St. Thomas honors the spiritual bond that unites Eagle scholars and their fathers with the traditional Father/Son Mass, a morning liturgy and affirmation of faith that speaks to the very fabric of the school’s Basilian identity.

November 1 celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints, an annual observance dedicated to remembering, revering, and being inspired by the lives of past saints and martyrs who now stand in the glory of the beatific vision.

The Most Reverend Italo Dell’Oro, CRS, Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston, served as the principal celebrant in Reckling Gymnasium with St. Thomas President Fr. James Murphy, CBS the concelebrant. Since 2015, Bishop Dell’Oro has served the Archdiocese as Vicar for Clergy and the Secretariat Director for Clergy Formation and Chaplaincy Services. He was named Vicar General in 2021.

Vice President for Advancement Mark deTranaltes ‘83 continued the solemn All Saints’ Day tribute for St. Thomas alumni who had passed in the previous 12 months, those who have gone before in the Eagle Family, destined for judgment, and how they lived to enter their heavenly homes, some renowned but infinitely more simple and hidden who through everyday holiness helped carry the world forward.

Merciful Father, we pray for the souls of our departed loved ones. Grant them purification and forgiveness, and bring them into the light of your presence.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

The Meaning and the History
The feast is dedicated to those who have been recognized by the Church as saints, as well as those who have not been canonized yet attained heaven.

The origin dates to the earliest centuries of the Church when Christians commemorated the many martyrs who died at the hands of their Roman persecutors. Those facing death for Christ include a modern-day St. Thomas alumni who enrolled from his home parish Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Bellaire.

Ultimate Sacrifice
Fr. William Woods, MM ‘49 was killed along with four American civilian passengers on November 20, 1976, in the crash of his small plane in Guatemala. He had been a member of the Central American Region since ordination with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in June 1958.

Fr. Woods was also involved in an enterprise on the outskirts of Guatemala City, designed to alleviate the housing shortage brought about by a disastrous earthquake.

At the time of Fr. Wood’s death, the cause of the crash had not been completely reported other than “under suspicious circumstances.” There is a belief that his exhaustive missionary efforts and extensive apostolic work of the Church ran contrary to the government’s agenda and his plane was shot down. Fr. Woods is buried in Huehuetenango with a monument at the site.

When notified of his death in 1976, his mother said, “He died just as he lived, working with his people.”

Taking Notice Today
In 2006, Pope Benedict posed the question, “Why should our praise and glorification, or even the celebration of this solemnity (All Saints’ Day), mean anything to the saints?”

“A famous homily of St. Bernard for All Saints’ Day begins with this question,” he said. “It could equally well be asked today.”

St. Bernard offered that “the saints have no need of honor from us; neither does our devotion add the slightest thing to what is theirs … But I tell you, when I think of them, I feel myself inflamed by a tremendous yearning’ (Disc. 2, Opera Omnia Cisterc. 5, 364ff.).

Pope Benedict then shared that “this is the meaning of the Solemnity – looking at the shining example of the saints to reawaken within us the great longing to be like them. Happy to live near God, in his light, in the great family of God’s friends.”

Catholic. Basilian. Teaching Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge since 1900.