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Homilies | Friday, March 29, 2024

‘As a Catholic University, we believe in both the value and power of faith’

Archbishop Wenski’s remarks during the Solemn Vespers at St. Thomas University

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached these remarks during the Solemn Vespers, March 26, 2024, Holy Tuesday evening at St. Thomas University STU. At the end of the celebration, STU renewed its commitment to its Catholic Mission.

This University, which was originally known as Villanueva, was first planted in Habana, Cuba; then in 1961, uprooted by the Cuban revolution, it was transplanted here in Miami, first as Biscayne College and then over the years it grew into what today is St. Thomas University. The history of this school mirrors the history of many of its students – many of whom are also “transplants” from other nations and cultures. St. Thomas University has been “good soil” for these “transplants” – for, because of the education they received at St. Thomas, our students have not only grown; they have flourished. And we see the fruits in the many positive contributions our alumni are making to the communities in which they live. the human heart and mind to a future, a future of hope.

As a Catholic University, we believe in both the value and power of faith and the value and power of reason. We believe that truth is one. In that sense, there can be no real contradiction between belief and science, between faith and reason. The so-called “contradictions” that some would allege are only apparent ones that can be resolved through honest and reasonable inquiry.

Pope John Paul II said: “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth – in a word, to know himself – so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”

This “coming to the fullness of truth about God and ourselves” is really a great description of what an academic pursuit that aspires to call itself “higher education” should be about. In a time when people are tempted to think “that it’s all about me”, an education in the Catholic tradition reminds us that the path to self-realization and true happiness is not found through self-seeking but through self-giving. The purpose of education is not for us to “get more” but to help us “be more.”

Here at St. Thomas faith, while personal, can never be simply “private” – reduced to the subjective; rather, in sponsoring this university, the Church as she has through her history wishes that her faith, through reasoned dialogue, will shape the culture in which she lives – so that the culture may become more worthy of man.

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