All posts by Br. Tommy Piolata, OFM Cap

Br. Tommy Piolata, OFM Cap Br. Tommy graduated from Saint Louis University summa cum laude in 2012. He majored in Philosophy, Classical Humanities, and Italian Studies. At SLU, he also minored in Theological Studies and received a certificate in Medieval Studies. After graduation, Br. Tommy joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin of the St. Augustine Province. On July 19th, 2014, Br. Tommy professed simple, temporary vows. Currently, Br. Tommy is studying for a M.A. in Philosophy at the Catholic University of America. Br. Tommy interests lie in the writings of Saint Francis of Assisi, as well as the thought of Saint Bonaventure, and the Franciscan intellectual tradition in general. In addition, he is very interested in the theology of Joseph Ratzinger/ Pope Benedict XVI. Topically, Br. Tommy is interested in metaphysics, especially fundamental ontology, powers, and metaphysic of relations; philosophical and systematic theology, especially regarding Christology and the Trinity; philosophical and theological anthropology, especially with respect to intersubjectivity and contemplation. "The Religious Vision of St. Francis of Assisi as Mission: Entering Into the Experience of the Other," July 2014.

Ineffable Beauty: Sacrament, Liturgy, and Gift Part II

pope and oil 2In Part I of this post, we left the Holy Father’s homily at the point where he touched upon the elements of the sacraments as being elements of creation. For the rest of the homily, then, the Pope focuses primarily on olives and olive oil, for indeed the Chrism Mass is about the blessing of the oils for the sacraments. First, the Pontiff explains the early Christian meaning assocaited with olives. The olive tree and oil itself were recognized as symbols of peace; early Christians often decorated tombs with olive branches, knowing that the “Christ conquered death and that their dead were resting in the peace of Christ. They knew that they themselves were awaited by Christ, that he had promised them the peace which the world cannot give”.

Ineffable Beauty: Sacrament, Liturgy, and Gift Part I

Pope Washing FeetLiving in the Eternal City for a semester of studies has been and continues to be an incredible opportunity. Particularly, experiencing Holy Week here will always be a memory. While every event of the week—especially within Easter Triduum—is worth reflecting over in words, Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday touched me in a special way: to be precise, I was touched anew by, in the first place, Pope Benedict XVI’s love and wisdom, and secondly, by the reverence, simplicity, and power of the Catholic Liturgy.

This will be the first of a two-part post. Both posts will incorporate parts of the Mass, but their overall focus will be on the theology of Benedict XVI, in his Chrism Mass homily. Thus, the content of this post is a synthesis of reflection and theological analysis.

As I sat in my seat in the grand basilica of Saint Peter’s, I awaited the entrance of the Supreme Pontiff and the beginning of the Divine Liturgy. The music began, the choir of–what sounded like–angels filled the cosmic space of the temple with heavenly sound. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI began to walk down the nave of the basilica to approach the sacred altar, the place of the feast of feasts. Before him were seminarians, some priests, and the initial object that began the procession: Christ on the Cross, the center of the Mass. As he walked down the aisle, the whole congregation experienced a sort of joyful anticipation, as they were about to experience the synthesis of the local church and the universal church headed by the Bishop of Rome.