May 1st, 2020
Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker
Dear SJV Community,
In these unprecedented times, I have witnessed more than ever how our SJV community is a real family of faith that cares and supports each other. As the academic year ends, I want to express my appreciation and gratitude.
To God: We all know that successfully finishing the academic year would not be possible without God’s loving grace. As the letter of James says: “all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” We thank the Lord for his protection of our Seminary during these dark and stormy months. On behalf of all the SJV community, I also express our filial gratitude to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whose intercession we expressly entrusted this period.
To Archbishop Aquila and the Board of SJV: We thank you for your guidance, counsel, and support through this time. We are all especially grateful for your care in organizing our partnering with the Catholic Medical Association. A special thanks to Dr. Arthur Burroughs.
To our seminarians: I know these times have been trying for you. I have lightheartedly called this period our monastic months, a new addition to our formation program! I have been impressed by your fortitude, resilience, and good spirits. I believe that the experience of staying with your house community has been an opportunity for you to get to know each other better. Celebrating the Holy Triduum in small communities has been a significant source of spiritual graces. Indeed, one of the exceptional privileges has been the continued access to the sacraments and finding the importance of our ministry of prayer. Your apostolate of calling priests and laity touched many lives. There have been some life-changing lessons for you all.
To the faculty and staff: I want to thank you all for your hard work and dedication in these challenging times. I was amazed how so quickly and smoothly, we changed from being a traditional classroom teaching faculty to going to online instruction. The seminarians were very appreciative of your flexibility in modifying the curriculum and extend deadlines. I am grateful to the administrative staff for keeping everything going in the era of “social distancing.” Special thanks to our spiritual directors, confessors, our psychologists, and of the staff of the Cardinal Stafford Library. Keeping our seminarians here would not have been possible without the energy and effort of our Kitchen Staff. Thank you!
To the House Fathers: I also would like to express my gratitude to the House Fathers, who, with a great spirit of sacrifice, closely accompanied the men in these difficult times. You were the first, with hearts of the Good Shepherd, to support the proposal to keep the seminarians here.
To our benefactors: Thank you for your generous and continued support of our mission to form good priests for the future of the Church. Be assured our seminarians will remember you in gratitude and prayer.
A look to the future.
Some of the difficulties and uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic will stay with us for the next academic year. It seems inevitable that we will have to continue to “adjust our sails.” I am confident that you will all face any new challenge with the same strength and commitment that you have shown in this period.
I wish you all a blessed and fruitful summer. May Our Lord continue to protect you and keep you safe!
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Daniel Leonard, Ph.D. STL
Rector, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary
P.S. We invite you to view. via livestream, the Ordination of Priests for the Archdiocese of Denver.
This Act of Entrustment to Our Lady was written by Fr. Gary Selin for the seminarians. The prayer is inspired by the prayer of Pope Francis to Our Lady, Salvation of the Roman People. At the end of the prayer is an English translation of the Sub Tuum, which is the most ancient Marian prayer outside of Sacred Scripture.
Act of Entrustment to Our Blessed Mother Mary
O Blessed Virgin Mary, our loving Mother,
you bring joy to us in sorrow, and light in times of darkness.
We seek to console your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart
for those who are suffering today from the coronavirus,
and for those who have died and their grieving families.
You are the patroness of our seminary life,
And you know what we need to become holy.
We are confident that you will provide for us,
as you did in Cana at Galilee,
so that we may remain in peace
during this time of suffering
and grow closer to your Son Jesus.
On this day we entrust ourselves to you.
As a sign of our filial confidence
in your protection of ourselves
and our families from the coronavirus,
we will honor you in a special way at our seminary,
when we are able once again to unite as a community.
Most of all, we ask you to help us grow in holiness,
and to protect us from the spiritual virus of sin,
which brings weakness and even death to the soul.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to do the Father’s will by obeying Jesus,
your Son and our Savior,
Who has died for our sins,
and opened for us the gates of eternal life.
Under your protection, we seek refuge,
Holy Mother of God.
Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial,
but deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.