One year after his landmark engyclical Aeternis Patris on the philosophical and theological methods of St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope Leo XIII declared:
“We, for the glory of Almighty God and in honor of the Angelic Doctor, for the increase of the sciences, and for the common benefit of human society, declare by Our Supreme Authority , that St. Thomas Aquinas is Patron of Studies in Universities, Colleges, Lyceums, and Catholic Schools; and We desire that he be so held by all…” "Cum hoc sit", Brief of Leo XIII, August 4, 1880.Beginning with the 1924 Breviarium iuxta ritum sacri ordinis praedicatorum, November 13 was the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas - Patron of Catholic Schools in the Dominican liturgical calendar. Fr. Bonniwell's "History of the Dominican Liturgy" gives no date for when exactly the Order adopted this feast.
The feast had a rank of totum duplex, which meant that in the 1962 Breviarium S.O.P. it would have had the rank of 1st Class. In the Office, everything was taken from St. Thomas' feast (March 7), except for the 4th, 5th, and 6th lessons at Matins. At Mass, all was as on his feast day, except the for versicle after the responsory, which was proper to this feast:
Alleluia, alleluia! O Thomas, radiant lily, wearing a twofold crown, lead us, through our humble entreaty, to the hoped-for goal. Alleluia!It is a shame that the Order dispensed with this feast in the 1962 calendar. The poisonous "Land-O-Lakes Agreement", that heralded the secularization of Catholic Colleges and Universities in the United States, was less than a decade away when the feast was removed from the calendar. Would this educational train wreck have occurred if the entire Order of Preachers was celebrating a feast in honor of St. Thomas, asking for his patronage over the Catholic schools in this country?
St. Thomas Aquinas...Patron of Catholic schools...please pray for us.