"Flocking to seminaries"


#1

St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park sees increase in number of prospective new priests

Full article...


#2

That is good to hear. Thank you for sharing the article.


#3

Excellent news. Thanks for posting it. :slight_smile:


#4

I'm not too familiar with the Church on the West Coast. But in the east we are seeing large numbers of diocesan seminarians and candidates to medicant communities of brothers.

St. Vincent de Paul Reigional Seminary in FL is full

Mt. St. Mary's in MD is full

Boston is full

St. Joseph in NY is full

Denver is up, don't know if it's full

Then there are the brothers:

Franciscans of the Renewal
Franciscans of the Primitive Observance
Franciscans of Life
Franciscans of the Eucharist
Franciscans of Peace
Missionaries of the Poor
Poor Friars

Then there are some clerical orders that are doing well:

Franciscans of the Eternal Word
Dominican Friars
Franciscans of the Immaculate

The diocesan seminaries face a greater challenge, because they are usually regional seminaries You may have room for 125 guys, but you cover three or four states. You have to keep an eye on the numbers to decide if you need to build or to expand your current facilities. That would be a good problem to have.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#5

[quote="JReducation, post:4, topic:207629"]
Boston is full

[/quote]

I can believe that Brother. As I was applying to seminary, I heard a lot from the vocation director about how much work they seem to be getting recently. This is good, since this year we had the lowest amount of ordinations in the 200 year history of our diocese. It was only three. Now they have many candidates, and the vocation office seems to be slaving away because of this. Poor guys.


#6

Deo gratias.


#7

[quote="Biedrik, post:5, topic:207629"]
I can believe that Brother. As I was applying to seminary, I heard a lot from the vocation director about how much work they seem to be getting recently. This is good, since this year we had the lowest amount of ordinations in the 200 year history of our diocese. It was only three. Now they have many candidates, and the vocation office seems to be slaving away because of this. Poor guys.

[/quote]

I believe that Boston is a regional seminary. Correct me if I'm wrong. They train guys from many dioceses. When you have a regional seminary you can have a full house, but not all from any one diocese. I'm in Miami and we have a full house. But other dioceses are getting more men that the host diocese. Our diocesan seminary is also a regional.

I also know this about Boston. Between them and NY they have the largest number of vocations to the Franciscan brothers in the country. They have Franciscans from many different branches of the family. Most of them are going to get Master's and Doctorates in theology, but will never be ordained, because they are destined for street minsitry, soup kitchens, shelters, AIDS hospices, pregnancy centers, social justice ministries, work with immigrants, retreats, spiritual direction, street preaching, and many non parish ministries. When the vocation director speaks about his work, part of his job is sorting out these guys and helping them discern where they belong, either in the secular priesthood or a religious order. They get a lot of requests for men who are interested in religious life, but not in the priesthood. I believe that's because of the very strong presence of friars in the Boston area. But it's work for the dicocesan vocation director who is the person who helps guys with discernment. He usually helps women too.

Hope that helps.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#8

That's good to hear. Hopefully some of them hear the call to become an Army Chaplain. I was in the Army from May of '05 to June of '09 and one thing the Army is short on is Catholic Chaplains.

In Iraq, there is usually only one or two Catholic priests and they travel throughout the country the whole time they are there just to reach as many soldiers as they can.

On my post in Germany, we had one Catholic Chaplain who was in the Reserves and called to active duty to serve on the post chapel but he left soon after I got there and was replaced by a retired civilian priest.


#9

[quote="JReducation, post:7, topic:207629"]
I believe that Boston is a regional seminary. Correct me if I'm wrong. They train guys from many dioceses. When you have a regional seminary you can have a full house, but not all from any one diocese. I'm in Miami and we have a full house. But other dioceses are getting more men that the host diocese. Our diocesan seminary is also a regional.

I also know this about Boston. Between them and NY they have the largest number of vocations to the Franciscan brothers in the country. They have Franciscans from many different branches of the family. Most of them are going to get Master's and Doctorates in theology, but will never be ordained, because they are destined for street minsitry, soup kitchens, shelters, AIDS hospices, pregnancy centers, social justice ministries, work with immigrants, retreats, spiritual direction, street preaching, and many non parish ministries. When the vocation director speaks about his work, part of his job is sorting out these guys and helping them discern where they belong, either in the secular priesthood or a religious order. They get a lot of requests for men who are interested in religious life, but not in the priesthood. I believe that's because of the very strong presence of friars in the Boston area. But it's work for the dicocesan vocation director who is the person who helps guys with discernment. He usually helps women too.

Hope that helps.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

Well there are two main seminaries who I believe train priests from all over. There is St. Johns Seminary, which trains men who are under the age of thirty. Men who are thirty or older go to Blessed John XXIII Seminary. The diocese itself sends men to Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Rhode Island if the seminarians need to go to college seminary first. I am one such person. There is also one more smaller seminary in the area, run by a congregation called the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. They are a wonderful group of priests, but their seminary is small and run for training only seminarians who will be joining their congregation. Still, our own diocese is actually starting to fill in a bit of space in the seminaries. Seems the year of the priest actually worked, which is good. The lack of priests has not had a healthy effect on the diocese.

And I was not aware that we had so many Franciscans. I knew there were some around (I recall some living in Roxbury, the poorest part of Boston), but I had no idea that our area was such a big fountain of Franciscan vocations. This does seem to fit rather well with the fact that our bishop is a Franciscan, as you well know.


#10

[quote="Biedrik, post:9, topic:207629"]

And I was not aware that we had so many Franciscans. I knew there were some around (I recall some living in Roxbury, the poorest part of Boston), but I had no idea that our area was such a big fountain of Franciscan vocations. This does seem to fit rather well with the fact that our bishop is a Franciscan, as you well know.

[/quote]

I think you guys are doing well up there. You're may not be getting the hundreds of canidates for the diocese, but you're putting out many male religious. I believe that Boston is a fertile ground for Franciscans because of your long history of Italians, Portuguese and now Hispanic Catholics, all of whom have had long Franciscan histories in their homelands and strong Franciscan devotions.

Having a Capuchin Brother for a bishop is certainly a good thing for the Franciscan spirit in that area. I don't doubt for a moment that it's part of God's eternal plan for your diocese. What I mean is that, long before anyone ever thought about it, it was in his eternal plan to send you a different kind of bishop, a brother, not only a spiritual brother, but in this case, a religiuos brother.

The Capuchin Franciscans have a long tradition of consecrated brothers. This goes beyond a group of ordained men who belong to one family and feel a sense of brotherhood by virtue of their common calling and common founder. It goes deeper than that. When Francis of Assisi founded our order, it was the first order in the Church not to have the priest/brother distinction. He himself was a layman when he founded our order in 1209. He was ordained a deacon many years later. But by that time, the order had been established as an order of religious brothers with thousands of them.

What does this mean for you guys? You have a bishop that comes from a non-clerical tradition. He comes from a tradition where all the brothers are equal, with equal rights, equal duties, and the same vocation, to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in obedience. It makes no difference to us whether you are an ordained brother or a lay brother. You're a consecrated Franciscan, and you're always our brother. Together, we have been called to obedience in all things.

Based on that call to obedience, Francis led his brothers to embrace poverty. For he took very seriously Christ's call, "take nothing for your journey." Franciscan chastity is also rooted in obedience. Our Holy Father heard the words, "Unless a man leave father, mother . . . and follows me he is not fit for the kingdom of heaven." So the brothers embraced chastity, not as negative (don't get married), but as a positive, "make yourselves fit for the kingdom of heaven by embracing each other as brothers given to you by the Holy Spirit. For if we love our brothers according to the flesh, how much more so should we love our brothers according to the spirit." Therefore, our Holy Father challenged the brothers to a live of chivalry in communion with each other.

What did you inherit? You inherited a bishop who is not a member of a privileged class of religious. Instead, you inherited a bishop who comes from a religious family where being a cleric means that you are at the service of your brothers and that you go out with them to proclaim the Gospel, each according to his gifts, but without ranking among them.

In addition, you have a bishop who comes from a religious family that has always had a strong love for priests. It was an order of our Holy Father Francis that if we encountered the most sinful and vile priest and the greatest and most beautiful archangel, we should first honor and venerate the priest. Because only he could provide for us the visible presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist and only he would be able to absolve us from our sins. While we never had the priest-brother distinction among us, we have always had a love for priests, including those who are our brothers. The sins of the priest have never obscured our view of the priesthood.

What you get in your diocese is a brother with a very Franciscan vision of the priesthood. He sees priests as mediators of grace, as did Francis before us. He sees the bishop as the successor of the Apostles. He is bound, by our rule and tradition to live up to the demands of the priestly ministry: the mediator of grace and the successor of the Apostle. He is not your shepherd just because he has been ordained and canonically installed, but there is more to him. He is your shepherd out of humble obedience that every brother has to St. Francis, reverence for the Sacrament of Holy Orders: deacon, presbyter and bishop and reverence for the Eucharist.

Finally, the rule is very explicit. Those brothers who are ordained are to be the most humble, avoiding the foolishness of a worldly clericalism that rose out of a world when the priesthood was used as a sign of power, rather than a sign of holiness. I know that your bishop takes his vocation to be a faithful Franciscan brother, very seriously. He has been my friend since 1972. We lived and served together for several years in Washington, DC, among the poorest of the poor. He was one of the people who inspired the motion to move into the area of the Gospel of Life with full force. My branch of the Franciscan family got its first words of encouragement from Sean Patrick. There were many inspirations: M. Teresa, Friar Maximilian Kolbe, Ven. John Paul II, and of course, our Holy Father Francis. But it was Sean, who unknown to him, said the right word that encouraged the new foundation. To this day, I think that he is unaware of it. Sometimes, we do or say something not knowing that it is the Holy Spirit speakng what another needs to hear.

Take his example of prayer, simplicity, nobility, and fidelity to whatever God has called you to do. You don't have to be a Franciscan. You have to be faithful.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#11

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