Students at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts’ campus in Rome, Italy, recently spent several hours in close contact with one of the Church’s most beloved cardinals, Francis Cardinal Arinze.
Cardinal Arinze is the second member of the Roman Curia to visit Thomas More College’s students in recent months. Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, spent several hours on the College’s Rome-based campus in December.
Cardinal Arinze began the visit by celebrating Mass in the College’s chapel with students and staff. The Cardinal then joined the students in the dining hall maintained by the Maronite Catholic monks who host Thomas More College’s Rome program each year. During the three-course meal, Cardinal Arinze gave the students free rein to ask questions on a wide array of subjects.
“Cardinal Arinze’s visit to our campus here in Rome was a most delightful surprise,” said sophomore Mary Jean Lanzelotti. “It was a blessing to speak to him on such a personal level and to experience the true and beautiful humanity of the leaders of our Church.”
Mary Jean made a point of asking the Cardinal for advice in continuing her progress to holiness as a young college student. “His words were concise,” she said, “and yet so full of wisdom. He suggested that we take the time to read a passage from the Catechism of the Catholic Church each day, for this is a way to better ourselves, broadening our understanding of the abundances of truth with which our Church is so blessed.”
Cardinal Arinze was Thomas More College’s commencement speaker in 2009. He has consistently and regularly applauded the College, noting that “Thomas More College is a dynamic Catholic liberal arts college. This dear institution is dedicated to forming students intellectually and spiritually within the Catholic intellectual tradition and with unapologetic fidelity to the Magisterium, or the Teaching Authority of the Church.”
Dr. William Fahey, president of Thomas More College, said, “Thomas More College is deeply grateful to Cardinal Arinze for taking time to visit our Rome campus, and for allowing our students to interact with him in such an intimate and personal setting. We look forward to his continued guidance and support as we seek to develop in our students a profound love for Truth.”
For most of Thomas More College’s history, each sophomore has taken part in the school’s required Rome Semester to gain a first-hand experience of the capital of Christendom. Whether they’re touring ancient pagan temples, navigating the catacombs that hold the bones of saints, or learning the Christian import of masterworks by Bernini and Michaelangelo, students are guided by Thomas More College faculty to place each experience in the context of their broad, liberal arts education and the Catholic tradition.
The Rome semester makes intimate and immediate the school’s tight focus on the history and classic texts of the Western tradition. It pushes students to go beyond their textbooks and lectures to grow in their faith—as well as their understanding of the foundations of Western civilization and American democracy.
Thomas More College’s Rome program is housed in a monastery just miles from the Vatican, where students interact daily with a community of monks—seeing firsthand the mode of life that gave birth to medieval academic culture.