Dies natalis - an old tradition, "new" at the ITI

On October 1st, an old academic tradition, the dies natalis, was introduced at the ITI. Traditionally at many European universities, the dies natalis is when the foundation – the “birth” - of the university is celebrated with formal academic proceedings. October 1st is the feast day of ITI patroness, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, and the day in 1996 when the ITI was formally erected as a pontifical institute of theology by Decree of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education.

The celebrations started with Holy Mass at the Schloss with Msgr. Dr. Leo Maasburg, Director of Missio Austria, as the main celebrant. He preached on the importance of charity as starting “with the person on my right, and the person on my left”. This was then followed by a procession to, and dedication of, the newly framed image of Saint Thérèse in the main hallway of the Schloss. A musical Intermezzo with cello works of Johann Sebastian Bach, and played artfully by Gabriele Schuchter, brought participants to the highlight of the celebrations, the keynote lecture. The deeply inspiring keynote lecture was given by Mr. Graham Hutton. He spoke on “A faith worth dying for: a faith worth living for". Graham Hutton is the founding partner of the private equity firm Hutton Collins and has been a board member of the ITI since 2006. He studied History at Cambridge University and Theology at Oxford University as an Anglican before converting to Catholicism in 1982. He is also the chairman of  Aid to the Church in Need, an organization active in supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East and around the world. Students and staff alike went home with concrete suggestions on how to live as Christians in a way that combines works of mercy with a true sharing of the deep suffering of our persecuted brethren around the world. The sermon of Msgr. Leo Maasburg and the lecture of Mr. Graham Hutton can be heard or downloaded as an Audio file here. The text of Gram Hutton’s talk is also available.