This weekend, we had a few college-aged visitors up at St. Mark Seminary. It was a “come and see” weekend for them. They followed the seminary weekend schedule of meals, prayer, and conferences. There was Eucharistic Adoration and the Mass. When discerning, it is a good idea to visit the seminary. Meeting the seminarians, the seminary faculty, seeing the seminary building, and living the seminary routine, are all key aspects of making an informed decision. If you are ever interested in visiting the seminary, or shadowing a seminarian for a day, please call the vocations office. We would be happy to arrange a visit for you.
I continue to be impressed with the caliber of the seminarians that we have for our Diocese. We have 16 seminarians in our 8-year program of studies. Maybe you have seen them on the seminary poster? You can find the poster in your parish office, church, or school. 12 of those men are obtaining college degrees or finishing introductory seminary studies at St. Mark’s and Gannon University. 4 of our men , having already been through St. Mark’s, are studying outside of the Diocese at Major Seminary. One of those men, Brandon Kleckner, will be ordained a transitional Deacon on April 30th. He is from Sacred Heart, Erie, and studying at St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, PA. Another of our men, Deacon Jason Feigh, will be ordained a Priest on June 10th, and coming to a parish near you! He is finishing his studies at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, hailing from St. Basil Parish in Coalport.
Our seminarians impress me because they are sincere, and eager to do God’s will. It takes a lot of faith to set aside a few years of life, entering into the structured discernment of the seminary. It takes a lot of faith to be open to becoming a priest. There is much sacrifice involved, and it is not so easy to be ordained man in our cultural moment. However, these men, many of them only 19, 20, and 21 years old, are undaunted. They pray early in the morning and late at night in the Presence of the Eucharist. They pray the Rosary. They study hard. They stay sharp at those Friday evening Masses and Saturday morning formation conferences! And they also have a lot of fun and enjoy each other’s company as well.
They love the Church and they love their Catholic faith. They trust in God’s plan and His call for their lives. They are not scared to carry the Cross. They await the gifts of peace and joy that the Savior will give to those who are obedient to the Father’s will. Not all of them will become priests. But all of them are an inspiration to us to be faithful and open to God’s will. I am thankful for our seminarians in formation, and I pray that God will send more men to the seminary like them!
Please take a look at these links:
www.JP2Journey.com – a look back at when the Diocese of Erie took 500 young people to Toronto to see Pope John Paul II at World Youth Day 2002.
Fr. Steve’s Youth Blog – get information on the upcoming Middle High School Youth Rally in Warren on Sunday, April 10th.