Dean's Corner

Ad Extra - Vol. 1, n.5: March 2012

Dean's Corner

March 2012

by C. J. Renz, OP

The weather this past month has certainly felt a bit schizophrenic – mid-70's one day, upper 30's the next; some rain, lots of clouds. It's at this point in the year that I tend to get impatient with all this chaos and confusion. I keep thinking to myself, “Why can't we just be done with it and get back to summer?!”

DSPT Dean's CornerThe scientist in me, however, is quick to recall the Second Law of Thermodynamics which states, more or less, that heat cannot flow in a spontaneous manner from a body of lower temperature to one of higher temperature; rather the reverse is true. Put in a more poetic way: while the transition from summer to winter is easy for nature to accomplish, the transition from winter to summer is a more strenuous endeavor. T. S. Eliot claims that “April is the cruelest month” precisely because it “teases” us with the promise of summer days. There is a sense in which the dark and gloom of winter must be driven out in order to make way for the warmth and brilliance of summer. This is the lengthening of days which occurs each Spring (from the Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, “to lengthen”).

Yet, despite the schizophrenia of these times, the one constant in nature that drives everything forward is the fact that we – that is to say our hemisphere – are drawing closer, once again, to the sun. And the recent change of the clocks reminds us of this fact – it's now light until 7:00 pm!

At the risk of over-stretching the analogy, this is also what the Church anticipates during these same days. As community, we turn our minds and hearts towards the Elect, those women and men who will receive the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil – experiencing for the first time the grace that the rest of us have known for so long. And so we pray – for ourselves and for the Elect – that the Risen Son will return, allowing once more for the flourishing of life. Worthy, indeed is the Lamb!

Faculty Updates

Fr. Michael Dodds, OP, was interviewed by Mark Brumley Ignatius Press, President of Ignatius Press, as part of the Magis Institue's DVD production, "Cosmic Origins." The interview dealt with possible philosophical and theological implications of current science on the origins of the universe, and will appear as part of a supplemental disk in the final version of the project.

Sr. Barbara Green, OP, will participate in a panel discussion on March 7, 2012 from 4-5:30 pm sponsored by the GTU Women's Studies in Religion Group and hosted by JST. The topic, "Gender and Teaching in Higher Education," will convene women from across the Consortium, including: Lisa Fullam (JST), Margaret Miles (GTU), Randi Walker (PSR).

Fr. Anselm Ramelow, OP, is in jail? Well, yes but not for the reasons you might think! As of the First Sunday of Lent, he's been going to the San Francisco County Jail in San Bruno on a regular basis to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Mass with the inmates. This past week he visited Marin Catholic High School to speak with students on the topic, “what it means for Jesus to be God.”

Fr. Chris Renz, OP, attended a panel discussion and reception honoring the life and work of Stephen De Staebler (1933-2011) with Fr. Michael Morris, OP; the event was part of the 25th anniversary celebration of CARE CARE. He will attend another 25th anniversary celebration, this time with Fr. Bryan Kromholtz, OP, for the Thomasians USA, the Bay Area alumni group from the University of Santo Tomás UST. Better known as “the Thomasians,” these women and men support Filipino-American education through their annual scholarship program, which will be featured at the March 24th event. On Thursday, March 15th, he will join Rossitza Schroeder (PSR) and Deena Aranoff (CJS) for the “Idea Lounge” sponsored by CARE CARE to share reflections on the current exhibit in the Doug Adams Gallery entitled, “The Migrant Project: Contemporary California Farm Workers.” CARE He also continues to host the “simple suppers” which accompany the “Faith in Food” film series. As part of this month's featured film, “Like Water for Chocolate,” he will prepare Mexican mole sauce. Finally, Chris will offer another workshop for the liturgical ministers of the Catholic Community of Pleasanton on March 31st as part of their preparation for the celebrations of Holy Week.

Fr. Augustine Thompson, OP, will be the chair of the Session "The Medieval Mendicant Orders" at the Medieval Academy of America's Annual Meeting MAA (Mar. 22-24) in St. Louis.