Following the Light: A New Book by HACS Alum Kevin Bezner

HACS is proud to share the news of publication of Following the Light: New and Collected Poems, by alum Dr. Kevin Bezner (M.A. Theology). Following the Light reflects on Kevin’s beautiful and inspiring journey of faith and discovery, and the book is now available for pre-order at Amazon. More from Kaufmann Publishing:

Conversion story in poetry tells how nature led to Christ

Kevin Bezner returned to the Catholic Church after nearly thirty years of wandering in the desert of secularism. Part of his journey into the light of Jesus Christ is recorded in his seventh collection of poetry, Following the Light: New and Collected Poems, just released by Kaufmann Publishing.

The result of reflection that at first resembled and then later became a form of meditation and prayer, the poems collected in Following the Light emerge out of Bezner’s relationship with those places where we often encounter God, and where God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit was waiting for him – in the beauty of the natural world and in daily life.

“God is always with us; we’re not always with God,” Bezner said in an interview. “God was always reaching out to me. It took a while, but I finally accepted his grace and returned to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Following the Light is a conversion story in poetry that tells how the beauty of God’s creation led me to the light of Jesus Christ.”

About Kevin Bezner

A deacon in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Kevin Bezner holds five academic degrees, including a doctorate in English from Ohio University and a master’s in theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He has published seven collections of poetry and edited two books on poets, including The Wilderness of Vision: On the Poetry of John Haines (with Kevin Walzer). His literary interviews have appeared in, among others, The American Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Mississippi Review, New American Writing, and Sonora Review. His writing on Catholic themes has been published in Assisi, The Catholic Thing, Lay Witness, New Oxford Review, and Pilgrim.

Tutor Appeal

Hello everybody. Since the HACS tutor list is down to one man, I am writing once again to invite all alumni* to consider becoming a tutor. In particular, people who live nearby the HACS campus are especially encouraged to apply so that requests for face-to-face tutoring can be accommodated.

Please keep in mind that this is not necessarily a call to volunteer. Tutors are free to establish their own fee structures in order to be compensated for providing the service. (HACS Student Services only matches student requests with available tutors and leaves the details, including fees, to the private arrangement of the parties involved.)

Three easy steps:
  1. To indicate your availability, complete the brief form on the Tutor Application page.
  2. Your name will be added to the tutor list.
  3. You will be contacted as soon as a student requests help with a subject within the area of your competency.

As always, thanks for your consideration. As we head into the final stretch of the semester, let’s keep all HACS students in our prayers, especially those who might be struggling to do well in their courses.


Laura Brown (MA, ’14)
Director of Student Service Center
Alumni Association Member
Mobile: (331) 431-3930


*P.S. Students and others with competency in the areas of theology and philosophy are also welcome to apply.

Holy Apostles College and Seminary Recommended in the Cardinal Newman Society Guide to Catholic Colleges

Holy Apostles College and Seminary is recommended in the 2015 edition of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College for its strong Catholic identity.  The Newman Guide is a resource published by The Cardinal Newman Society and may be read at The Newman Guide says of Holy Apostles:

“The earliest Catholic universities made no distinction between higher education and preparation for the priesthood. In the same tradition, Holy Apostles College and Seminary offers lay men and women the opportunity to study philosophy and authentic Catholic theology together with seminarians and religious sisters, all of them studying, dining, and praying together daily.”

The complete summary of HACS in The Newman Guide can be found here:

In addition to providing authentically Catholic Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degree programs, Holy Apostles College and Seminary makes programs available in two ways – on campus and online – enabling students to complete their studies in classrooms in historic Cromwell, Connecticut, or to pursue their degrees up to 100% online from anywhere in the world.

Please share this exciting news with others seeking an authentic Catholic education, and encourage those wishing to learn more about HACS to visit


2014 Pope John Paul II Bioethics Lecture: Pope Pius XII as the “Greatest Hero of World War II”

On November 13, 2014 at 7:00 p.m., Gary Krupp, founder and president of Pave the Way Foundation (PWF), will deliver the 2014 Pope John Paul II Bioethics Lecture at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, presenting compelling research in defense of Pope Pius XII’s record as a hero of the Jewish people during World War II. The work of Mr. Krupp and PWF, long dedicated to inter-religious dialogue and tolerance, is international in scope and has done much to further harmony between Jews and Catholics.  Raymond Arroyo interviewed  Mr. Krupp on EWTN’s The World Over earlier this year; you can see that interview here:

The evening will also feature a concert of love songs of medieval Burgundy, performed by Asteria – soprano Sylvia Rhyne and tenor/lutist Eric Redlinger.  The concert begins at 6:00 p.m.,  followed by Mr. Krupp’s lecture at 7:00 p.m.  Both events will be held in Queen of the Apostles Chapel and admission is free. A reception will follow in St. Peter Hall.

Don’t miss this evening of beautiful music and a fascinating look at Pope Pius XII, who courageously defended the highest priority of Christian Bioethics: the defense of human life.   Please see  2014 Pope John Paul Bioethics Lecture  for additional background on Mr. Krupp’s work  and details about the evening.  You may also contact Deacon Tom Davis, Associate Director of the Pope John Paul II Bioethics Center, at  for more information.

Pius XII

More Important Information on the Faith and Science Webinar

The Faith and Science webinar by Fr. Spitzer will be recorded and made available on YouTube after the event, for those unable to attend the live event.

You may also share this information link with everyone you know:

Many thanks to Dr. Tom Sheahen, director of the Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology (, who is also one of our faculty members in the online programming of Holy Apostles, for making this available to our community.

Anyone who attends or watches the webinar may have a one-year free membership in ITEST simply by emailing the Associate Director (Sr. Marianne Postiglione, RSM) at and asking for it.

Free Faith & Science Webinar

High school science and religion teachers:

Please join the Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology on Tuesday, October 28, from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. EDT (3:30 p.m. CT, 9:30: p.m. GMT) as it hosts a free webinar by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, entitled “Collaborating to Teach Science and Faith: Helping to stem the tide of increased skepticism among our young people.”

For details, visit


HACS Alumni Group on LinkedIn

Our newest graduates now have the opportunity to join the HACS Alumni group on LinkedIn. Whether you are a new grad or more seasoned alum, membership offers an excellent opportunity to connect with other alumni and current or former professors, and to expand your professional network.

A request for membership is quick and easy at  Joining the group is an outstanding way to leverage your distinguished status as a graduate of Holy Apostles College and Seminary, and to continue to build our community of faith and service.

Introducing HACS Tutoring Program

It is a privilege for me to assist Holy Apostles College & Seminary with the launch of its tutoring program. We are in the process of compiling a list of alumni who are willing to serve as tutors to current students, and I invite you to consider sharing the wealth of your knowledge with our future fellow-alumni.

Since I have served as a tutor myself in a variety of disciplines, I can speak from personal experience that tutoring is far more rewarding than any bullet list can convey. Nevertheless, here’s a bullet list:

Why Tutor?
• To solidify your own command of the subject matter
• To extend your network of personal and professional connections
• To build or diversify your professional or pastoral experience
• To earn a little extra money
• To perform a spiritual work of mercy (instead of earning a little extra money)

(A spiritual work of mercy? Why not? Remember, the first is to “instruct the ignorant.” And the sixth, to “comfort the afflicted,” might apply on occasion, too.)

How it works:
To be added to the list of available tutors, simply complete the Tutor Application form linked under the Student Services tab. As student requests come in, I will notify you of any prospective match(es) so that you and the student can work out a mutually acceptable private arrangement.

Thanks so much for your consideration! I look forward to working together with you to share the blessing of our own HACS education with current students.


Laura Brown (MA, ’14)
Director of Student Service Center
Alumni Association Member
Mobile: (331) 431-3930

Announcing HACS Career Center and Student Services

Dear Alumni,

In the process of seeking approval for a fully online undergraduate program, the following deficit was noted by the state of Connecticut:

“According to standard 7 of the Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education, institutions must provide effective student and academic support to students enrolled in online offerings. Accordingly, the team requested that the College demonstrate its capacity to provide sufficient tutoring and career and placement counseling services to its online students. The response did not provide adequate evidence of this. Please revise your responses to demonstrate how the College is capable of providing these important services.”

As is highlighted, we were in need of tutoring and career placement and counseling services. Our solution was to create a Student Services Center and a Career Center within the Alumni Association. See the new pages in the navigation bar above.

Richard Birdsall, Director of the Career Center

Richard Birdsall

Richard Birdsall, a fellow Holy Apostles alumnus, has accepted the position of Director of the Career Center in which he will serve as a Board Member of the Alumni Association. His goals are to:

  • Maintain a populated list of potential employers.
  • Query the potential employers routinely for job openings.
  • Communicate job openings to the Alumni Association.
  • Serve as liaison for students/alumni seeking employment and organizations seeking to fill jobs.
  • Provide counsel on career management through the Alumni Association website.

Richard holds a M.A. in Philosophy from Holy Apostles College & Seminary, as well as a Masters in Public Administration from the University of North Florida. He is a retired computer systems manager with the Federal Aviation Administration. He is the founder and manager of the HACS online bookstore and currently is an instructor of philosophy and humanities at Florida State College at Jacksonville. Richard lives in Jacksonville with his wife of 39 years, Marian.

Laura Brown, Director of Student Services

Laura Brown

Laura Brown, a fellow Holy Apostles alumna, has accepted the position of Director of Student Services in which she will serve as Board Member of the Alumni Association. Her goals are to:

  • Maintain a populated list of potential tutors among the students and alumni.
  • Query students and alumni routinely for possible interest in tutoring.
  • Communicate new information about tutors to the Alumni Association.
  • Serve as liaison for particular students seeking tutors and the tutors on the list.
  • Provide counsel on student life through the Alumni Association website.

Laura earned a B.S. in Biology from Loyola University Chicago and worked as a research lab tech prior to making her first career change in 1996. After a fifteen-year career in marketing communications, culminating in her tenure as director of communications with Aquinas College in Nashville, she determined the time was right to attempt another career change. Having discovered Holy Apostles College & Seminary while conducting a peer institution assessment for Aquinas, Laura realized that the HACS Distance M.A. program would enable her to acquire the credentials needed to transform a long-cherished passion for the doctrine and history of the Catholic Church into a meaningful career. She stepped down from her position in 2011, returned to her hometown in the Chicago area, and worked as a freelance copywriter while pursuing a Master’s with a concentration in Dogmatic Theology. Laura graduated in May 2014 and is currently an archives intern with the Archdiocese of Chicago.

In addition to the transferable skills attending her marketing and communications career, Laura also brings direct experience in starting a tutoring program thanks to her work with Foster Angels of Arizona, a nonprofit organization that provided academic enrichment programs to youth in the foster care system of Maricopa County, Arizona (2004 to 2007). She intends to resume coursework at HACS this semester toward a second Master’s degree and says that she is “eternally grateful that HACS put advanced studies within the reach of nontraditional students like me.”

Both Richard and Laura will be posting shortly with more information as they begin to coordinate these services offered through the Holy Apostles College & Seminary Alumni Association. We are grateful for their commitment to help our online program grow.

God bless,
Stacy Trasancos

HACS Alum Returns to Ukraine on Fulbright Fellowship


Franciscan University professor Alexander Sich
– Franciscan University of Steubenville

At a crucial time in the European nation’s history, Alexander Sich will teach classes at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv.

By Judy Roberts | National Catholic Register

Alexander Sich, a professor of physics and pre-engineering at Ohio’s Franciscan University of Steubenville, who has lived and worked in Ukraine, will return to the eastern European nation next month as the recipient of a Fulbright Teaching and Research Fellowship.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, Sich, who speaks both Ukrainian and Russian, will be teaching classes and doing research on the philosophy of nature at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, the first Catholic university in the territory of the former Soviet Union. Sich spoke with Register correspondent Judy Roberts about his work and his hopes for Ukraine.

How did you become interested in Ukraine?

My parents are Ukrainian. My father is from Ukraine and had a pretty bad experience during World War II. He was incarcerated by the Nazis and was slated for execution, but his group of prisoners caught typhoid, and the Nazis fled — abandoning them in a cellar jail to die. He escaped and made his way toward Germany, was caught and served time in a Nazi labor camp, but was finally freed by the Americans.

My mother is a Ukrainian from Croatia. Her father was a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest murdered by the communists in then-Yugoslavia. She and my grandmother immigrated here, and my parents met in New Jersey.

After receiving my first degree in nuclear engineering from Rensselaer [Polytechnic Institute], I went on to graduate studies at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology], which was only two miles from Harvard University. One summer, I attended a Soviet nationalities mini-session course. The person running it happened to be the administrator for Harvard’s Soviet Union program. He invited me to apply for a master’s in Soviet studies.

So I finished my doctoral qualifying exams at MIT and withdrew for two years to attend Harvard. When I was close to completing the Harvard degree, I thought I would return to MIT, complete the Ph.D. and “grow up” to be a nuclear engineer … and move on.

But two things changed the course of my life. Chernobyl [a 1986 nuclear disaster] occurred when I was at MIT, and Rotary International initiated its first exchange program with the former Soviet Union, looking to place students in the western Ukraine city of Lviv.

After graduating from Harvard, my wife and I took 10 American kids to Ukraine on this exchange program. That was my “in,” because, at that point, since I was very interested in Chernobyl, I was able to start snooping around for research, which was unheard of, especially for a foreign graduate student.

I started making friends and was eventually invited to visit the 30-kilometer Chernobyl Exclusion Zone by the head of the scientific group analyzing the remains of the destroyed reactor. I was invited to conduct research there and, as it turns out, at that point was the first and only Westerner asked to do so.

I spent a year and a half living inside the 30-kilometer zone. They provided me with a cottage in the town of Chernobyl so that I could work directly with scientists, and I was given virtually unimpeded access to data as the Soviet Union was collapsing around me. So, when I returned to MIT, I was loaded with information the West did not have. I wrote my dissertation, published a few articles and was hired first by the European Bank, then the U.S. Department of Energy, to represent the International Nuclear Safety Program in Kiev for three years.

Following this, I worked for three and a half years on an international project to build an environmentally safe confinement over the destroyed [Chernobyl Unit-4] reactor. After that, I returned to Kiev for five years to work for the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine as a senior specialist to support U.S. nonproliferation policy by coordinating former Soviet weapons of mass destruction scientists in converting their military-science expertise to civilian uses.

Besides your doctorate in nuclear engineering and master’s in Soviet studies, you have a master’s degree in Thomistic philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. How did this come about?

The philosophy degree is closely connected to why I came to Franciscan. When I was living and working in Kiev, I had a very close friend at the U.S. Embassy who was an atheist, but he wasn’t “in your face” about it. He was a very well-educated guy and a very nice, quiet and humble man. But, perhaps for the first time in my life, he started posing questions that really challenged me. That spurred my interest in learning more, and I went in the direction of philosophy — eventually obtaining the master’s from Holy Apostles.

Along the way, and as a scientist, I became so interested in the philosophy of nature that it reoriented, if you will, my life. It was very interesting and challenging to be doing international nuclear safety and weapons, but after a while, the philosophy, in terms of its Catholic context, kind of took over my life. I started looking for teaching positions and ended up at Franciscan.

Read the rest at National Catholic Register.

Prayer Request from Fr. Michel Legault, M.S.A. (Plus Photos)

Dear Friends,

Pax et Bonum!

May this greeting of St. Francis of Assisi be, by the grace of God, a reality in your life.

I am presently at Holy Apostles College and Seminary for five weeks.

Next Wednesday (June 18) I will have a surgery in my left eye. It will be a partial implantation of the cornea. After the surgery I had for cataracts, the cornea of my right eye was deteriorated so I can no ore use my right eye.

A surgery is necessary to recover a normal sight.

Dr. Mitchel Gilbert of Hartford Hospital will make the surgery taking some cells of the cornea of a dead person to transplant it into my own cornea.

I ask you to have an intention for me in your prayer.

Thanks for sustaining me by your prayers!

I will be back home the same day.

Brother Glenn Breed will accompany me. I thank him very sincerely for his fraternal and efficient support.

After a week, I should be able to resume my regular occupations.

I will stay in Cromwell up to July 26 with our five new MSA Vietnamese members.

After three weeks of vacation in Montreal, I will be back at HACS probably on August 18 . . . to prepare my class for another academic year.

Here are some pictures you can add to your archives.

God bless you all!
Fr. Michel Legault, M.S.A.

20140424 HACS 01 DSCN4891 DSCN4914 DSCN4940 DSCN4968 DSCN4981

Excellence in Literature Shares Dr. Sebastian Mahfood’s Dante Videos


From the Excellence in Literature site:

Dr. Sebastian Mahfood has kindly shared these Dante videos with us: he has made a short video reflection on each canto of Dante’s Inferno. We hope you find these helpful in your studies. If you are interested in Purgatorio and Paradiso, Dr. Mahfood’s videos for those are available on his Youtube page.

Please be aware that this is a challenging work with complex and mature themes. These optional video explanations contain vintage illustrations that may be disturbing, and in some cases, contain unclad human forms. Parental discretion advised.

Here are the links to the videos in the series:

Dante’s Inferno

Introduction: the Dark Wood and Gate of Hell (Cantos 1-3)

Circles 1-6 (Cantos 4-11)

Circle 7 (Cantos 12-17)

Circle 8 (Cantos 18-31)

Circle 9 (Cantos 32-34)

This is a good place to also mention Dr. Mahfood’s “Digital Dante Contest.”

The year 2014 marks the 700th anniversary of the publication of Dante’s Inferno, and to celebrate this septuacentennial, the Catholic Distance Learning Network is hosting a contest for


This contest will be an annual event through the year 2021, which marks the 700th anniversary of the completion of the Paradiso and also of Dante’s death.

The submission deadline is November 1, 2014. Details here.

Faculty PHOTOS at Graduation

These are from Professor Raul Lozada at the Spring 2014 Graduation ceremony. Click to view larger, especially the faculty picture at the end.


Professor Raul Lozada with Fr. Brian Mullady, OP


Fr. Brian Mullady’s commencement speech


Click to enlarge. Here are all the faculty preparing to head up to the graduation ceremony. In order from left to right: Prof. Judith Babarsky, Fr. Luis Luna, MSA, Prof. Heather Voccola, Fr. Michel Legault, MSA, Fr. Dennis Kolinski, SJC, Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP, Fr. Dominic Anaeto, Fr. Peter Kucer, MSA, Fr. Brian Mullady, OP, Sr. Mary Anne Linder, FSE, Dr. Ronda Chervin, Dr. Alphonso Pinto, Mrs. Clare Adamo, Fr. William McCarthy, MSA, Fr. Kermit Syren, LC.