Aquinas Institute to honor CHA theologian for impactful preaching

October 1, 2019


St. Louis-based Aquinas Institute of Theology will award one of its two annual Great Preacher Awards to CHA theologian Fr. Charles Bouchard, OP The Dominican priest joined CHA in 2015 and is the association's senior director of theology and sponsorship. He and Fr. Craig Holway, who is pastor of St. Louis' St. Joan of Arc Parish, will receive the Great Preacher Award at a Nov. 7 event that will include preaching, prayer and dinner.

Aquinas Institute
Fr. Charles Bouchard, OP, administers Holy Communion to Dominican student friars at St. Dominic Priory in St. Louis. Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis is honoring Fr. Bouchard for his exemplary preaching. Jerry Naunheim Jr./© CHA

Fr. Mark Wedig, OP, Aquinas Institute president, says Fr. Bouchard "really embodies what this award is all about" — which is celebrating preachers who proclaim, in word and deed, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the coming and presence of the reign of God. Fr. Wedig says Fr. Bouchard "has a wonderful way" of bridging Christian tradition and the Gospel to today's age."

Frs. Wedig and Bouchard both are priests of the Order of Preachers, established by St. Dominic de Guzman in 1216 in Europe. Fr. Wedig explains that to Dominicans, preaching is not just about the time spent delivering homilies at Sunday Mass. "It's about instruction, and understanding, and helping people appreciate their faith and gain an understanding of how the word of God enters into all we do as Christians."

The Dominicans established a presence in the U.S. in the 1800s. They founded the Aquinas Institute in 1926 in River Forest, Ill., moving it to St. Louis in 1979. Today, the institute has a dual purpose of preparing Dominican student brothers for ordination in the priesthood and preparing both clergy and laity for careers in Christian ministry.

Fr. Bouchard was ordained in 1979 and earned a doctorate in moral theology from the Catholic University of America in 1987. He was Aquinas Institute president and associate professor of moral theology for 18 years. He was vice president for theological education at Ascension Health from 2008 to 2011 and then was provincial of the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great from 2011 to 2015.

Fr. Michael Mascari, OP, academic dean of Aquinas, says that in his every role, Fr. Bouchard has made preaching central to his ministry.

Fr. Bouchard says in his preaching he aims to relate the Gospel to people's lives to help the faithful reflect on their experiences in the context of the Catholic faith.

He says the greatest reward of preaching "is if it changes someone's life, even if just a little bit," for the better.


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