Catholic Liberal Arts Education
Since its founding, the University of St. Thomas has been committed to traditional Catholic liberal arts education. The University welcomed Pope John Paul II’s apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae and seeks to conform itself to this document. Here are some ways that UST strives to uphold its Catholic character:
- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, is a member of UST’s Board of Directors and plays an active role in the direction of the University.
- A third of the board members are Basilian Fathers or their appointees.
- The Bylaws of the UST Board of Directors state, “As an academic institution committed to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education, the University of St. Thomas carries out its teaching, research and all other activities in the light of Catholic ideals, principles and attitudes, as expressed in Pope John Paul II’s apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae and The Application of ‘Ex Corde Ecclesiae’ for the United States.”
- The “mandatum” is required for all assistant, associate and full professors of a theological discipline at UST. The mandatum “is fundamentally an acknowledgment by Church authority that a Catholic professor of a theological discipline is a teacher within the full communion of the Catholic Church…. The mandatum recognizes the professor’s commitment and responsibility to teach authentic Catholic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to the Church’s magisterium. (The Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States, Pt. II, art. 4)” When a theology professor is hired at UST, he or she is required to seek a mandatum from Cardinal DiNardo. Reception of the mandatum is a condition for continued employment.
- The University of St. Thomas is a recommended Catholic college in the Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.
Catholic Liturgical Activities
- Three Sunday Masses are celebrated in the University’s Chapel of St. Basil (5 p.m. Vigil Saturday; 10:30 a.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Sunday).
- The Eucharist is offered three times Monday through Thursday (7:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m.; 5 p.m.); twice on Friday (8:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m.) and once on Saturday (12:30 p.m.).
- Mass is celebrated in French twice monthly at noon on Sunday.
- The Eucharist is celebrated in Spanish on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m.
- Latin Mass (in the Ordinary Form), accompanied by a Gregorian Chant Choir, is celebrated once a month at the daily 12:30 p.m. Mass.
- Latin Mass, in accordance with the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII, is offered Fridays at 8:30 a.m.
- The sacrament of Reconciliation is available daily at noon, Monday through Saturday.
- Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is available every Wednesday in the fall and spring terms when the University is in session.
- The Eucharist is reserved in the Chapel of St. Basil; the Chapel is open during all school days for visits.
In addition to studying about the faith, students at UST are encouraged to grow in their spiritual lives. Fr. Michael Buentello, UST’s chaplain and director of Campus Ministry, and Sister Mary Roberta Connors, FSE, conduct many events to promote students’ spiritual development. Of course, the celebration of the Eucharist and Reconciliation takes pride of place, but there are many other activities as well, such as regular student retreats. FOCUS missionaries sponsor several Bible Study groups and evenings of praise and worship. When time permits, students can go to Fr. Michael, Sister Mary Roberta or FOCUS Missionaries for spiritual direction or personal counseling.