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Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Spotlight on the Liberal Arts

Keyword: theology
Fr. Jim, PopeEvery six years, members of the Congregation of the Resurrection gather in Rome at our General Chapter for several weeks. The work of the General Chapter is to review our community life and ministry, and to make plans for the next six years. This past summer, 28 Resurrectionists from the U.S.A., Canada, Poland, Brazil, Bolivia, Bermuda, Australia, Germany, Italy, and Tanzania gathered for three weeks at our Motherhouse in Rome. The meetings are usually punctuated with a special Mass in the Catacombs of St. Sabastian, where our founders pronounced their first vows, or a tour of the papal gardens and St. Peter’s Basilica. But, this summer we had an incredible experience because we were told just before the Chapter began that we might have a private audience with Pope Francis.
It was not until the day before our meeting with Pope Francis that we were sure that we would actually meet on Saturday, June 24, 2017. Even then, we were not sure whether we would meet him with other religious communities, or whether we would meet him by ourselves. After walking through different halls and up several staircases of the Vatican, we entered a beautiful room that had about 40 chairs set out—that is when we realized that he would meet us alone!
Swiss GuardOne of the Swiss Guards gave us some instructions. After our newly elected Superior General made some opening remarks, Pope Francis would address us, and then each of us would have an opportunity to approach the Holy Father. We were instructed not to bow before him, ask him to bless anything, or to embrace him. Our Superior General, Fr. Paul Voisin, would introduce each of us and we could have a few words with Pope Francis. When my turn came, Fr. Paul introduced me saying, “Holy Father, this is Fr. James Donohue of the Ontario-Kentucky Province. He is a professor of theology at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland where he has taught undergraduates for over 20 years.” I had been thinking about what to say and decided that I would look him in the eyes as we spoke. As we shook hands, I said, “Holy Father, I want you to know that I pray for you every day.” As I said this, I placed my free hand on our hands. He broke into a big smile and placed his free hand on both our hands and said, “Thank you so much! You know that I really need the prayers.” At this last sentence, he smiled even more broadly. I think that this photo [at the beginning of this article] captures that exact moment. It really was a great honor to meet Pope Francis and I will treasure this memory forever.
While this personal moment was incredible, the text that Pope Francis delivered to us is an inspiration that I have continued to ponder. Pope Francis organized his thoughts under three main headings: 1) ‘Witnesses to the Presence of the Risen Lord,’ 2) ‘From Community to the World,’ and 3) ‘Prophets of Joy and Easter Hope.’  

Witnesses to the Presence of the Risen Lord

CRUnder the first heading, he reminded us that “Nostalgia for a past that was rich in vocations and impressive achievements must not prevent you from seeing the life that the Lord is causing to blossom, today too, in your midst. Do not yield to nostalgia, but be men who, moved by faith in the God of history and of life, proclaims the coming of the dawn amid the darkness of the night (cf. Isa 21:11-12).” This is particularly poignant at a time when most of us are saddened by decreasing numbers and aged membership.  He also reminded us that, as religious who are called to a life of prayer, we may see with new eyes: “Men of contemplation, who, with the eyes of the heart fixed on the Lord, can see what others, caught up in the concerns of this world, cannot. Men capable of proclaiming, with the boldness born of the Spirit, that Jesus Christ is alive and is Lord.” In this regard, Pope Francis urged us to take Mary Magdalene as our model: “Mary Magdalene and the other women who went to the tomb that morning (cf. Lk 24:1-8) were women ‘on the move’: they abandoned their ‘nest’ and set out; they took a risk. The Spirit is calling you too, Brothers of the Resurrection, to be men who set out, to be an Institute ‘on the move’ towards every human periphery, wherever the light of the Gospel needs to be brought.” 

From Community to the World

Pope FrancisUnder the section entitled ‘From Community to the World,’ Pope Francis encouraged us to see our brother Resurrectionists as gifts who should not be taken for granted: “A concrete way of showing this is fraternal life in community. It entails accepting the brothers the Lord has given us. As the Apostle Paul tells us, now that Christ has risen from the dead, we can no longer look at others from a human point of view (cf. 2 Cor 5:16). We view them and we accept them as a gift from the Lord. Others are a gift not to be taken for granted or looked down upon, but a gift to be received with respect, because in our brothers, especially if they are weak and frail, Christ comes to meet us . . . In a society that tends to reduce everything to flat uniformity, where injustice gives rise to divisions and hostility, in a world torn and aggressive, ensure that the witness of fraternal life and community will never be lacking!”

Prophets of Joy and Easter Hope

In third section of his address, ‘Prophets of Joy and Easter Hope,’ Pope Francis reminded us that the joy of recognizing the presence of the Risen Jesus will draw us further into His Person and His will, and for this reason, we will be led to mission. He became quite animated as he reminded us that our charism of the Resurrection is “always a wellspring of living water, not a bottle of distilled water.” He encouraged us to ponder the words of the angel in the tomb: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Lk 24:5). His prayer for us was that these words would continually resound in our hearts: “They will help you to overcome moments of sadness and will open before you horizons of joy and hope. They will enable you to shatter tombstones, and give you the strength to proclaim the Good News in this culture so often marked by death. If we have the courage to descend to our personal and community tombs, we will see how Jesus can make us rise from them. This will enable us to rediscover the joy, the happiness and the passion of those moments when we first made of our lives a gift to God and others.”
Remembering the past with gratitude, living in the present with passion, and embracing the future with hope is the message that the Holy Father shared with us that day. May these words sink deeply into the hearts of all Resurrectionists and, indeed, into the hearts of all disciples of Jesus.
(Hear more about the Resurrectionists' experience of meeting Pope Francis by viewing Vocation Culture's YouTube video, "Resurrectionists Meet Pope Francis." Learn more about the Congregation of the Resurrectionists on their website:


Kate Tombs

Hello! My name is Kathryn Tombs (pronounced as if the “b” weren’t there), but I’ve always gone by Kate. Fun facts: I am named for my maternal great great aunt who was a child actress in silent films and my last name came to our family through adoption!

I am currently a second semester senior because I am graduating early this December. I am double majoring in Spanish and Theology (which I affectionately refer to as “Spanish and the Jesus”) and have a self-made concentration in Hispanic Ministry. My time at the Mount has truly flown by!!

My heart (and a lot of my time) goes to leadership of the Mount Students for Life ministry and participation in Chapel Choir. My favorite things about these ministries would hands down have to be their orientation towards glorifying God and serving others and also all the amazing people involved! I also love to run (for fun), read (also for fun, but only when I’m not at school), travel, create art, and spend time with my family and in beautiful churches. You’re most likely to find me doing (or procrastinating) homework on my bed, collecting my thoughts in IC Chapel, or enjoying a conversation around campus.

As a member of the George Henry Miles Honors Society, I am currently trucking through the monster that is the senior honors project - the end is in sight! My project analyzes an original play that I wrote based on conversations with a Hispanic kitchen staff at a restaurant. It is inspired by my past experiences as a waitress. Comparing my play with two other contemporary theatrical works that also reflect the Latino immigrant experience in the U.S., I am discussing challenges pertinent to the Latino immigrant experience and responding to these challenges with various statements issued on behalf of the Church.

A list of my favorite things I’ve done while at the Mount would first and foremost have to include my two trips to Latin America: a spring break service and culture trip to Perú in 2016 and summer study abroad in Costa Rica (with a side excursion to Panamá) in 2017. I can’t even begin to describe what incredible and formative trips these have been for me with regards to my two majors and also just as a person. Standing at the top of Machu Picchu for Leap Day 2016, ziplining through the Costa Rican rainforest, and seeing the Panamá Canal live are experiences I will never forget!

Other favorite Mount experiences would have to include service trips through the OSJ, Chrism Mass trips through Camp Min, a field trip to EWTN in D.C., and the “You are Beauty” 2016 Ethics and Culture Conference at Notre Dame in Indiana.

I do not have set post-graduation plans yet beyond returning home to spend some time with family at least for a semester, but my dreams do include spending some more time in Latin America to do mission/service work. I can also see myself being a teacher...and a public speaker...and about ten other things, honestly. I’m open and excited to see where God’s plans for my life lead me.

The relationships I have formed at the Mount have been everything. I have been overwhelmed by support and encouragement received from faculty (both in and out of my majors) and staff throughout my entire Mount journey. Also, the friendships and amazing relationships I have formed with people I have met through ministry, classes, and travel have been incredible. There are a lot of people I am really going to miss next semester!!

As my time at the Mount comes to a close, I feel a deep gratitude for everyone who helped shape and form me these past three and a half years to be the person I am today, and most especially God who carried me through every valley and brought me to every height. It’s been unforgettable!

“Mañana hacemos cosas bellas” - Antoni Gaudí

Kate Tombs


Dr. Joshua Brown earned his Ph.D. from the University of Dayton, his M.Div. from Campbell University Divinity School, and his B.S. in Religion from Chowan University in Murfreesboro, NC.

In 2016-2017, Dr. Brown served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of theology at Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Brown specializes in comparative and systematic theology. His research focuses on articulating Catholic doctrine about the person and work of Jesus Christ in concepts taken from early Chinese philosophy, particularly Confucianism.

Dr. Brown is looking forward to getting to know the Mount students, and helping them get to know the amazing worlds of the Catholic and Chinese intellectual traditions.

Dr. Brown lives in Emmitsburg with his wife Jamie and their two sons, Elliot and Emmett. Jamie works with Residential Life here on campus. Aside from enjoying time with his family, Dr. Brown enjoys discussing Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, finding “food gems” in the surrounding area, and watching Arsenal FC!

Congratulations to Brian Houdek, C'14, this year's recipient of the Patrick J. Goles Prize for Leadership. The Goles Prize is awarded to an outstanding junior who exemplifies the Mount's pillars of Faith, Discovery, Leadership and Community. Brian is a double-major in theology and history, a member of the track and field team, and is an active member of Campus Ministry, serving as a FOCUS Bible study leader, Kairos retreat leader and Mountward Bound retreat team member. Brian also volunteered for the past two years on several community-based service projects and believes there is a leader in all of us: read more about his perspective on leadership.

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