Seminary Life -- Recent News
March started off with St. Charles welcoming Bishop James Conley to visit. Along with participating on the board of trustees, Bishop Conley presided over our First Friday Holy Hour with Deacon Sheron Fernando preaching.
The month was bookended by substantial Nor’easter snow storms. While trees fell all throughout campus, everyone stayed safe and enjoyed two snow days. Some seminarians even took advantage of the fallen trees to do some exercise.
On March 17, Catholic apologist Tim Staples, a graduate of the College Division, came and gave a series of talks on Mary and evangelization for the 25th annual St. Charles’ Marian Day.
The next day Fr. Larry Kozak led a day of recollection, reflecting on Jesus’ question to James and John, “Can you drink from the cup?”
The next week, the theologians held a casino night fundraiser and raised over $1,500 for the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Noe Ramirez de Paz of the Diocese of Raleigh took his oath of fidelity, preparing to be ordained a deacon on Divine Mercy Sunday.
In April, St. Charles Borromeo will host Theology on Tap on Friday April 20th at 7:00pm. All adults above 21 years of age are welcome to attend!
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While the seminarians gradually made their way back into a normal routine in late January, seminary life was in full swing in February. Led by Fr. Chylinski, the community hosted its first "1st Friday Holy Hour" of the semester in the Immaculate Conception Chapel.
That Sunday, the faculty and students gathered to watch the Super Bowl. When the Eagles' victory was certain, the bells of the Immaculate Conception Chapel could be heard ringing throughout the neighborhood.
Along with several of the schools in the Archdiocese, seminarians were excused from their typical Field Education schedule that following Thursday in order to attend the Super Bowl Parade. Thankfully all the seminarians that attended the parade returned home safely to Mother Overbrook.
The next weekend seminarians ventured off on an abbreviated "Rector's Weekend." These weekends allow the seminarians to leave campus for a couple nights and take short trips if they wish. When the students returned, both the college and theology divisions hosted Marti Gras parties and a combined college and theology Ash Wednesday Mass was celebrated the next day.
While the seminarians and faculty carried out various Lenten penances and observances, the spirit of the house was not completely somber. The month was bookended with the visits of Bishops Mulverde of Corpus Cristi, Texas, and James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska. The community joyfully welcomed these two bishops and appreciated the Masses celebrated by both bishops.
While the third Theologians committed their final days of Christmas break to stud for their oral examinations in order to obtain their Masters of Divinity, the rest of the seminarians went out to various retreat centers throughout the archdiocese and embarked on a five day silent retreat.
During the Christmas break, six transitional deacons accompanied Fr. Keith Chylinski, Fr. Brian Kane, and about 20 others on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The transitional deacons were offered a reduced price, compliments of the generosity of donors. It was a tremendous opportunity for the men to prepare for ordination to the priesthood. Highlights of the trip included time at the Sea of Galilee, Mass in Nazareth, recalling the Baptism of the Lord at the Jordan River, and the Way of the Cross through Jerusalem, culminating at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The pilgrims did have some time to relax, though, enjoying St. Peter’s fish in Tiberias and floating (literally!) in the Dead Sea. The priests, deacons, and lay pilgrims all left with new friends, a lifetime of memories, and moments of encounter with the Lord in his native land. (Pictured below are St. Charles faculty and transitional deacons on the road to Emmaus and by the Sea of Galilee.)
On January 19, the entire community traveled to Washington D.C. for the 45th annual March for Life. On the morning of the march, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia hosted the 10:00am Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Archbishop Charles Chaput celebrated the Mass, accompanied by Deacon Brandon Artman, who beautifully chanted the Gospel.
On January 26, Fr. Brian Kane led thirteen seminarians to Mundelein, Chicago for the 16th Annual Fr. Pat O’Malley Basketball Tournament. Sixteen seminaries from around the country competed, and the games were live streamed. Back at Mother Overbrook, the seminary held a watch party. While St. Charles did not bring home a trophy, the men competed well under the dual-leadership of Josh Weaver (Theology 3 – Diocese of Harrisburg) and John de Guzman (College 4 – Diocese of Raleigh). Weaver expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming support of the benefactors and seminary community who made the trip possible. Fr. Brian Kane added that intra-seminary tournaments are great platforms for fraternity among seminarians across the nation.
While January was full of exciting events, the highlight was the St. Charles community welcoming Bishop Robert Barron as a speaker for the Cardinal Foley Lecture Series. The creator of Word on Fire, Bishop Barron stirred the evangelical spirit of seminarians, faculty, and over 500 other attendees. He offered twelve points of reflection on evangelization, challenging the seminarians to explore the possible inspirations they may receive in order to be catalysts of creative evangelical efforts.