By Christopher Hauser ’14
This past Sunday 24 February 2013, AQ celebrated a special mass with Manchester Bishop Peter A. Libasci. It truly was a fitting Sunday for AQ’s new spiritual father and chairman of the board to visit us for the first time. Indeed, with the end of Pope Benedict XVI’s tenure as Holy Father and the impending election of a new successor of Saint Peter, AQ was blessed to be reminded of Christ’s promise of fidelity to the Church in the person of Bishop Libasci, one of the successors of the Apostles.
As Bishop of our diocese, he is the chief spiritual and teaching authority of our community, a microcosm of the Sacramental Church established by Christ so many years ago. And hence, in a world where the hierarchy of the Catholic Church can often be maligned or misunderstood, at a time when the Church must face the world’s cameras, cameras often held by those who would disparage any notion of the Holy Spirit’s guiding what to their lenses is little more than a pseudo-political election, it truly was fitting for Dartmouth’s Catholic community to celebrate the Mass, and the gift of the Eucharist, through our Apostolic Teacher, Bishop Libasci.
What’s more, the Bishop’s homily fittingly recalled the importance of our Faith’s historical roots. Indeed, Christianity is not a philosophy, strictly speaking, but religion rooted in historical events, or indeed a historical Person, Jesus Christ, the God-Man who brought the Good News to those original Apostles, through whom it is has been passed down through the generations until our own day.
Bishop Libasci spoke on the Transfiguration as given in the Gospel, that marvelous moment in time, which simultaneously transcends time, that moment where Christ’s glory was revealed in its fullness to those who would later tell of this glory. Fittingly, Bishop Libasci recalled for us the significance of the appearances of Moses and Elijah at Christ’s side: indeed, Christ came neither to overturn the Law (given through Moses) nor the Prophets (the greatest of whom was Elijah) but to fulfill both. What a telling reminder for us today in a world, which is too ready to see the Church as a mere human institution! We are reminded that the Church is an institution of humans, a historical institution, an institution born and initiated in time and space, but that nonetheless is also a divine institution, an institution that transcends this world, an institution begun at the hand of God.
Truly, St. Augustine spoke fittingly when, in his marvelous City of God, he insisted upon this distinctive mark of the Judeo-Christian Faith: unlike the 288 schools of philosophy he accounted for in his taxonomy, this Faith, though expressed and lived in persons living in generation after generation of this world, nevertheless remained true and consistent throughout the age of the Fathers, the handing down of the Law, and the oracles of the Prophets up until its culmination in Christ. This is our one, holy, Catholic, apostolic Faith.
Chris Hauser is a Dartmouth ’14 from Barrington, Illinois studying Philosophy and History. His home parish is St. Anne’s in Barrington, and he attended Loyola Academy in Wilmette.