Seminary Life -- Recent News
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.
(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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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 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.