Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fr. Thompson Receives the Dominican "Sacrae Theologiae Magister"

The NLM is very proud to announce that Fr. Augustine Thompson received yesterday the distinction of the Master's biretta and ring in Dominican ceremony for the Master of Sacred Theology (Sacrae Theologiae Magister).

Now the Master of Sacred Theology is not to be understood in the sense of a "Master's degree" in a university sense, instead it is an honorific distinction of the Dominican order. Today, the pre-requisites for this distinction include at least ten years of teaching at the graduate level and publication of a book and articles in academic journals.

The Sacrae Theologiae Magister (STM) dates back to the middle ages, and formerly wielded various privileges within the Dominican order, but since the post-conciliar era has become solely honorific.

The regalia that goes along with the STM is academic and not liturgical and those who have received the STM receive the title of "Very Reverend".

A description of the ceremony, which has remained unchanged since the late 1600's, is as follows. The individual to receive the honour comes and kneels before him who is to bestow the honour. The candidate makes a Profession of Faith and the ring is placed upon the ring finger of the left hand of the candidate. As this is done, the following is said:

"As you have called Wisdom your friend, and your have become a lover of her beauty, you have asked that she become your spouse: Behold. God gives her to you as spouse, that she be with you always and possess your heart."

The ring may have one stone or none.

The new Master of Sacred Theology is then sat in the chair and his appointment as a Master is announced. Then, placed upon the new Master's head is a Master's biretta. Current Dominican practice is to use a black biretta with red-purple piping and pom-pom. Being that it is the biretta of a doctor, it has four fins, not three as in the case of those who have the licentiate, or the typical clerical biretta.

It is then announced:

"Behold the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field in bloom; may the Lord cause you to increase by thousands, and may he bless you for all eternity. Amen."

The new Master then rises and delivers his inaugural lecture.

For those interested, the full form of this ceremony may be found here.

Here you may see this ceremony from yesterday, with Fr. Augustine Thompson receiving the title of Master, along with the imposition of the Dominican Master's ring and biretta:

(Fr. Thompson kneels before him who will bestow the title)

(Fr. Thompson seated; the ring of the Master has been received; he is proclaimed as a Master of Sacred Theology)

(Fr. Thompson receives the Master's Biretta)

(The inaugural lecture)

Congratulations to the Very Reverend Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., S.T.M.

Fr. Thompson then proceeded to vest and celebrate Mass in the Dominican rite for those gathered. A few photographs:

To see all the pictures, see photo album.

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