Seminary Life -- Recent News
Our Seminarians finished their Spiritual Year in mid-June. The Spiritual Year occurs off-campus -- it offers formation intentionally in a smaller community setting to provide a solid basis for the spiritual life and nurture greater self-awareness for personal growth.
Key goals of the Spiritual Year include the opportunity for the Seminarian to enter deeply into solitude so as to solidify his self-knowledge of his vocational calling, and to profoundly affect the Seminarian's interiority with the heart of Christ.
Utilizing all the dimensions of priestly formation -- human, intellectual, pastoral and spiritual -- this one-year program strives for a life experience which will allow the Seminarian to find God in all things. The stillness of the year -- freed from academic grades and including a media fast -- aims at fostering a monasticism of the heart to remain with the candidate through ordination and priestly life.
The year culminates with a 30-day retreat. The retreat leaders are pictured here with the Seminarians are: (from left to right) Father Ugo Naccarone, Father Earl Muller, Father Herbert Sperger and Father George Quickly.
Seven become new priests for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as families, friends share in joy
Standing with the class of 2019’s newly ordained priests are (front row from left) Bishop Timothy Senior, rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary; Archbishop Charles Chaput and Father Javier Santaballa, rector of Redemptoris Mater Seminary, the Philadelphia seminary for the Neocatechumenal Way; along with the new priests (middle, from left) Fathers Francesco D’Amico, Anthony Raymundo, Alessandro Giardini, Jonathan Rice (back, from left), David Buffum, David O’Brien and Alexander Pancoast. (Sarah Webb)
Dr. Jacqueline C. Rivers accepts a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Bishop Senior and Archbishop Chaput at the 182nd Concursus at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. Dr. Rivers has served as a lecturer at Harvard University and has presented at Princeton University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, the American Enterprise Institute, the Vatican, the United Nations and several other venues. Her latest publication, co-authored with Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson, appears in the volume The Cultural Matrix. She received her Ph.D., Master and undergraduate degrees from Harvard University. Dr. Rivers is also the Executive Director of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies.
Baccalaureate Mass, IV College celebrates on the steps of Saint Martin's Chapel
On Saturday, May 11th, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, ordained five men to the Transitional Diaconate at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Truly, it was a joyous occasion!
“The Transitional Diaconate Ordination represents an important step for the men and their families toward their Ordination to the Priesthood as it acts as the temporary state of men who intend to go on for the priesthood. Please join me in praying for not only these young men, but for all those men and women who are currently discerning a vocation in the priesthood, consecrated, and religious life, that the Holy Spirit may guide them with grace and truth.” +Archbishop Charles Chaput
2019 Priest Ordinandi with the Chalices they will use as priests.
A long-standing tradition dating back to the 19th Century, Clap-Out is a signature send off for Seminarians prior to their Ordination to Priesthood. Each Deacon rings the bell of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception for the last time. All of the seminarians, faculty and staff form a double line exiting the chapel and “Clap Out” each Deacon in celebration of their upcoming Ordination to the Priesthood. The joy and camaraderie are evident on the faces of the Ordinandi as well as all those assembled.
To view the 2019 Clap Out video, click here. Special thanks to Seminarians Zinjin Iglesia and Dominic Mirenda for the photos and video.
Deacon David Buffum
Deacon Francesco D'Amico
Deacon Guisseppe Esposito
Deacon Allesandro Giardini
Deacon Carson Kain
Deacon Sean Koehr
Deacon John Maria
Deacon David O'Brien
Deaon Alexander Pancoast
Deacon Noe Ramirez de Paz
Deacon Jonathan Rice
Deacon Anthony Raymundo
Deacon Joshua Weaver
Deacon Zachary Wehr
New Pipe Organ for Sacred Heart Chapel
The Seminary is pleased to announce the generous donation of a beautiful Pipe Organ! We are extremely grateful for the donation of a generous benefactor!
Built by Bennett & Giuttari (2004) of Rehoboth, MA, the instrument is of extraordinary quality of sight and sound. It features three individual ranks of wood flutes. The organ will primarily be used by the College Seminary in Sacred Heart Chapel, but can easily be used in St. Martin's and future locations. To see and hear the organ video click here.
Broad Street Run
Our Seminarians participated in the Broad Street Run. Prior to the race, Bishop Senior said Mass at the Church of the Holy Child, Our Lady of Hope Parish in Philadelphia which is near the starting line for the race. The soggy weather didn't dampen their enthusiasm! Special thanks to Cynthia Brown for providing brunch to the Seminary runners after the race.
Ministry of the Acolyte
On Saturday May 4th, Bishop Alfred Schlert of the Diocese of Allentown celebrated Mass in St. Martin's Chapel for the Institution of the Ministry of Acolyte. 2nd Theology seminarians and candidates for Permanent Diaconate were installed. "The acolyte is instituted for service at the altar and to assist the Priest and Deacon. It is his place principally to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if necessary, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful as an extraordinary minister." (USCCB - https://bit.ly/2jlVry4)
Recently, many of our alumni celebrated their Jubilee. See photos from the Class of 1994 (25 years) pictured with former faculty member Reverend Richard Malone and the Class of 1969 (50 years) pictured with Archbishop Chaput.
Upper Side vs Lower Side Soccer Game
Every Spring the seminary hosts an “Upperside vs. Lowerside Soccer Game,” where the college seminarians compete against the theology seminarians. This year’s win went to the Upperside! Please keep our seminarians in your prayers as they finish up their last week of classes and prepare for final exams.
Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity
19 of our seminarians that are soon to be ordained deacons and priests made their Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity before the entire seminary community. Please pray for these upcoming transitional deacons and priests!
Hispanic Family Day
The Vocation Office for Diocesan Priesthood of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia celebrated Hispanic Family Day at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary on Sunday, April 7th 12:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. for high school aged young men and their families. Most Reverend Edward M. Deliman, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, was the principal celebrant and homilist at the Hispanic Family Day Mass at Saint Martin of Tours Chapel. Mass was celebrated in Spanish. A soccer game was held in the fields surrounding the chapel after lunch between the Seminary soccer team and participants. Food and beverages were available in the Seminary’s refectory. Tours of the Seminary were offered to all families attending. The day concluded with Evening Vespers at 5:00 p.m. with the entire Seminary community. Vespers were led by Bishop Timothy C. Senior, Rector of Saint Charles Seminary.
On Sunday, April 7, Monsignor Fairbanks and Father Kane led a group of Seminarians who participated in an Interfaith Seder Dinner at St. Joseph University's Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations.
The event was co-sponsored by: The Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph's University, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, AJC (the American Jewish Committee), Main Line Reform Temple Beth Elohim, and SJU's Interfaith Task Force
On Saturday, April 6, the Seminary’s Italian Club — led by Louis Monica (Third Theology, Archdiocese of Philadelphia) — went to New York City to see a performance of Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera. First they had Mass at the National Shrine of Saint Frances Cabrini. After lunch they saw the opera. Then they ate dinner at the Italian restaurant Pappardella’s.
Cassock Classic -- Saturday, April 6, 2019
The Cassock Classic Ultimate Frisbee tournament featured co-ed players from Archdiocese of Philadelphia, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Temple University Newman Center, Catholic Young Adults of Chester County, CYACC Metanoia Young Adults, WCU Catholic Newman Center, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Center for Young Adults, and @HarrisburgYoungAdultCatholics.
Theology on Tap
Father Tim Danaher, O.P., Parochial Vicar, Saint Patrick's Parish, Rittenhouse Square gave a Lenten Presentation on the five wounds of Christ. The event was open to adults ages 21-35 and featured live music and refreshments on tap.
Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form
Mary pondered everything in her heart, and she always pressed on... She says to you and me, 'Press on. Press on in your life of prayer. Press on in your discernment. Press on in your discipleship.'" - Fr. Dennis Carbonaro
For the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Fr. Dennis Carbonaro, Spiritual Director of the College Division, celebrated a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form with Rev. Mr. Alessandro Giardini (Philadelphia) serving as Deacon and Rev. Mr. Zachary Wehr (Allentown) serving as Subdeacon. St Charles Borromeo Seminary Sacred Music, led by Dr. Nathan Knutson, provided beautiful sacred music.
Our Lady of the Annunciation - pray for us!
In March, our collegiate seminarians put on an in-house talent show. Music, comedy, and monologues were just a few of the acts performed. It's wonderful to see the flourishing of our seminarian's passions and talents. Truly the night was filled with laughter and great joy. Please continue to pray for them and for the Holy Spirit to always guide Christ-centered fraternity within our seminary.
Bishop Luis R. Zarama of the Diocese of Raleigh, NC celebrated Mass in our Immaculate Conception Chapel Wednesday night. Following Mass, Bishop joined us for our weekly community Rector’s Dinner. He is pictured here with his diocesan seminarians studying at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. This was Bishop Zarama’s first visit to the seminary as Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh.
Man Up Philly -- This year’s attendance was approximately 1,500 men, according to Eustace Mita, who has been Man Up chairman from the very beginning. Bishop Timothy Senior, the rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, bookended the day by leading Morning Prayer and celebrating a concluding Mass in the afternoon. Many seminarians attended the conference.
“In a time of trouble, Man Up Philly stands out as a unique celebration of faith in God’s goodness,” Bishop Senior noted, “and a rededication in his name to family values, community service and respect for all life.”
Also attending and speaking was Father Stephen DeLacy, director of the Vocation Office for Diocesan Priesthood, and Deacon Michael Pascarella of the Department of Permanent Deacons, both taking advantage of a conference that can clearly be a source of religious vocations. By a show of hands there definitely were men willing to man up in that respect.
But of course most who came were just there to renew their commitment to the Lord and get a bit of encouragement along the journey. Read the story from Catholic Philly, here.
Ash Wednesday is one of the most important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.
On March 5, Cynthia A. Brown, a Lady of Peter Claver donated more than 250 baked muffins from Sweet Jazmine's Pastery Shop to the seminarians, faculty and staff at Saint Charles Seminary to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Pictured with Ms. Brown are Rector Bishop Timothy Senior (Fourth Degree Claver), Trustee Jerry Davis, Deans of Men Father Szparagowski and Father Kane along with Seminarians Adam Klukiewski, Nikolai Bresinski and Aaron Schiedel. Ms. Brown is a devoted and generous supporter of Saint Charles Seminary where she works closely with existing Seminarians while also encouraging new vocations.
The first Sunday in March is Multi-Cultural Sunday. Each class of Seminarians makes a visit to a different parish/ethnic group in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to experience their worship and culture. Pictured here are students from College III with Fr. Bill Waters, pastor, St. Augustine Church, Old City, Philadelphia with members of his parish from the Filipino community. They provided lunch for the seminarians after Mass that morning.
Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, VA celebrated Mass in our Immaculate Conception Chapel in February. Bishop Burbidge was joined by the Diocese of Arlington’s Director for the Office of Vocations, Fr. Michael Isenberg. Following Mass, our guests joined us for our weekly community Rector’s Dinner. They are pictured here with their diocesan seminarians studying at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Bishop Burbidge is a previous Rector of St. Charles Borromeo and former Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
In February, a group of Seminarians took advantage of Rector's Weekend to travel to Mount Snow in Vermont. There they went skiing and snowboarding. Bishop Senior and Father Kane joined the ski trip and celebrated Mass.
Bishop Edward Malesic of Greensburg, PA celebrated Mass in our Immaculate Conception Chapel in February. Bishop Malesic was joined by the Diocese of Greensburg’s Director for the Office for Priestly Vocations, Fr. Tyler Bandura. Following Mass, our guests joined us for our weekly community Rector’s Dinner hosted by Bishop Senior. They are pictured here with their diocesan seminarian studying at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
Following Mass Father Stephen Grozio, C.M. Provincial of the Eastern Province, Congregation of the Mission joined Bishop Senior and our Vincentian seminarians for Rector's Dinner in February 2019.
St. John Vianney's Incorruptable Heart
(Minor edits were made to the story below which first appeared in Catholic Philly).
St. Charles Seminary was a stop on the tour of the relic of St. John Vianney’s incorrupt heart, encased in a glass and gold reliquary, in early February 2019.
St. John, also known as the cure d’Ars, was a 19th century French parish priest known for his generosity administering the sacrament of penance in his parish town of Ars, often hearing confessions for 12 hours a day. He died in 1859 and was canonized in 1925. He is the patron saint of parish priests.
The tour of the relic is titled “Heart of a Priest,” alluding to the saintly model of St. John for today’s priests and to the relic of his heart that appears to have resisted natural decay for 160 years.
In Catholic tradition relics are venerated as objects recognizing how God’s grace has effected holiness in a person. Neither the saint nor the relic are to be worshiped, which is reserved for God alone. A major or first-class relic such as a bone fragment or other part of a saint’s body is regarded by the faithful as a sign of the saint’s holiness and God’s action in his or her life.
The relic of St. John Vianney first arrived in Philadelphia for a two-day program of prayer and study at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary — the locus of priestly formation in the archdiocese for 187 years.
Seminarians and priests prayed the Divine Office, heard a conference by a theologian and prayed in a holy hour. On Saturday, confessions were heard, seminary rector Bishop Timothy Senior celebrated Mass for the seminary community and another conference took place before Knights of Columbus, who sponsored the tour, transported the relic to the cathedral in Philadelphia.
Cardinal Foley Chair Lecture
In late January, the John Cardinal Foley Chair lecture featured a top-notch talk to our Seminarians and the general public by Kim Daniels, embodying the communication ideals of John Cardinal Foley: dignity, candor, and positivity. She is the Associate Director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University. She spoke on the topic From Anger to Renewal: Communications and the Crisis in the Church.
Our semniarians traveled to the Mundelein Seminary basketball tournament in Chicago this January. They ended the tournament with 2 wins and 1 loss.
Testimony from Deacon Josh Weaver:
“Even better than competing against seminaries from across the country was having the opportunity to meet those seminarians and grow closer to the St. Charles Borromeo guys I travelled with. It’s so refreshing to see so many talented, genuinely good, and holy men discerning God’s call to the priesthood at our own seminary and at seminaries across the country! Plus, it’s always an added bonus when you’re able to win a couple games too!”
Martin Luther King Day of Service
On St. Charles of Borromeo's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service all of our seminarians served at various locations throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia working with various religious orders, those in poverty, the ill and handicapped, and even on our own seminary campus. As always, their days began with prayer and Mass in preparation of bringing the light and love of Jesus Christ to those they encounter through service.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
March For Life
Seminarians, faculty and staff proudly participated in the March for Life 2019 in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Jan. 18. Pictured here are Bishop Senior, Rector; Louis Monica (Third Theology, Archdiocese of Philadelphia) and Declan Cole (Second College, Archdiocese of Philadelphia) as they were interviewed for Relevant Radio.
Holy Land Trip
In January 2019, Msgr. Magee, Deacon Alessandro Giardini, and the deacon class visit the site of the Upper Room where the Lord celebrated the Last Supper.
St. Charles Borromeo Seminarians attended SEEK2019 in Indianapolis presented by FOCUS-The Fellowship of Catholic University Students.
Holy Land Trip
St. Charles Borromeo Semninary Deacons went to the Church of the Pater Noster in Jerusalem in January 2019
St. Charles Borromeo Seminary's Deacons prayed before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in January 2019.
St. Charles Seminary's Deacon class in front of the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. The group renewed their baptismal promises here in January 2019.
In January 2019, St. Charles Seminary Deacons at Caesarea Maritima in the Holy Land.
Seminarians gather as they embark on a trip to #SEEK2019 a Catholic conference hosted by FOCUS-The Fellowship of Catholic University Students in Indianapolis in January.
Seven members of St. Charles Seminary Deacon Class are in Israel in January 2019 for St. Charles Borromeo Seminary's annual trip to the Holy Land. It is subsidized by the Priest Alumni Association. Father Chylinski leads it, and Msgr. Magee and Fr. Shenosky are with the group. The deacons are seen here at the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter.
March 2018 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!
Want to keep track of what’s happening at the seminary? Follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SCSeminary/), Twitter (@StCharlesSem), and Instagram (stcharlessem).
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.