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“70 Years of Service” – The Basilians inducted into “The Aquinas Institute Hall of Fame” in Rochester, NY

November 3, 2023

The Basilian Fathers have been honored with an induction into The Aquinas Hall of Fame, a recognition given to alumni, staff, and faculty dedicated to serving the community in a way that upholds the tradition and teachings of Aquinas and its mission.

The Basilian fathers first arrived at Aquinas in 1928, three years after the school opened on Dewey Avenue. Five Basilians served as teachers from 1928-1932. At that time, the school was owned by the diocese of Rochester and the bishop served as the chair of the board. Although the five Basilian teachers left Aquinas in 1932, Bishop Mooney invited the Basilians back in 1937 to assume responsibility for the administration of the school. Thus, Aquinas became a school where many Basilians were assigned in both administrative and teaching roles, while the bishop continued to serve on the board.

 

Many Basilians also served as guidance counselors, campus ministers, and coaches. For several decades, Basilians accepted no salaries from the school, making do on the stipends which came from weekend ministry at dozens of parishes in the diocese. Their sacrifice helped keep the tuition low.

 

In 1976, Bishop Hogan relinquished Diocesan ownership of the school to a Board of Trustees which included both lay people and the Basilians. In 1995, the school’s administration adopted the president-principal model, and a layman was hired to serve as Aquinas first president. In 1997, Father Albert Gaelens, served as Aquinas last Basilian principal. Three years later, in 2000, the Basilians made the painful decision to end their ministry at Aquinas.

 

The philosophy of the Basilians Catholic Education, guided by Psalm 119, “Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge” within an atmosphere of selfless concern for one another, continues to inspire the Aquinas experience today. Reflecting the Basilian vision of education. Rather than merely preparing a student for future employment, an Aquinas education prepares students for life, as Christians, citizens, spouses, mothers, and fathers.

In the 72 years the Basilians were at Aquinas 1928-2000, more than 300 served as teachers, administrators, campus ministers, and coaches, and 62 Aquinas graduates were ordained as Basilians. Today 2 Basilian Fathers continue to serve on Aquinas board of trustees.

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