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Regis College honours S+L CEO, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB

December 11, 2018
Photo courtesy of Regis College
As we come toward the end of any year, we often look back upon the important events that have been celebrated, recalling the moments that have made this past year unique and distinctive for us as individuals or organizations. At Salt + Light, we were privileged to have one of those very moments just a couple of weeks ago as our own CEO, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, was honoured by Regis College.
Affiliated with the University of Toronto through the ecumenical Toronto School of Theology, Regis College is the theological school of the Society of Jesus in Canada. It also happens to be Fr. Tom’s alma mater. Before his ordination as a priest of the Congregation of St. Basil in 1986, Fr. Tom graduated from Regis, earning a Master of Divinity and Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1985. What a mark of respect is was, therefore, for him to be chosen both to give this year’s Chancellor’s Lecture and to receive an honorary degree from the College.
On Friday, November 23, Fr. Tom gave the annual Chancellor’s Lecture, presenting a talk entitled “Doing Theology in the City.” In the lecture, he examined the ways that we can all be more aware of and effective in the cities and places in which we live and do theology. “Theology,” he said, “is less about the what and much more about the how.” Looking back upon the convincing integrity and strong witness of St. Paul and the earliest Christians, Fr. Tom highlighted how we are all called to live as good citizens in our various cities and homes. The lecture considered the parables of Jesus, the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, the instruction of Pope Francis, the theology of Fr. Karl Rahner, SJ, and other sources as “roadmaps and guides” that show how we might successfully do the work of evangelization in society. In concluding his words, Fr. Tom noted with hope that such “theological investigations and research are bearing fruit in our cities, town, and villages where theology is done at its best.”
Then on Saturday, November 24, Fr. Tom joined the Regis College community for their Fall Convocation. At the ceremony, which took place in Regis’ beautiful St. Joseph Chapel, he joined the College’s other graduates for what was a memorable celebration. The Convocation address was given by Fr. Scott Lewis, SJ, Vice President and Dean of Regis College, and approximately fifty degrees were awarded. Dressed in full academic regalia, Fr. Tom was lauded for his distinguished work by being awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity.
Surrounded by family, friends, and colleagues, it was truly a special weekend for Fr. Tom. “I was very moved and most grateful,” he said of having the chance to receive this honour from Regis. We at Salt + Light congratulate Fr. Tom on this wonderful achievement and also offer thanks to Regis College for the work they do as an ecclesiastical faculty in educating men and women in the critical areas of ministry and theology.

Excerpts from the Citation read by Reverend Scott Lewis, SJ, Dean
2018 Convocation Ceremony at Regis College
November 24, 2018

Very Reverend Father Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present to you Father Thomas Rosica, of the Congregation of St Basil, Chief Executive Officer of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. Fr. Rosica has become a familiar face over the years on national television networks. He is the go-to person for news networks whenever they cover stories involving the Church. Whether for papal conclaves, synods, or breaking news stories, he has always provided coherent and learned commentary for countless viewers. …
...Fr. Rosica is a consummate communicator. As a well-known biblical scholar, lecturer, speaker, retreat preacher, and author, he has served the Church at a local, national, and universal level in his years of ordained ministry. He is the author of several hundred articles and columns in numerous languages for various publications. He wrote a weekly column for the Toronto Sun for three years and a three-year cycle of biblical reflections for the Zenit International News Service that is published in book form by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Publications Service. He has also authored several books on biblical themes as well as on lives of the saints.
Through his on-air reporting and commentary, he has made the Church visible and accessible to countless people. In countless presentations, he explained the workings of the synods and the intricacies of Vatican politics. He is also an educator, both in the traditional classroom and on the air. His interviews… have provided viewers with a thoughtful and broad view of the Church and society.
His special teaching role, however, consists in nudging, at times dragging, the Church into the digital and media age. This entails more than the proper use of technology – it focuses on the attitudes of clergy and church people to being in the spotlight and communicating with the public. This has a special urgency in our own time, in which the Church suffers the consequences of failures in openness, honesty, and transparency. Fr. Rosica is teaching the Church not to fear the media, but to use it effectively. As part of this undertaking, he has spoken forcefully against the negative and scurrilous political and religious currents in the social media and internet.
Reverend Father Chancellor, for all these reasons, I present to you Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, and ask you on behalf of the Governing Council and the Academic Council of Regis College to confer on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.