On Thursday, October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC (Astana, Kazakhstan) visited the campus of Thomas More College to celebrate a Pontifical Low Mass. The bishop was invited to New Hampshire as a guest of Sophia Institute Press.
“I was delighted that our friends at Thomas More College could partner with us,” said Sophia Institute President Charlie McKinney. “Thomas More College was able to arrange a beautiful outdoor Mass and made Bishop Schneider and guests from Sophia Institute feel very welcome. That’s no surprise because hospitality and festivity are hallmarks of Thomas More College. It made for a solemn and joyful anchor to this important moment and this great feast day.”
In his homily, Bishop Schneider reflected on the Christian victory at the 1571 Battle of Lepanto and the powerful simplicity of the Holy Rosary. Contemplating the challenges that the Church and the faithful face in the world today, he proclaimed that the Rosary “is our true weapon, which Heaven gave us for our time.” Bishop Schneider likened the five mysteries prayed in each Rosary to the five stones David used to take down Goliath, saying that “God has chosen and is choosing always the simple ones…this is the method of God.” Addressing the students directly, he told them that they are the ones who are “preparing the soil for the renewal of the Church.” In closing, he exhorted all present to live with confidence, trust, and joy.
“Bishop Schneider’s message helped to strengthen the sense of Christian confidence—hope—that through prayer the Church will persevere through her current difficulties. If we are facing a ‘Lepanto moment,’ we need that lively hope.”
–Dr. Philip Lawler, Senior Fellow at the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture
President Fahey remarked, “We are honored that Bishop Schneider chose to offer a Pontifical Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The students had a rare opportunity to hear one of the most forthright voices of our age.” Dr. Fahey was also pleased that the bishop drew attention to this day being the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto. “His sermon on the feast day, with its impassioned reminder of the significance of Lepanto, and the decisive role that prayer by small groups of Catholics played was extremely moving. His highlighting of our own College’s place in current struggles and spiritual battles was inspiring.” Dr. Philip Lawler, a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture, added that “Bishop Schneider’s message helped to strengthen the sense of Christian confidence—hope—that through prayer the Church will persevere through her current difficulties. If we are facing a ‘Lepanto moment,’ we need that lively hope.”
After the Mass, Bishop Schneider mingled with members of the community and ate lunch in the student cafeteria, where he enjoyed a recitation of G.K. Chesterton’s epic poem Lepanto by Thomas More students. A truly momentous occasion, this feast day will be remembered on campus for years to come.