My relationship to the DSPT can be summarized with the words of T.S. Eliot in his poem Little Gidding from the Four Quartets.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
I was received and confirmed in the Catholic Church in my first year of pre-medicine at the University of California in 1967. I had grown up in the Lutheran Tradition. Half-way through my courses in pre-med I discerned a call to the priesthood and to enter the Order of Preachers. I began my formal studies in Philosophy at St. Albert’s College in 1973 which was already a member of the Graduate Theological Union. I completed my studies in Theology at our Dominican School and a Master of Arts through the Graduate Theological Union. I was ordained to the priesthood in 1978. After three years of ministry including teaching at Holy Rosary College in San Jose, I studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (Angelicum) completing a licentiate and doctorate in Sacred Theology and returned to the DSPT as professor of theology where I had the privilege of teaching from 1985-2005. With an invitation to return to the Angelicum, I have been teaching since the spring of 2006 until this spring semester 2020.
Returning now to where I began my teaching at the DSPT, the place where I started and also recognizing it for the first time. This new recognition is seeing this familiar place continuing in its mission and also physically within a new home, new ways of teaching and communication, and meeting students and new faculty for the first time. Following my Dominican Tradition, I appreciate the opportunities for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue teaching a short walking distance from the University of California reflecting the Dominican Tradition of the earliest years of the Order where the first Houses of Study were constructed in the university cities of Europe. I appreciate my role as a professor of theology to be an expression of a fundamental unity of my life as priest and friar and also in my teaching to continually learn from my students’ perspectives and my continued reflective study. Reflecting on what I have written about my return to the DSPT, I am reminded of the words of the Medieval Dominican preacher and teacher, Meister Eckhart:
If in my whole life I could only pray one prayer out loud, and if that one prayer could only be one word, it would be thanks.”