Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Announcing S.T.A.G.S.


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Announcing the St. Thomas Aquinas Guild of Scholars (S.T.A.G.S.)



"As the stag panteth after the fountains water, so panteth my soul after thee, O God."  (Ps. 41:2)


The St. Thomas Aquinas Guild of Scholars (STAGS) is a group of academics who embrace the traditional Catholic faith and strive for holiness through their scholarly life.  The 'STAGS' make a private, individual commitment to fulfill a set of spiritual and ascetical norms on a daily basis.  The Stags are collaborators in the Ite ad Thomam blog and feature their academic work (CV, books, articles, recorded classes, etc.) through the Ite ad Thomam site.  Anyone interested in joining the guild or wishing to receive more information should email STAGS Fellow, Dr. Francisco J. Romero Carrasquillo to the email address below. 




Each member strives for holiness from his own state in life and place in the world.  STAGS is open to men and women, to laymen, clergy, and members of religious orders and congregations.  The core of their identity as members of the guild is the fact that they have chosen an academic profession and they live the norms as as a means to attain holiness.
STAGS is not a religious order; we do not live in community or follow a rule.  Members do not owe obedience to the guild fellows, and there is no celibacy requirement.  There is no vow of poverty, and membership is absolutely free.  The only requirements for membership are: (a) embracing an academic profession, and (b) fulfilling the norms, including making a monthly contribution (investment of time, work) towards the website.  There is also the possibility, for scholars who do not wish to make their membership in the guild public, to be members in pectore.

A. MEMBERSHIP comes in three levels, depending on the degree of commitment, and level these levels there are ranks.   Each rank includes the privileges and obligations of the ranks below it.

Chaplains provide spiritual direction and advise for guild members.  They are traditional Catholic priests from an ecclesiastically approved priestly fraternity or religious order (e.g., the Fraternity of St. Peter).

Guild Professors are involved in the day-to-day activities of the guild.
 - Fellows are governing members and make decisions about the direction of the guild.
 - Tutors are the mentors of the more recent members, and offer them academic and professional advice.
 - Lectors are teaching members, and offer teaching resources through the website.

Full Members live the norms of piety fully and participate in Ite ad Thomam as contributors.  Full members may be later invited to become Guild Professors.  They are ranked according to highest completed academic degree (in an accredited university, in any field):
 - Doctors may be invited to become fellows.
 - Masters may be invited to become tutors.
 - Bachellors may be invited to become lectors.
 - Inceptors are undergraduates in the process of obtaining their first college degree. 

Candidates are in the process of entering the guild, and are admitted as members-in-the-making.  They strive to incorporate the norms of piety into their lives with the help of a spiritual director (a guild chaplain) and a tutor.  For instructions as to how to request admission as a candidate, you must communicate with STAGS Fellow, Dr. Francisco Romero to the email above.

B. THE NORMS OF PIETY form our interior life and represent the core of our identity.  They are a personal commitment that the individual makes before God; the commitment is not a vow or a life-long promise, but a resolution to fulfill indefinitely, or at least as long as one belongs to the guild.  They do not bind under the pain of sin, but fulfilling them is a requirement for membership.  The norms are as follows:
Daily Norms:
 - Morning offering.
 - Recitation of Memorare.
 - Recitation of Angelus (at least once, at 6am, noon, or 6pm; genuflect at “et Verbum caro factum est”).
 - Reading the Gospel of the day (traditional Missal).
 - Mental prayer, accompanied by spiritual reading (traditional sources, 15-30 mins. minimum).
 - Prayerful reading of formative text (traditional/traditionalist sources, 15-30 mins. minimum).
 - A third of the Rosary (according to the traditional arrangement).
 - Small daily mortification (to be determined by spiritual director).
 - Examination of conscience (both general and particular).
 - Three Hail Marys for purity before bed, preferably in Latin, with holy water.
Weekly Norms:
 - Traditional Latin Mass, Communion, and Thanksgiving.
 - Visit to the Blessed Sacrament and Spiritual Communion.
 - Psalm 2 in honor of Christ the King (Tuesdays).
 - Adoro Te devote (Thursdays).
 - Follow traditional fasting/abstinence rules (Fridays, Lent, and Ember Days).
 - Marian antiphon (Saturdays).
 - Athanasian Creed (Sundays).
Monthly Norms:
 - Confession and spiritual direction.
 - Turn in monthly control (fulfilled norms sheet), provided by tutor.
 - Contribution to the website.
Yearly Norms:
 - Recitation of the Oath Against Modernism upon joining guild and on anniversary.
 - Pray the stations of the Cross at least once during Lent.
Occasional Norms (when the opportunity presents itself):
 - Salutation of the Blessed Sacrament (when passing by a church).
 - Prayer to St. Michael (when passing by a place of public sin).
 - Prayer for the holy souls (when passing by a cemetery).
 - Blessing before meals; thanksgiving after meals.
 - Reverence before sacred images.

Sancte Thoma, ora pro nobis!
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