Father Thomas Franklin O’Meara to Speak at Annual Aquinas Convocation



Columbus, OH (43219) – Ohio Dominican University (ODU) will host its annual St. Thomas Aquinas Convocation at 11 a.m., Jan. 24. The convocation will be held in the Matesich Theatre, located inside Erskine Hall on ODU’s main campus, 1216 Sunbury Road, Columbus, 43219. The Center for Dominican studies as well as Theology and Philosophy faculty are sponsoring the free event. 

The keynote speaker, Father Thomas Franklin O’Meara, O.P., Ph.D., will present, “Vast Universe: Extraterrestrials and Christian Revelation,” which addresses questions of faith that could result from the discovery of intelligent life on other planets. 

“As the sciences probe more deeply into the mysteries of the universe, might they discover that we intelligent beings are not alone? If so, what difference would that make in what we believe, how we think and where we fit in the larger scheme of creation? This lecture will help answer those questions,” said Sr. Mattie Sterner O.P., director of ODU’s Center for Dominican Studies. 

Following the lecture, a Eucharistic Celebration will be held at 12:15 p.m. in Christ the King Chapel, located inside Sansbury Hall. 

For more information about the event, contact the Center for Dominican Studies at 614-251-4722 or ambrosim@ohiodominican.edu. 

Fr. O’Meara earned his doctorate at the University of Munich with Heinrich Fries and Karl Rahner. He taught at Aquinas Institute from 1966 to 1979 and at the University of Notre Dame from 1981 to 2002, where he was the William K. Warren Professor of Theology. He continues to teach part time at various universities and has authored 15 books. 

Ohio Dominican University is a four-year private comprehensive liberal arts and master’s institution, founded in 1911 in the Catholic and Dominican tradition. The University has approximately 2,700 students and offers undergraduate degrees in 42 majors as well as seven graduate degree programs. Ohio Dominican uses a student-centered approach, with a commitment to quality teaching and learning. 

Background Information: Saint Thomas Aquinas 

In 1911, the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs, now the Dominican Sisters of Peace, established the College of St. Mary of the Springs (which subsequently changed its name to Ohio Dominican College and then to Ohio Dominican University) in the tradition of the great 13th century Spaniard, Dominic de Guzman. Guzman established the Order of Preachers—commonly called “the Dominicans” —in 1216. He made study and the love of learning central to his followers’ way of life. The Dominicans thus often choose to live in university settings.

One of the most well-known Dominicans was a young Italian nobleman, Tommaso de Aquino, who was born in 1225 to a powerful political family from Roccasecca in southern Italy. Thomas Aquinas renounced his wealth and status to join Dominic’s poor community of preaching friars, and became a student of the renowned Dominican philosopher, scientist and theologian, Albert the Great. St. Thomas Aquinas eventually became a professor of theology at Paris and was sent to other cities to teach and preach. From the abundance of his own contemplation, he gave generously to others, helping them to achieve their own autonomy and understanding. Aquinas’ most famous work is the Summa Theologiae, a summary of his theological views in many areas. Originally written as an introductory work for students and never finished, the Summa Theologiae stands nevertheless as one of the greatest theological works ever written.

Thomas died in 1274 at the age of 49. During his brief life, he taught, preached and wrote over 90 works, in which he discussed the mystery of God, creation and our own meaning. He was canonized by Pope John XXII on July 18, 1323, and was proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V on April 11, 1567. Thomas Aquinas is the patron saint of all Catholic universities and students worldwide. His feast day is celebrated internationally on January 28. On that day, ODU celebrates its own origins as a Dominican community of higher learning.

ODU’s Center for Dominican Studies serves as a resource for those interested in learning more about Dominican education, the Dominican charism, the history of the university and its mission and values. To fulfill its mission, the Center sponsors and hosts a variety of programs and services for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public.