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.

The Journey of Life: Deacon Bob Ayers

Deacon Bob Ayers

Deacon Bob graduated with an M.A. in Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary this past May.

We all know that life is a journey. In fact, it’s many journeys that often branch out in various directions at any given time. When we are young, the journey is quite easy. Our parents let us know when to go to church, when to go to school, when it’s time to eat, and when it’s time to play. Our lives in our earlier years are in a sense laid out for us like a roadmap or a GPS display. You just follow the route that you’re given. Of course, as we get older, we gain additional freedom. With that freedom, in order to mature, we need to accept additional responsibility. That’s where it starts to get tough.

St. Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things” (1 Cor 13:11). As we began to make our own decisions as adults, we made choices regarding careers, marriage, raising children, caring for our aging parents, planning for our own retirement and yes, hopefully some vacations. These decisions are best made within a vibrant prayer life. As Catholic Christians we can draw upon the Spirit of God to guide us in the choices we make. That’s the birthright we receive in becoming adopted sons and daughters of God through Baptism, the strength we receive in the Body and Blood of Christ, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation.

Although these Divine gifts are freely available to us, we’re still human and we instinctively cling to our human nature. A mistake that I often make is when times get really tough, I habitually double down on my efforts instead of first reaching out to God in prayer. When things only get worse it finally hits me, Duh!

When we pray, we certainly can’t expect to hear God’s voice speaking to us every time we call. What we can expect is that with persistent prayer, our thoughts will begin to conform to God’s will for us and the decision becomes a lot clearer.

About five years ago, I felt that the time had come in my life to further my education. I considered pursuing either an M.B.A. or an M.A. in Theology. I churned it around in my head, over and over again, for more than a year, only to find that I became more uncertain of the direction I should take. When I finally began to bring the choices to God in prayer, it started to become clearer. Did I want to better understand the administration of business, or did I want to deepen my understanding of God and His Church? In 2010, I applied and was accepted for admission to Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT. The first course that I took was like dumping a bucket of ice-water on my head. It was 35 years since I graduated from college and I was rusty, the course required five books, and this stuff was a lot more difficult than undergraduate coursework (again, Duh!). Yet, this is where God led me, not fully understanding what I was getting into. On Saturday, May 3, I received the degree of Master of Arts in Theology.

It was a truly awesome celebration. As I sat at the graduation ceremony, I listened to the welcoming address by the President and Rector Very Rev. Douglas Mosey, the commencement address by Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P., and the encouraging words of the Vicar General of the Diocese of Norwich Msgr. Leszek Janik. I then suddenly began to think forward. With considerable apprehension I thought. . . “What is God going to want me to do next?” The answer is, I don’t have the slightest idea! But maybe by now I have finally learned that I don’t need to know everything and I don’t need to be in control. As St. Paul wrote, “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known” (1 Cor 13:12).

I would be remiss if I did not thank my wife Linda and our daughter Melissa for putting up with me these last four years. Nights and weekends were often consumed in reading, writing essays, and taking exams. They noticed a pattern early on and could detect it in my demeanor. They would simply say, “I guess you have a paper due this week!”

Hesitant About Doing Classes Online?

Dear Alumni, Current Students, and Potential Students,

Catholic Leader Scholarship recipient Leila Miller posted a brief announcement on her blog about beginning studies at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. One of her readers had a very good comment, one that a lot of people probably have. I want to address it and invite other alumni to share their experiences too.

I am hesitant about doing classes on online, because I worry that I would miss out on the wonderful insights that come from interacting with other students with other perspectives and backgrounds. -Barbara C.

In my opinion, this comment represents one of the significant differences between online and classroom learning. At first I also wondered whether an online classroom could impart knowledge as effectively as a real classroom. You know what I realized? I realized that the physical presence in a room full of people actually hindered my ability to learn. It’s a matter of personality, so I’m only offering Barbara, and anyone else with similar concerns, my perspective. I acknowledge other people may feel differently.

I’m rather introverted, not extremely, but enough so that I learn better in private than in public. There’s a certain pressure to being in public and it is distracting. Classrooms were stressful when I was in elementary school, and more so in junior high because I felt like I had to perform. Classrooms were almost unbearable at times in high school because I was shy. In college, I remember the blood rushing to my cheeks whenever an instructor asked a question, and in that interminable silence that followed as his eyes scanned the crowd, I would hope to be transported miraculously elsewhere, anywhere, to avoid being told to answer a question spontaneously, you know—out loud. Even if I knew the answer, I needed time to think about new material before I was confident giving an answer.

Certainly not every classroom experience is negative. For some subjects, like science labs, art, or music, real life will always be richer than online; but for subjects that require a lot of reading, writing, or computation, learning in private with interactive material to guide you is arguably more effective. There are practical considerations as well. When I started taking courses in theology and philosophy at HACS, I had just given birth to a son, and we had four small daughters and one teenager still at home. It was a good to be able to log in privately any time of day and think about the assignment at my own pace, in between repairing diaper blow-outs, refilling sippy cups, refereeing sister fights, or folding 47-million pairs of underwear. It was good to be able to take a short break in my office or get up early in the morning, sit at the computer, and read or write something that benefited my faith and helped me remember what all this mommy stuff is ultimately about. If going to school had required me to spend time getting dressed, driving, parking, walking to class, sitting in class, and traveling back home, pursuing a degree would have been absolutely 100% out of the question. From home, with guidance from professors through the internet, I learned my way, amusing as it was some days.

Mute Button2

The late Fr. Benedict Ashley, O.P. (RIP) explains the biblical foundations of moral theology

That’s the thing: Online learning puts the responsibility to learn almost completely in the learner’s lap. The professor structures the course before it even starts, and mainly guides the student through it with feedback and instruction. Every student is exposed to the same material, and each student is responsible to engage the material, appropriate the content, and demonstrate mastery.

Do I feel like there was adequate interaction from other students with different perspectives and backgrounds? Yes, when such interaction is useful, the professors can initiate discussion online and manage it. When I’m socializing, I enjoy face-to-face talk, but when I’m learning, it’s different. I prefer time to deliberate. I appreciated that with online learning I could formulate my responses carefully and say what I wanted to say with some precision. My classmates probably didn’t even know there was usually a little boy flying a plane over my face or sleeping sweetly in my arms.

Your turn. What were your experiences? Email me ( if you would like to share your perspective with potential or current students, and we’ll post it here. Pictures are welcome!

Blessed Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord,
Stacy Trasancos
President of the Alumni Association

Commencement Spring 2014 Video

Scoot the timer over to 26:30 to begin.

Be sure to listen to Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P.’s speech at 1:15.

At 1:41 Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, O.P. awards Dr. Lisa Anne Tavano-Hall the degree, posthumously, that she was pursuing before her death last May.

Resume Writing Special Offer

P. D. Yoko   Technical   Creative Writing Services

Dear HACS Alumni,

We recently had a question from a student about writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV).

When I wrote mine, I consulted different websites to figure out how to structure the information, and from that I typed up the basic form. However, it was not visually appealing and lacked professional polish. A friend, who is a professional editor, helped me with the design of it—a huge improvement.

You can see my CV here. I keep a version of it updated online here.

Professional resume writing services typically charge $250 for a resume up to 4-pages in length and the cover letter is an additional $50. (I Googled it, but didn’t want to list or link to the companies.)

My friend, P. D. Yoko, agreed to offer her services at a reduced cost to Holy Apostles College and Seminary faculty, staff, alumni, and students.

P | D | Yoko Technical & Creative Writing Services offers Holy Apostles members the following special service: 

  • $75.00 to write and produce a resume
  • A cover letter for an additional $25.00
  • Matching cover letterhead CV header
  • One (1) revision
  • A Word document and PDF file of the CV for your use

Everything is accomplished by email, or instant messenger.

Mrs. Yoko requires payment in full before beginning work. She has a PayPal link in the footer of her website. If you would like her help, contact her through this form.

A note from my personal experience: Editing is more expensive than I originally thought. Just last week I had a minimal editing sweep (grammar, spelling, typos) done of a ~100-page work, and the cost was over $300. I have served as a free-lance editor for web publications, and I can attest, the attention to detail required to produce a polished work is tedious. Still, not everyone wants to spend $100 on a resume or CV, so even if you are not interested in this offer from Mrs. Yoko, please feel free to refer to my CV linked above as a guide for formatting yours.

You might even consider designing your own website so you can send a link of your work and your CV to potential employers. If anyone is interested in learning more about web design and maintenance, let me know in the comment boxes. I can do some posts on that.

God Bless,

Marin Catholic Job Postings: English and Theology Teachers

Marin Catholic is a Catholic, co-ed college preparatory high school founded on the values of faith, knowledge and service. The young men and women attending Marin Catholic are dedicated, accomplished students, willing and able to undertake the challenges of a college preparatory program and anxious to make their unique contribution to the school community. The administrators, faculty and staff of Marin Catholic work hard to maintain a dynamic, student-centered environment, one that affords our young women and men every opportunity to achieve excellence.

Teachers at Marin Catholic have the primary responsibility to implement the school philosophy through instructional competence, through participation in the creation of a school community, and through their role as a bridge between the individual student and the world community.

Applicants have rights under Federal Employment Laws

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)
Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)



Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield, CA is seeking a full-time English teacher for the 2014 – 2015 school year.

*Position will begin August 2014

Marin Catholic is a RomanCatholic, co-ed college prep high school founded on the values of faith, knowledge and service. The young men and women attending Marin Catholic are dedicated, accomplished students, willing and able to undertake the challenges of a college preparatory program and anxious to make their unique contribution to the school community. The administrators, faculty and staff of Marin Catholic work hard to maintain a dynamic, student-centered environment, one that affords our young women and men every opportunity to achieve excellence.

Teachers at Marin Catholic High School have the primary responsibility to implement the school philosophy through instructional competence, through participation in the creation of a school community, and through their role as a bridge between the individual student and the world community.

Salary and benefits are commensurate with experience.

Qualifications, credentials, experience, knowledge & skills for the position:

  • Degree in English or related field
  • High school teaching experience, preferred
  • Catholic, preferred
  • Desire to share his/her faith journey
  • Teaching credential, preferred
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with faculty, students and staff
  • Intellectually curious and willingness to grow professionally
  • Ability to integrate technology into English curriculumMaintains best professional practices in communicating with peers, students and parents

Interested applicants for positions should submit a letter of interest and current resume to Dave Basso, Assistant Principal.


Marin Catholic is seeking a full-time Theology teacher for the 2014-2015 school year.
Position will begin August 2014.

Salary and benefits are commensurate with experience.

Qualifications, credentials, experience, knowledge & skills for the position:

  • Degree in Theology, Religious Studies or related field
  • Catholic high school teaching experience, preferred
  • Practicing Catholic, required
  • Teaching credential, preferred
  • Effectively collaborate with faculty, students and staff
  • Intellectually curious and willingness to grow professionally
  • Effectively integrate technology into Theology curriculum
  • Maintain best professional practices in communicating with peers, students and parents

Interested applicants for positions should submit a letter of interest and current resume to Dave Basso, Assistant Principal,

Testimony From Alum, Ryan Mayer

Mayer B&W selfieI’ll admit that I went into the distance MA in theology program at Holy Apostles College & Seminary with some skepticism. I had never taken a distance course and this was my first foray into graduate work. But like many others, I’ve become an unofficial advocate and walking advertising firm for the distance graduate programs at Holy Apostles. In 2004, I earned my BA in philosophy, theology, and literature from Mount Angel College & Seminary in Oregon as a seminarian for the Diocese of Phoenix. I thank God for the excellent, life-changing formation I received there. After four years I wanted to take some time to try classroom teaching. Since then, I’ve taught theology at three Catholic high schools in Arizona and California and absolutely love what I get to do everyday.

By the fall of 2009 I knew I was ready to go back to school to continue studies in either theology or philosophy. As a full-time, newly married teacher, I quickly became frustrated by the dearth of flexible and authentically Catholic graduate programs in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live and teach. There was one very good Dominican school in the area but I would have had to quit my job to be able to go to class in the middle of the day. There were some more flexible programs at some…let’s just say “less than authentically Catholic” schools, but I wasn’t willing to compromise on quality and integrity and enroll in a program just to be doing something. I was frustrated.

In fall of 2008 the Archdiocese of San Francisco hosted a conference for the National Catholic Bioethics Center which was attended by theology and science teachers in the Archdiocesan schools. I had recalled that at the conference, they offered brochures advertising a certification program in health care ethics. After my frustration in finding a workable graduate program, I decided to “settle” for the certification with the NCBC. It wasn’t a graduate degree, but it was something.

I went to the NCBC website to register and read that the certification program could also be counted as 12 graduate credits toward a MA in theology through Holy Apostles College & Seminary. I was familiar with Holy Apostles as I had read about the school in the Newman Guide and had some friends who had been seminarians or knew seminarians there. I was relieved to have found a MA program at a reputable Catholic institution, but I was still skeptical about the prospect of “distance” learning. Would it be too easy? Too confusing? Would I actually get to know other students and have a chance to interact with them?

My fears and skepticism were quickly allayed. I completed the MA and NCBC certification in two years by taking, for the most part, 2 courses at a time each trimester, which I found manageable, even while working full time (though in that time I did cram on an occasional paper or two). The trimester schedule is nice because it takes advantage of the fact that a distance student need not necessarily take a break over the summer to move back home. It also allows the student to take fewer classes at a time but still make progress through the program. One summer, I was even able to complete two courses while traveling with my wife and one-year old in Europe using only an iPad. Yeah…it’s that student-friendly.

Communication with Holy Apostles is fast, personal, professional, and helpful. The courses are challenging, but because the cohorts are relatively small, professors are accessible and even collegial with their students. Different professors make use of the distance format according to their preferences and personal “styles”. Some may rely more on students reading texts while others may rely more on weekly audio lectures; some prefer that students write papers and post to discussion boards while others expect projects. Even though I already had undergraduate degrees in philosophy and theology, there was not a single course I ever thought was boring or in which I didn’t love what I was reading or learn something entirely new. I even got to know many of my fellow students pretty well and we still collaborate on other projects, converse frequently on social media, and pray for each other, though we’ve never met in person! I enjoyed the theology program so much I enrolled in the MA in philosophy distance program!

The Holy Apostles MA has opened up some new opportunities as well. With the certification from the NCBC, I developed and now teach an Honors Bioethics course at Marin Catholic College Prep, where I’m chair of the theology department (send me an email if you want to come teach with me: My thesis was also published in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly (Summer 2011) and I have been in contact with the National Catholic Bioethics Center to assist them in developing high school bioethics materials. Next year, my family and I plan to move to Rome, Italy where I’ll work toward a licentiate in bioethics at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.

Hindsight is 20/20, and so is the evidence of God’s providence. By His grace I stumbled upon Holy Apostles College & Seminary and my experience there has been life-changing. I love sharing my experience through Holy Apostles. If you’re looking for authentically Catholic, personal, affordable, and flexible degree programs, look no further than Holy Apostles.

Question From a Student: Finding Teaching Positions and Writing CV’s

Ruthmarie SHea Atallah3

Dear HACS Alums,

We have a request from a student who soon hopes to join us as an alumna.* Her name is Ruthmarie Shea Atallah, and she would like to apply for a teaching position at a college or university after she graduates with her M.A. in Theology with a concentration in Bioethics.

Like many of us, she is unsure how to find institutions to apply to or what to do once she finds one. There are only two Catholic colleges near her and she cannot relocate.

Any ideas out there in HACS alum cyberspace?

Also, she could use some advice compiling her Curriculum Vitae.

She writes:

Being an online student means you are cut off from many of the advantages of an on-campus experience. I for one would be very grateful if the Alumni Association could come up with an advisory panel on how to find positions (e.g. on ethics committees, faculties, etc.) volunteer or paid.

So folks, that’s what we’re here for. Any ideas?

Personally, my network is almost 100% online. I got my degree online and I want to work online from home since I am a mother with young children. However, we all have different goals and needs. That’s the purpose of an association of graduates like ourselves. We need to communicate and figure out how to help each other because in doing so we help the institution we call an academic home, and ultimately we help cultivate more Catholic leaders in the future.

The goal!

Comments are open so you can leave any tips you have.

Please keep sending in questions and advice.

In Christ,
Stacy Trasancos


*P.S. “Alumna” is the classical Latin feminine of alumnus, according to Oxford. Did not know that.

What Alums Can Do Now

Dear HACS Alumni,

You may be wondering what we can do now while the Alumni Association is just getting off the ground. Here are some simple things you can do to help Holy Apostles.

  1. Share our posts on social media: If you use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linked In, or any other platform, share our posts if you think your friends and audience would be interested in the activities we mention. Follow Holy Apostles on Twitter and Facebook, see info in the sidebar.
  2. Share your experiences: If you are interested in writing about your experience at Holy Apostles with students and potential students, compose a brief essay and email it to me. I have media contacts in Catholic cyberspace and can get your piece some exposure. Why did you want a degree? How were you successful in completing your coursework? What did you do with your degree after you graduated?
  3. Send in pictures: Send me photos of yourself or your family if you are comfortable doing that, or of the Holy Apostles campus so we can post them on this site to share with other alumni. In this age of the internet, people like making connections with others and seeing what their lives are like.
  4. Share job information: If you know of job openings for other graduates, please send a quick note with the information to me so I can post it here.
  5. Pray: But you knew that already!

You can find out more about me at my website, and find me on Facebook or Twitter.

God Bless,
Stacy Trasancos