Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Who was Saint Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas, born around 1225 in Roccasecca, Italy, was a prominent theologian and philosopher who combined theological principles of faith with philosophical principles of reason. He was the youngest of at least nine children in a wealthy family that owned a castle in Roccasecca. As a teenager, he was influenced by the Dominicans, a newly founded order of priests devoted to preaching and learning.

Thomas joined the Dominicans at the age of nineteen and was assigned to Paris for further study. He spent three years in Paris studying philosophy and then moved to Cologne under the supervision of Albert the Great, who became his mentor. Albert’s conviction that the Christian faith could only benefit from a profound engagement with philosophy and science greatly influenced Thomas.

Thomas’s philosophical work is primarily found in the context of his Scriptural theology, and he is known for his so-called ‘five ways’ of attempting to demonstrate the existence of God. He also offered one of the earliest systematic discussions of the nature and kinds of law, including a famous treatment of natural law.

Thomas’s writings on ethical theory are virtue-centred, and he discussed the relevance of pleasure, passions, habit, and the faculty of will for the moral life. He is considered one of the most important theologians in the history of Western civilization, and his model for the correct relationship between theology and philosophy has inspired many.

Thomas died on March 7, 1274, at the Cistercian monastery of Fossanova, near Terracina, Latium, Papal State, Italy. He was canonized by Pope John XXII in 1323 and is honoured as a saint and Doctor of the Church by the Catholic Church.

Aquinas Contribution to the development of Theology and Philosophy

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was a Dominican friar, philosopher, and theologian who is considered one of the greatest thinkers in Western intellectual history and a key figure in scholasticism, a medieval philosophical and theological movement. 

He is known for his exceptional intellect and scholarship, and his contributions to theology and philosophy continue to be widely recognized and influential today. Aquinas’s most significant work is Summa Theologica, a comprehensive systematic treatise on theology and philosophy that synthesizes and harmonizes the teachings of Aristotle with Christian theology. The work covers a wide range of topics, including the nature of God, ethics, human nature, and the sacraments, and it emphasizes the compatibility of philosophy and theology, rejecting the notion of inherent conflict between them.

Aquinas’ philosophy was marked by his commitment to reason and the integration of faith and reason. He believed that reason and revelation were complementary and that both could lead to a deeper understanding of truth. His approach emphasized the compatibility of philosophy and theology, and he provided rational arguments for the existence of God, known as the “Five Ways,” which presented philosophical justifications for belief in a transcendent Creator. Aquinas also explored the concept of natural law, asserting that there are moral principles rooted in human nature that are accessible through reason. He believed that these moral principles were universal and could be known by all people, regardless of their religious beliefs.

Aquinas’ contributions to theology and philosophy were widely recognized during his lifetime, and his influence continues to be felt today. He is often referred to as the “Doctor Angelicus” and is regarded as one of the church’s greatest theologians and philosophers.

Despite his relatively short life, Aquinas’ extensive writing and profound insights have left an enduring legacy in philosophy, theology, and Christian thought. His teachings remain a cornerstone of Catholic theology, and his approach to the relationship between faith and reason continues to inspire philosophers and theologians around the world.

How did Saint Thomas Aquinas’s ideas influence the development of Christian philosophy?

Saint Thomas Aquinas was known philosopher, and theologian who is considered one of the most important figures in the development of Christian philosophy. His ideas have had a profound influence on the relationship between faith and reason, the philosophy of language, epistemology, metaphysics, natural theology, philosophical anthropology, ethics, and political philosophy. One of Aquinas’ most significant contributions to Christian philosophy is his model for the correct relationship between faith and reason.

He believed that faith and reason were not in conflict but rather complementary, with faith providing a foundation for reason and reason providing a way to understand and defend faith. This approach has been influential in the development of Christian philosophy and theology, and it continues to be a subject of debate and discussion today.

Aquinas’ philosophy of language is also significant, particularly his concept of analogy. He believed that language about God is to be understood analogically, meaning that it is both like and unlike human applications. This concept has been influential in Christian theology and philosophy, and it continues to be a subject of study and discussion.

Aquinas’ work in epistemology, metaphysics, and natural theology has also been influential in Christian philosophy. He believed in the existence of a natural order that could be known through reason, and he argued for the existence of God through his famous “Five Ways”. These arguments have been widely discussed and debated in Christian philosophy, and they continue to be a subject of interest and study. Aquinas’ contributions to philosophical anthropology, ethics, and political philosophy have also been significant. He believed in the inherent dignity and value of human beings, and he argued for the importance of virtues and moral character in human life.

His work in these areas has been influential in Christian philosophy and theology, and it continues to be a subject of study and discussion today. Lastly, Saint Thomas Aquinas’ ideas have had a profound influence on the development of Christian philosophy, particularly in the areas of faith and reason, philosophy of language, epistemology, metaphysics, natural theology, philosophical anthropology, ethics, and political philosophy. His work continues to be studied and debated in Christian philosophy and theology, and his contributions to the field remain significant and influential.

Saint Catherine of Siena

Saint Catherine of Siena

Saint Catherine of Siena

Saint Catherine of Siena, born in Italy in 1347, was a prominent figure in the Catholic Church during the 14th century. She is best known for her mystical experiences, her role in the Avignon papacy, and her influence on the political and religious spheres of her time. As a Dominican tertiary, Catherine dedicated her life to prayer, fasting, and serving the poor. She was believed to have received numerous visions and messages from God, which she documented in her writings.

In the historical context of Saint Catherine of Siena, it is essential to understand the state of the Catholic Church during the 14th century. This was a period marked by the Avignon papacy, where the popes resided in Avignon, France, rather than Rome. This led to a significant decline in the church’s authority and integrity, as many questioned the legitimacy of the papacy. Catherine played a crucial role in urging Pope Gregory XI to return the papacy to Rome, which he eventually did in 1377.

Saint Catherine’s influence extended beyond the religious realm and into the political arena as well. She was actively involved in mediating conflicts within the Italian city-states and played a key role in negotiating peace treaties. Catherine’s diplomatic skills and unwavering faith earned her respect and admiration from both political leaders and the common people. Her ability to navigate complex and volatile environments solidified her reputation as a peacemaker and a voice of reason during tumultuous times.

Despite her immense contributions, Saint Catherine of Siena faced criticism and opposition from various quarters. Some within the church questioned the authenticity of her visions and messages, while others accused her of meddling in political affairs beyond her domain. However, Catherine remained steadfast in her beliefs and continued to advocate for justice, mercy, and reconciliation.

In the field of theology and spirituality, Saint Catherine’s writings have had a lasting impact on generations of followers. Her most famous work, “The Dialogue,” is a profound exploration of the soul’s journey to God and a testament to her deep mystical experiences. Catherine’s teachings on prayer, virtue, and love have inspired countless individuals to deepen their spiritual lives and seek union with the divine.

One of the key figures who has contributed to the study of Saint Catherine of Siena is Raymond of Capua, her spiritual director and confessor. Raymond played a crucial role in documenting Catherine’s life and writings, ensuring that her legacy would endure long after her death. His firsthand accounts of Catherine’s mystical experiences provide valuable insights into her spiritual journey and the challenges she faced.

Another influential individual in Saint Catherine of Siena is Pope Gregory XI, whom Catherine persuaded to return the papacy to Rome. Gregory’s decision to heed Catherine’s advice had far-reaching implications for the Catholic Church, restoring its credibility and authority. His collaboration with Catherine in bringing about this significant change in the church’s leadership underscores the profound impact she had on key figures of her time.

Saint Catherine of Siena was a remarkable figure whose legacy continues to inspire and challenge us today. Her unwavering faith, commitment to justice, and profound spiritual insights have left an indelible mark on the Catholic Church and the world at large. As we reflect on her life and teachings, we are reminded of the enduring power of faith, love, and compassion in shaping the course of history. Saint Catherine’s example serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for all who strive to make a difference in the world and seek to live lives of meaning and purpose.

The Priory celebrated the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary

The Priory celebrated the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary

Today, October 7, 2023, the Priory celebrated the Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary. Here is the homily of our very own Fr. Javier Gonzalez, OP, Prior of St. Dominic Priory delivered during the solemn mass.

” On October 7, the Catholic Church celebrates the yearly feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

We, too, as a community, are gathered together on this day to honor our Mother and Patroness. We are not simply praying to Mary, but we are praying with Mary in our midst, reenacting the scene of the Acts of the Apostles in the Upper Room, where the latter “with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with some women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” (Act 1:14). Mary is in our midst, maternally watching over us that we do not miss the point of our very existence. With Mary we echo today her words: “The Almighty has done great things for me; holy is His name,” making them ours. With Mary we reaffirm, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” With Mary, we glorify God.

This solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary has a prime Dominican flavor. From its beginning, the Order of Preachers showed special honor and devotion to Mary, Mother of God. The Rosary, which places before us the chief mysteries of the infancy, life, passion and resurrection of our Savior, has been one of the chief ways in which the Order has expressed this devotion.

In 1208 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Dominic in the church of Prouille, France, and gave him a chaplet of beads representing roses commending to him the devotion which had spread among the faithful. St Dominic then gave the Rosary to his Sisters and Friars Preachers to use it in their efforts to convert the Cathars and the Albigensians in Southern France. It was indeed a powerful prayer. 

Our brother Alan de La Roche (1428-1478) helped to define the structure of the Rosary and promoted its recitation. In 1470 he established the first Confraternity of the Rosary. 

A century later, another member of the Order of Preachers, Pope Pius V, turned to the Virgin Mary in an hour of need. He began a rosary campaign through Europe for the Christian fleet at Lepanto, who was vastly outnumbered by the Muslim Turkish fleet. But the Christian soldiers were victorious. The Pope attributed the victory to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and established the feast of “Our Lady of Victory” on October 7, 1571. (Pope Paul VI renamed it “Our Lady of the Rosary” in order to remind the people of God how effective the Virgin Mary’s prayers are.)

Our Dominican Province, founded in 1587 “to preach the Gospel in the Philippines, in China and the rest of the nations of the Far East,” was recognized by the General Chapter of Venice [1592] under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary. 

It has been a tradition in our communities the daily recitation of the Rosary, ended with the oldest known Marian prayer (“We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but ever deliver us from all dangers. O glorious and blessed Virgin Mary.”

“It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in difficult times to fly for refuge to Mary”, Pope Leo XIII wrote.

Pope Pius XII called the Rosary a compendium of the gospel. This expression was repeated by Pope Paul VI in Marialis Cultus. It is a form of contemplative, mental and vocal prayer, which brings down God’s blessing on the Church. It is a biblically-inspired prayer centred on the meditation on the salvific mysteries of Christ in union with Mary, who was so closely associated with her Son.

Pope John Paul II, in October 2002, with his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, made a landmark contribution to the prayer of the Rosary by adding the five luminous mysteries. He selected some significant moments in the life of Jesus: his Baptism, his first miracle at Cana, his Preaching of the Kingdom, his Transfiguration and the Institution of the Eucharist.

The Rosary appeals to many. It is simple. The constant repetition of words helps create an atmosphere in which to contemplate the mysteries of God. We sense that Jesus and Mary are wit


h us in the joys and sorrows of life. We grow in hope that God will bring us to share in the glory of Jesus and Mary forever.

As we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, our Patroness, let us remind her with filial devotion to turn her merciful eyes towards us now, and to show unto us

 the blessed fruit of her womb, Jesus, at the end of our earthly exile. 

Let us place under Mary’s maternal protection the Church, our Order, our communities, our families and our beloved ones. 

Let us entrust to her our Province, our Missions currently spread in Asia (Philippines, Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Myanmar, East Timor), in Europe (Spain, Italy) and in South America (Venezuela). Twelve countries, which I fancy represented in the 12 stars of Our Lady’s crown. 

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!


[Fr. Javier Gonzalez, OP]

Macau, October 7, 2023



We celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. The Sacred Readings invite us to meditate on the meaning of the Family of Nazareth and on our own family. In Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14, God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.  In Colossians 3:12-21, “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, and in the Holy Gospel of St. Luke ( 2:41-52), “Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom.

We meditate on the Holy Family, on our family.

The family is in crisis today: separation, divorce, abortion, domestic violence, children abuse, pornography; wounded families, broken families, no family. Even the concepts of marriage and family are often ambiguous with the growing reality of same-sex marriages, single parent families, and so on. The Christian family is also negatively affected by the secular views of man, gender ideology, family and society.

Still, for most people, the family is the number one value in their lives. For us Christians, in particular, the family is a sacred reality, a domestic Church, a community of life and love, the main school of our values and virtues, of prayer. The Old Testament writers recommend the practice of the virtues of obedience, piety, respect, compassion. The Fourth Commandment Honor your father and mother asks us to respect our parents. To respect them means to revere them, to esteem them to love them, care for them all their lives, particularly when they are old.

For us, the Holy Family of Nazareth continues to be the icon and inspiration of our families. On the day of the Feast of the Holy Family we are asked to contemplate, venerate and imitate the Sacred Family of Nazareth: Jesus (called the son of a carpenter), Mary (the Mother of Jesus, the wife of Joseph and housekeeper) and Joseph (the carpenter of the town, Jesus custodian and head of the Holy Family).

I remember the wonderful meditation of Blessed Paul VI  on his visit to Nazareth on January 5, 1964. The Pope told us then to continue learning the lessons of Nazareth. What lessons?  Nazareth teaches us first on family life: its meaning, its beauty, its core which is communion in love. Nazareth teaches us, second on silence: on love of silence so an admirable and needed habit, particularly today when we are disturbed by so much noise, by so many different voices in the digital world. The silence of Nazareth teaches us on the need of recollection, of interior and peaceful space; on the need to listen to good teachers, to our parents and brothers and sisters  and, above all, to God. Nazareth teaches us, in the third place on work and on the dignity of workers of all workers. The importance of work in our life (as in the life of Jesus and Mary and Joseph); its creative and redemptive dimension. We remember today the tragedy of unemployment and the terrible effects it causes in so many families!

Family is conjugal love, and parental and filial love. Its center is the children: we remember them here in this Eucharist with great love! We bring to our attention the vast number of children who are victims of violence, who are made objects of trade and trafficking, or forced to become soldiers and workers. We remember with sadness and hope infants killed in the womb, displaced, due to war and persecution. (Cf. Blessing Urbi et Orbi, December 25, 2014).

Bowing before the Crib we learn the lessons of genuine family life, silence and work. Above all, we learn the perennial lesson of love: we learn that we are loved and understood. After all, a house is where you live; a home, where they understand you.

A painter wanted to paint the most beautiful object in the world! He went to a big park to ask people: What is the most beautiful thing in the world for you? He asked a soldier: Nothing is more beautiful than peace: living together in peace! Then he asked a young couple: Love is the most beautiful thing: it makes the world go round. Then he asked a priest: Faith is the most beautiful thing: it moves mountains. The painter asked himself: How do I paint peace, and love, and faith?  After a silent pause, he answered himself: I know what the most beautiful thing in the world is: my family, my home. It is here where I experience peace, love and faith. Jesus, God and man, found at Nazareth as a human being – peace, love and faith through the 30 years he lived at home with Mary and Joseph.

Indeed, the family, our family is the best thing in the world for each one of us. We thank God for the Holy Family, for our family. We offer this Eucharist for our families (for the members who have left us and those who remain with us), and also for broken families. We ask the Sacred Family of Nazareth to help us be ad become more good members of our respective families  loving, caring, and sharing!

We give thanks to God for the unique, incomparable gift of family; of our family.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!  



Holy Week: message for families

Christians believe the week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday is sacred because it remembers Jesus Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection. Here are some faith-filled ideas to help you stay holy during Holy Week.

Palm Sunday

Begin your celebration of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem at Mass by holding your palms high as the priest blesses them. Then continue the celebration at home.

  • Put a small statue of Jesus in the centre of your dinner table.
    Use palm branches from church and have your own triumphal procession to the dinner table.

Talk about it:Â Over dinner, talk about how Jesus is the center of our lives and our faith. How do we feel when we make Jesus the centre of our lives?

Holy Week Preparation Days

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

  • Cleaning the house is like a prayerful preparation for Easter, similar to Jewish families cleaning for Passover..
     Buy a lily: The white flower heralds the resurrection of Jesus. Let your children pick out one for your family and one for someone who needs to hear good news.
     Colored eggs: Decorated eggs are a symbol of new life that comes with the Resurrection. Make the activity more meaningful by assisting your children in writing “Christ is Risen, Alleluia” or “Jesus loves us” on the eggs in crayon before coloring them..

Holy Thursday

This day recalls the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. It reminds us that we are called to serve one another. Here are some ideas for celebrating the day

  • Go to Mass: The Holy Thursday liturgy marks the beginning of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. At the end of Mass, join in the procession to move the Blessed Sacrament to an altar of repose.
  • Help someone: Do something special for someone in need.
  • Share a meal: If your parish does not host a shared supper on Holy Thursday, plan your own with neighbors or friends. Be sure to read one of the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper.

Talk about it: The Eucharist is the central sacrament in our Catholic faith. Talk about our Catholic belief that we have received the real presence of the risen Jesus in the Holy Communion. How did this encounter with Jesus change us?

Good Friday

This day commemorates the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus. It is the most solemn and sorrowful day of the Church calendar.

  • Attend the Good Friday liturgy, which includes readings of Passion, Veneration of the Cross, special prayers and the Holy Communion.
    Set aside some prayerful family time between 12 noon and 3 pm.
  •  Encourage family members to imitate Jesus by forgiving someone who has hurt them.

Talk about it: The Eucharist is the central sacrament in our Catholic faith. Talk about our Catholic belief that we have received the real presence of the risen Jesus in the Holy Communion. How did this encounter with Jesus change us?

Good Friday

This day commemorates the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus. It is the most solemn and sorrowful day of the Church calendar.

  • Attend the Good Friday liturgy, which includes readings of Passion, Veneration of the Cross, special prayers and the Holy Communion.
     Set aside some prayerful family time between 12 noon and 3 pm.
     Encourage family members to imitate Jesus by forgiving someone who has hurt them.

Talk about it: It is OK to feel sad on Good Friday. Jesus death on the cross is a sacrifice like no other; he died to teach us about everlasting life. Talk about friends and family who may have died and how we believe that, because of Jesus, we hope to rise to new life in heaven.

Holy Saturday

This day commemorates the time of darkness and waiting when Jesus was in the tomb. It is also a day for final preparations before Easter.

  • Invite family members, friends, and neighbors  especially people who have strayed from the Church to come to church with you for the Easter Vigil or for Mass on Easter morning.
     Volunteer as a family to help decorate the Church for the Easter Vigil.
     On Holy Saturday, gather the family around a bonfire in the backyard. Roast marshmallows and sing campfire songs as a sign of keeping vigil until Jesus rises.

Talk about it: The Easter Vigil begins with the symbol of fire. Talk about how fire represents that Jesus is the light of the world. He brings light to the darkness and new life to a sleeping world. What are some other symbols of resurrection? (Water, the color white, the transformation of a butterfly )

Easter Sunday

Celebrate the risen Lord at Mass with the singing of the Gloria and alleluias, the renewal of baptismal vows, a sprinkling with Easter water, and receiving the Eucharist. The time you spend on your Holy Week preparations will make Easter Sunday more meaningful for the whole family!



Lecture in Honor of Saint Thomas Aquinas (University of Saint Joseph, Macao, 21st February 2019)

Lecture in Honor of Saint Thomas Aquinas (University of Saint Joseph, Macao, 21st February 2019)

Every year around the feast day of St Thomas Aquinas, the Dominican friars in Macao organize a Lecture in honor of the Angelic Doctor. This academic activity is normally held at the Faculty of Religious Studies of the University of Saint Joseph, in Macau, and it is open to the public.

This year 2019, Prof. Stephen Morgan, the Dean of the Faculty, was invited to deliver the lecture. Because of the Lunar New Year break, the lecture was postponed until the 21st of February. It took place in the conference hall of St Joseph seminary campus. The participants were mainly the professors and students of the Faculty of Religious Studies. Some interested guests were also present.

The program began at 11 a.m., with the singing of “the Lord Prayer by the participants. Then Fr. Edmond Eh presented the program and introduced the speaker, an expert and a fond admirer of Blessed John Henry Newman. In his talk, Pro. Morgan tried to establish a connection between the thoughts of St Thomas Aquinas and Newman. In fact, the topic of the lecture was formulated in these terms, Was John Henry Newman a Thomist? Was St Thomas a Newmanian? The issues raised by the one-hour-long lecture continued being discussed during the open forum that followed.  The academic program came to an end with some words of appreciation towards the speaker and lunch served to all the participants.

This year commemoration was very meaningful, particularly for us Dominicans. It gave us also the opportunity to gather together and praise God who has made known to us His mercy and wisdom through the teachings of St Thomas Aquinas.

Bros. Agostinho Mendonca and Stephen Lej Kapaw