Graduate Spotlight: Br. James Pierce Cavanaugh, OP

Br. James Pierce Cavanaugh, OP, is graduating this May with an MA and MDiv from Aquinas Institute of Theology and will be ordained a Dominican Priest in June. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Br. James Pierce attended Indiana University in Bloomington, where he studied sports broadcasting, a skill he says continues to come in handy in his role as a Dominican.

“It's a helpful skill set to have. Some of the broadcast training has played into my comfort and speaking presence when it comes to preaching” he says. “It makes it easier to plug in and connect with people when I can talk about sports, which a lot of people are interested in”

During his final year at Aquinas Institute, Br. James Pierce completed a thesis that analyzes aspects of the Dominican Order and makes suggestions to further its members’ vocations.

“I want the Dominican Order to succeed in promoting vocations and enlivening the church,” he says.  “In order to do that, friars have to have a very strong understanding of their selves and their vocations.”

Br. James Pierce will have the opportunity to present his thesis to the newly founded Commission on the Cooperator Brother on the Order of Preachers.  

After his ordination, Br. James Pierce will begin his ministry as the Associate Pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Madison, Wisconsin. During his pastoral year in 2017-2018 he worked at the parish and its school.  He is excited to return and continue his ministry there.

“You would be stunned by the kinds of questions asked by fourth and fifth graders,” he said. “It is an exciting opportunity to cultivate their trust in the Catholic faith and in the Catholic Church. This is the time to sow those seeds and answer those questions.”

Part of the worldwide Order of Preachers, Aquinas Institute of Theology is a Catholic, Dominican-sponsored graduate school of theology offering multiple graduate degree and certificate programs on its campus in Midtown St. Louis, MO.