of great rejoicing here, but Toronto residents have still had much to grind their teeth over this week. Many of the post-Grey Cup letters to the editor that have appeared in local papers have been focused less on the game itself than on the fact that Canadian singer Justin Bieber was roundly booed by the crowds during his performance at the Grey Cup halftime show; some commentators have criticized the Grey Cup spectators for their perceived rudeness, others have opined that Bieber deserves to be booed in part because he dressed down for a ceremony in which he received an award from Canada's prime minister, and some have sensibly observed that football fans aren't exactly the core audience for a teenaged pop star like Justin Bieber.

More significant Toronto news this week concerns the city's mayor, Rob Ford, seen above proudly bearing the Grey Cup. Ford swept into office in 2010 with the strong support of homeowners in Toronto's outlying neighborhoods, who saw the gruff populist as their champion against the city's downtown elites; as mayor, Ford has delivered on promises to cut taxes and reduce municipal spending, but he has also been criticized for his personal style and for the appearance of corruption. One neuralgic issue has been Ford's practice of regularly leaving skipping meetings and leaving work early to coach a high school football team; critics have accused the mayor of neglecting his official duties, while Ford insists that his work with young athletes is a reflection of his care and concern for the community. Ultimately, Rob Ford's commitment to high school football may have been his political undoing: on Monday of this week, a superior court judge ordered Ford to leave office for violating a provincial conflict-of-interest law by taking part in a City Council vote on whether or not he should be made to repay $3,150 in donations that he had sought from lobbyists to support a private football charity that he runs. Ford has appealed the ruling and hopes to remain mayor while the appeal is considered (otherwise, he'll have to leave office by December 10th); meanwhile, the city has been thrown into political limbo as it waits to see whether - and for how long - the mayor will be allowed to stay in office.

Since my arrival in Toronto, I have been struck by the polarization in reactions to Rob Ford's plight and to his mayoralty in general. The downtown liberals who have sneered at Ford all along now express their schadenfreude at his apparent comeuppance, while stalwarts of "Ford Nation" argue that the mayor has gotten a raw deal and profess continued loyalty even as they admit that Ford has made some serious mistakes. For my part - and speaking as a foreign national who is politically neutral by necessity - I regret that the work of governing Canada's largest city has effectively been put on hold while the question of what happens next is sorted out. On the other hand, I will admit that I was pleased that the Toronto City Council voted yesterday to drop plans to ban plastic shopping bags. I suppose that I should be thanking God for small favors! AMDG.


ADDENDUM (11:15 A.M., 11/30/12): For another take on this week on Toronto, check out the above commentary from Canadian pundit Rex Murphy, aired last night on CBC's The National. This sample of Rex's typically acerbic eloquence should give you an idea of why I always look forward to his Thursday night commentaries. I'll also note this: earlier this morning, Mayor Ford was cleared to run in the hypothetical by-election that could follow his removal from office, so this ongoing saga will likely remain very interesting for political junkies like me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

(American) Thanksgiving.

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States - but not in Canada, which celebrates its own Thanksgiving Day in October. Though it has been a fairly ordinary Thursday here in Toronto, I've noticed that some area retailers are gearing up for their own version of "Black Friday," seeking to draw Canadian consumers who would otherwise go south of the border tomorrow to find holiday bargains. American Thanksgiving and Black Friday have received relatively little attention here; the big news lately has been the 100th Grey Cup championship game, which will be played this coming Sunday at the Rogers Centre, pitting the hometown Toronto Argonauts against the Calgary Stampeders.

For this year's Thanksgiving post, I wanted to share something on the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation, an annual White House event at which the President of the United States is publicly presented with a live turkey (which in recent years has customarily received a presidential pardon, presumably sparing him or her from being killed and eaten for the holiday meal). The National Archives blog Prologue: Pieces of History has a post providing more details on the history of the Turkey Presentation as well as more information on White House Thanksgiving traditions.

Of the photos included with the Prologue post, my favorite had to be the above image of the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation held in the White House in 1967. This is a delightfully strange image: the ceremony takes place not outside in the Rose Garden (inclement weather, perhaps?) but indoors (the bird's feathers must have made quite a mess), the poor turkey has been made to wear a macabre sign around its neck ("Good Eating, Mr. President"), and the positioning of the microphone at lower left makes it look like the bird is going to give a statement (maybe something like, 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori'). President Johnson and his guests also display a kind of dour seriousness that seems to betray a sober respect for the bird's imminent act of sacrifice.

My prayerful best wishes are with all who celebrate Thanksgiving today. AMDG.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Varsity on Remembrance Day.

Following up on Sunday's post on the annual Service of Remembrance at the University of Toronto, I would like to share an article on the event from The Varsity, the U of T student newspaper. The Varsity also produced a very fine video with highlights of the service, which I'm happy to post here for the edification of readers who, like me, are into such things. AMDG.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another Remembrance Day post.

Driving to church this morning, I heard an extraordinarily eloquent and moving Remembrance Day tribute in which Alberta native Susan Kent Davidson shares the story of her uncle Clyde Gladwin Kent, who enlisted in the Canadian Army during the First World War and died during the Battle of Passchendaele, at the age of nineteen. To listen to the piece, visit this page on the CBC website.

Though she was born decades after the War, Davidson grew up with a vivid awareness of her uncle's sacrifice and brings his story to life by reading from some of the letters that he wrote home from Europe. "When I'm reading these letters," she says, "I'm aware that people now - almost nobody now, I think - would write quite that way, would think quite that way, and yet I feel touched by it over time, I really do. I knew people who thought and talked like that, or at least came from a time when you thought and talked like that. . . . I want people to remember what Canada was like not even a century ago, what people's lives were like then . . ."

The title of Davidson's reflection, All the Boys I Knew, comes from the answer that her aunt gave when asked why she had never married: "All the boys I knew died in the War." On the whole, Davidson does an excellent job of conveying the impact that a long-ago war had (and still has) on individual lives. I hope that hearing her words provides a meaningful opportunity to reflect on what this day is about. AMDG.

Remembrance Day in Toronto.

As I do each year, I wanted to post something for Remembrance Day. There are many Remembrance Day events in and around Toronto, including official ceremonies sponsored by the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario; the University of Toronto also offers its own annual Service of Remembrance, recalling in a special way the alumni, students, faculty, and staff of the University who gave their lives in the two World Wars (628 in World War I, 557 in World War II). This year, U of T held its Service of Remembrance on Friday morning; I was there, and this post presents some photos from the event.

A crowd gathers prior to the start of the service.

This shot is meant to give a panoramic view of the proceedings, with the service being run from the platform in the archway of Soldiers' Tower at left, with various dignitaries and attendees at right.

Members of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Ontario stand at the ready with wreaths to be laid in front of the University's war memorial later in the service.

Some who had roles in the service, including Brigadier-General (ret.) H. E. Brown (second from right), who commanded a Canadian Army unit during the Second World War, was wounded under fire in Italy, and was awarded the Order of the British Empire. Having recently celebrated his 100th birthday, General Brown remains spry enough to stand throughout the forty-minute service and laid a wreath at the memorial in the name of his fellow veterans.

Presiding over the service was another World War II veteran, Anglican priest and retired Canadian Army major Canon W. Ebert Hobbs.

A U of T undergraduate reads the poem "In Flanders Fields," the first line of which provided the inspiration for the remembrance poppies which many wear in the weeks preceding Remembrance Day in British Commonwealth countries. Widely associated with Remembrance Day, "In Flanders Fields" also has a unique local connection: its author, John McCrae, was an Ontario native and a U of T alumnus.

U of T President David Naylor (center) and Governing Council Chair Richard Nunn prepare to lay a wreath in front of the memorial in the name of the University. Many other wreaths were laid in the name of other groups associated with U of T, including alumni and faculty, student fraternities and clubs, and members of the constituent colleges of the University.

The "Last Post," which holds a place in the Commonwealth similar to the place that "Taps" holds in the United States, is played in honor of the dead.

Salutes during the "Last Post."

The crowd stands in reflective silence during the "Last Post."

Wreaths laid before the University of Toronto War Memorial.

Wreaths laid by some of U of T's undergraduate fraternities.

My favorite wreath, given by the U of T History Students' Association.

The opening lines of "In Flanders Fields," inscribed within the war memorial.

The poem's author, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, stares from a portrait in the Soldiers' Tower Memorial Room, which houses a collection of war memorabilia associated with the University.

This stained glass window in the Soldiers' Tower Memorial Room was dedicated in November of 1995. The Soldiers' Tower webpage offers an explanation of the window's imagery: "The Victory Torch in the centre stands for the attainment of peace and of hope. The maple leaf, rising above, represents the emergence of Canada as a nation devoted to freedom, understanding and world peace. The poppies at the foot of the crosses invoke remembrance."

These ghostly faces are part of another stained glass window in Soldiers' Tower, this one recalling Canadian soldiers who fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April of 1917.

A bit difficult to read in this photo - but worth enlarging - one of the main inscriptions of the U of T War Memorial: "To the glorious memory of members of this University who fell in the Great War, 1914-1918. Take these men for your ensamples: like them, remember that prosperity can be only for the free, that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."

Another inscription, this one coming from a later addition to the War Memorial including the names of members of the University of Toronto who were killed during the Second World War. "Their story is not graven only in stone over their native earth, but lives on far away, without visible symbol, woven into the stuff of other men's lives."

And here is one last inscription - to me, the most fascinating and enigmatic of the group. The Greek phrase at the top, Apothanon eti lalei, is from Hebrews 11:4: "Though dead, he still speaks." The English lines that follow - "And so they passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for them on the other side" - are adapted from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and a quick Internet search suggests that they saw fairly wide use in twentieth-century war memorials. The closing phrase, Iustorum animae in manu Dei, is taken from Wisdom 3:1: "The souls of the just [are] in the hands of God." An appropriate prayer for Remembrance Day, I think, and a fitting way to end this post. AMDG.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

St. John's in New Bedford closes after 141 years.

A focus on coverage of this Tuesday's election kept me from reporting the denouement of a sad story that I've been tracking for a while: on Sunday, St. John the Baptist Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts officially closed its doors after 141 years. The oldest Portuguese parish in the United States, St. John the Baptist had faced the possibility of closure for the past two years on account of demographic shifts, declining Mass attendance, and a lack of money to fund repairs to the aging church building. Despite efforts by parishioners to revitalize the parish community and raise needed capital, earlier this year the Fall River Diocese announced plans to close the church. Public protests by members and friends of the parish and interventions on their behalf by New Bedford mayor Jon Mitchell and area state representative Tony Cabral were not enough to reverse the decision, which parishioners may appeal to Rome. On Monday, the New Bedford Standard-Times had reactions from parishioners attendng the final Mass at St. John's:
George Ladino, 87, remembers marrying his wife in St. John the Baptist Church back in 1947. All five of his children were baptized at the church on the corner of County and Allen streets, he said.

But there won't be any new memories in the now-shuttered St. John the Baptist, where hymns were sung for the last time and clergy delivered their final Mass on Sunday, leaving many in tears and others vowing to appeal the closure all the way to the Vatican as the oldest Portuguese church in North America shut its doors.

"This has been our lives," Ladino said outside the church Sunday, standing with his wife and adult son.

Closure loomed for the 140-year-old church, the oldest Portuguese church in North America, since March after the Diocese of Fall River announced that it would shut it down because of declining attendance, shifting demographics in the city and high deferred maintenance costs and debt.

The church avoided taking on new debt over the past four years, however, said Fred Langevin, president of Friends of St. John the Baptist N.B., which opposes the closure. A capital campaign spearheaded by the group had also made some progress against the church's financial headwinds, he added.

When asked by reporters before the Mass if St. John's could see the sort of occupations or overnight vigils that have cropped up across the state since 2009, Langevin responded, "That's not what we're doing. ... We're here to save the parish."

The group has appealed to Bishop George W. Coleman to keep the church open; should that fail, they plan to take their appeal to the Vatican.

Parishioners from St. John's will be welcome at Our Lady of Mount Carmel — a Portuguese church on Bonney Street — where they will have the same pastor, the Rev. John J. Oliveira.

. . .

Some of St. John's loyal members, however, said it would be hard to start over at a new church.

"I don't know where I'm going to go, I haven't decided yet," said Mario Fialho of New Bedford, who emigrated from Portugal in 1968 and attended Mass at St. John's for 42 years.

St. John the Baptist parish dates back to 1871, with the Rev. Joao Inacio de Azevedo Encarnacao, a native of the Azorean island of Pico, serving as pastor to the burgeoning Portuguese community in New Bedford.

Since then it has remained a fixture of New Bedford and Portuguese life, parishioners said Sunday.

"I feel like a part of my life has been ripped away," said Jesse Santos, 83, who was an altar boy at St. John's, married there and saw his two sons baptized there. "I have a broken heart."
My prayers are with the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Church as they grieve their loss and face an uncertain future. AMDG.

The Final Gladness.

Father James V. Schall, S.J. has frequently appeared in these virtual pages, most recently in October of this year. All good things must come to an end, and Father Schall's long teaching career will end in December when he officially retires from his post as professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University. Readers within striking distance of Washington may wish to know that Father Schall will be marking his retirement with a last public lecture on the Hilltop, "The Final Gladness," scheduled to take place at 5 pm on Friday, December 7, 2012 in Gaston Hall on the Geogetown campus. I regret that I will not be able to attend, but I trust that many others will be there to bid Father Schall a fitting farewell and to hear his parting words.

Of course, it's perfectly reasonable for an 84-year-old teacher to retire from the classroom; Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, and all that, even if some teachers seem to be able to go on indefinitely. Even so, I am a bit saddened by the realization that Georgetown students will no longer be able to "major in Schall," and I consider his retirement an incalculable loss; every great teacher is in some sense unique, even if the wisdom that they impart is timeless and universal. I am cheered by the sentiments of a First Thoughts commenter who described Father Schall as "an old school, bad-ass Jesuit: erudite but humble, leading the way to the good, the true and the beautiful." I'd say that's a pretty good way to be remembered. AMDG.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


I returned my absentee ballot to my local town clerk in Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago, joining millions of other Americans who have cast their votes before Election Day. As I always do, I voted a split ticket: the candidates I chose included Democrats, Republicans, and some who belong to neither of the two major parties. I've always been a registered Democrat, albeit a pro-life and culturally conservative one, but in practice I am a very independent voter. This year I limited myself to the choices on the ballot, but in some years I’ve written in names in some races – serious write-ins, people who were eligible and qualified for the positions in question – and I’ve taken a certain blithe satisfaction in later checking the vote returns for my precinct and sometimes finding a single write-in vote (mine!) noted after the totals for the candidates who were actually on the ballot.

In recent weeks, some of my Canadian friends have asked me whether I found it difficult to choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. I’ve usually responded by saying that I shouldn’t be expected to have to choose either one of them: I have good reasons not to vote for Obama and not to vote for Romney, and I'm pleased that the various third parties provide principled alternatives for voters who find the two major candidates equally unpalatable. I would not argue, as Alasdair MacIntyre once did, that the proper response to a choice between two unacceptable candidates is to not vote at all, nor would I follow the suggestion of one of my brother Jesuits and not cast a vote for president while voting in other contests on the ballot. Not voting - or casting a blank ballot, which amounts to the same thing - is not a very effective way to make one's voice heard; by contrast, voting for a third-party candidate offers a much clearer expression of discontent with the choices offered by the two major parties, even when the message sent by one's vote remains largely unheeded.

As I wrote at the time of the last presidential election, I do not regard voting in elections as a means of 'helping to build up the Kingdom of God,' as some might suggest. Only God can build the Kingdom of God, and the good that can be achieved through the political process - as great as it may sometimes be - always remains essentially contingent and impermanent; it seems ridiculous to suggest that voting for Obama or Romney or anyone else is going to bring us closer to the absolute Good of union with God, but somehow that doesn't stop a lot of commentators on American politics from saying otherwise. It is important that we vote with an informed conscience, but even as we do so we should remain mindful of Augustine's admonition that we have here no lasting city.

As I anticipate the results of this election, my humble hope is that this long and bruising campaign will come to a relatively quick and peaceful conclusion. I pray that we will not see long legal disputes of the kinds we have seen in some elections, with an accordingly long wait for the declaration of a winner. In a few hours, we should see whether or not that prayer will be answered. AMDG.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Dies irae, dies illa.

Like yesterday's post on All Saints, this All Souls post is a re-post from last year. As with yesterday's post, I chose to post this second time because I think it's worth sharing again.


For your prayerful reflection on All Souls Day, here is the sequence traditionally associated with this feast, the Dies Irae from the Latin Requiem Mass. Attributed to the thirteenth-century Franciscan Thomas of Celano, the Dies Irae enjoys a very special place in Western musical culture thanks to the memorable settings of the Requiem text by composers ranging from Mozart to Verdi to Britten, among many others. For All Souls, I chose to avoid any 'classical' setting of the Dies Irae in favor of the one heard above, because some days only Gregorian chant will do.

If you're interested, below you can find the Latin text of the Dies Irae followed by my own English translation. I decided to translate the text myself out of a sense of dissatisfaction with the various translations that I found online, and perhaps also as a salutary spiritual exercise for All Souls' Day - and, finally, to practice my cobwebbed Latin! The translation was done hastily and could certainly be improved, so I welcome comments and criticism; my goal was to convey the sense of the original faithfully and in a style that flows well in English without trying to reproduce the poetic meter of the original. So here goes:

Dies irae! Dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sibylla!

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando iudex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulchra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit, et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Iudicanti responsura.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur,
Unde mundus iudicetur.

Iudex ergo cum sedebit,
Quidquid latet, apparebit:
Nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
Cum vix iustus sit securus?

Rex tremendae maiestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, fons pietatis.

Recordare, Iesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuae viae:
Ne me perdas illa die.

Quaerens me, sedisti lassus:
Redemisti Crucem passus:
Tantus labor non sit cassus.

Iuste iudex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis
Ante diem rationis.

Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
Culpa rubet vultus meus:
Supplicanti parce, Deus.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Preces meae non sunt dignae:
Sed tu bonus fac benigne,
Ne perenni cremer igne.

Inter oves locum praesta,
Et ab haedis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis,
Flammis acribus addictis:
Voca me cum benedictis.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
Cor contritum quasi cinis:
Gere curam mei finis.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus:

Pie Iesu Domine,
dona eis requiem. Amen.


O day of wrath, that day
when the earth will be reduced to ashes,
as David and the Sibyl both testify!

What great fear there will be,
when the judge comes
to judge all things strictly.

A trumpet casts a wondrous sound
into the realm of the tombs,
calling all [to come] before the throne.

Death and nature will both marvel
as the [human] creature rises
to answer its judge.

A book will be brought forth
in which all things are recorded –
all that for which the world will be judged.

When, therefore, the judge appears,
all that is hidden will appear,
and no ills will remain unavenged.

As miserable as I am, what am I to say?
whose protection may I invoke,
when even the just lack security?

O most majestic King,
who freely saves those to be saved,
save me, source of mercy!

Remember, merciful Jesus,
that I am the one for whom you came:
may I not be lost on that day!

Seeking me, you sat down tired:
to redeem me, you suffered the Cross –
may your toil not be in vain!

Just and avenging judge,
may you grant remission [of sins]
before the day of reckoning.

Guilty, now I sigh,
my face red with shame:
save thy petitioner, o God!

Having absolved Mary [Magdalene],
and heard the plea of the thief,
may you give me hope as well.

Though my prayers are not worthy,
be kind to me, o Good One,
that I may be spared the eternal fire!

Place me among the sheep,
and separate me from the goats,
setting me at your right hand.

When the wicked are confounded
and given over to bitter flames:
call me among the blessed.

Meek and humble, I pray,
with a heart contrite as ashes:
Help me reach my final end.

How tearful that day will be,
when from the ashes will arise
the guilty man for judgment.
Therefore spare him, O God!

Merciful Lord Jesus,
grant them rest. Amen.

To some contemporary ears, I suspect that some of the above lines may seem a bit harsh; the familiarity of the Latin text and the beauty of its poetic form can easily distract us from the admonitory content of the Dies Irae. As stern as these words may be, though, they also remind us that God is merciful - indeed, the very source of mercy - and they call on us to pray: first for our beloved dead and for our own repentance, but also that we may offer to others the same mercy that we seek for ourselves. May all of us who celebrate this Feast of All Souls - including your sinful scribe - take these words in the right way, and take them to heart. AMDG.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

"We think that saints are very rare . . ."

I very rarely 're-post' items that I have already published on this blog, but I believe that this All Saints' Day post from last year deserves to be posted again - partly in hopes of introducing it to new readers, partly because a quirk in Blogger's indexing of old posts makes the original less than accessible, and partly because I like it. The text that follows is nearly identical with what I posted last year, altered only by light editing and a slightly longer quotation from Joseph Grieboski's article.


The image that illustrates this post is an old photo of me with the late Father Tom King, which I post here in observance of All Saints' Day. Many who knew Tom during the forty-one years that he spent at Georgetown University would unhesitatingly describe him as a saint, precisely the kind of saint that this day is meant for: one who has not been formally raised to the dignity of the altar, one remembered chiefly by God and by those who knew him during his mortal life. "Not a bad public, that," as Robert Bolt had Thomas More say in A Man for All Seasons.

Thomas More is now a saint himself, in the 'official' sense of the word, but the sentiment that Bolt attributed to him is one that exalts all the unofficial saints - all those who, like Tom King, did great things for God in relative anonymity. On All Saints' Day, we remember these anonymous saints in a special way, asking them to intercede for us before the One who knows and has called each of them by name.

For another perspective on these anonymous saints, with particular attention paid to the saintliness of Father Tom King, I would like to share some reflections by my fellow Georgetown alumnus Joseph Grieboski, published not long after Tom's death in June 2009:
The term "saint" is used quite often these days, referring to a good person or a kind person or someone who pulled us out of a jam.

We think that saints are very rare and especially hard to find, especially in this day and age. In fact, there are many unrecognized men and women of holiness around us each day.

In recent days, we laid one such man to rest. A man who exemplified holiness, demonstrated an intimate love of God, and was a model for each of us to follow to salvation.
Grieboski summarizes some of the highlights of Father King's long career as an academic theologian and university professor, notes that he also offered the legendary 11:15 pm Mass in Dahlgren Chapel six nights a week for 40 years, and points out that Father King also lived 'on corridor' as a Jesuit-in-residence in student dormitories for 21 years. Grieboski then seeks to sum up the contribution that Father King made to the lives of generations of Hoyas - and others:
. . . Father King’s life was a guide for so many of us. His laughter, his brilliant and witty sense of humor, his ability to make both scholarship and divinity accessible to anyone and everyone, Tom was quiet and unassuming, friendly and disarming. All of which added to his ability to fulfill his mission of bringing Christ to every student, faculty, staff and person he met. Remaining faithful to that mission, for the past several years Father King would cross the Potomac on Monday evenings to offer Mass for inmates at the Arlington County jail.

In 1999, The Hoya, Georgetown's student newspaper, declared Father King "Georgetown's Man of the Century", noting that "no one has had a more significant presence on campus and effect on students than Father King."

Ten years later, that remains fundamentally true. Tom King’s impact was not just on Georgetown. The thousands of students whose lives he touched over the years are better men and women as a result. His inspiration and model led countless men to enter the priesthood and women to enter the convent; his love of scholarship and his approach to Truth provided a guide for countless students to become professors; his love for life and all God’s creations molded the worldviews of so many who became physicians; and his undaunted courage and strength for all that is just and right guided so many – me included – who fight for justice thanks to Tom.

For those of us born and reared after the Second Vatican Council, Tom’s 11:15 pm Mass introduced us to a beauty and majesty of the liturgy with which we were not previously familiar. Dahlgren Chapel shrouded in darkness, the multitude of candles around and on the altar provided the only light for the Mass. Reminiscent of the Breaking of the Bread in the catacombs of the early Church, the darkness provided a sanctuary of hope centered on the Sacrifice of the Mass. His sanctified fingers barely touching the holy altar and only handling the Body of Christ when required, Father King’s gentle and respectful treatment of the Eucharist taught us all how to respect the True Presence of Christ. We were taught to be mindful that in our presence was The Presence, the King of Kings, and we should act appropriately and with the respect He deserves and requires.
On this Feast of All Saints, I pray that the anonymous saints that each of us remembers and cherishes may remember us in turn. AMDG.