August 24, 2021
Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle
Our seminarians returned last week, and after a day of spiritual retreat, a day of orientation, and three days of camping (this year to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve), they are eager to begin another year of formation and discernment.
Today I had the joy of celebrating a Mass to mark the opening of the new Academic Year. This year the inaugural coincided with the liturgical feast of St. Bartholomew the Apostle. So, we entrusted to St. Bartholomew’s intercession this year: may he who knew Christ and knew that Jesus knew him (John 1:48-49) help us do the same.
The opening of the Academic Year offers us an opportunity to express our gratitude to sending Bishops, vocation directors, and religious superiors for entrusting to us the formation of their future priests. It also is an opportunity to welcome our new seminarians, especially the large group of 24 new members of our spirituality year. We also greeted some new faculty: Fr. Jose Noriega, djcm, Fr. Israel Perez-Lopez, Fr. Daniel Maloney, Scott Elmer, John Bishop, and Scott Powell, who in accord with Canon Law, expressed their readiness to serve the Church by making a profession of faith and an Oath of Fidelity. Finally, we introduced some new staff; Jerry Swain, Patty Lunder, and Vanesa Garcia.
The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak continues to affect us all. However, we intend to promote a positive view of this period as an opportunity for growth and not of fear or anxiety. Two sayings of St. Paul come to mind “all things work for good” (Romans 8:28), and “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Therefore, we look to maximize in-person learning and formation while ensuring that the physical, spiritual, and mental health and safety of our seminarians, faculty, and staff are at the center of our decisions.
Some have asked me about our vaccination guidelines. I believe that receiving a Covid-19 vaccine is morally good. Indeed, it can be viewed as an act of charity to stop the pandemic, promote the common good and protect the weakest and most exposed. I invite all of you to review what the Holy See and the US Bishops have said about the reception of a Covid-19 vaccine. Throughout the pandemic, we have cooperated and supported the various secular authorities in their effort to keep all safe during these challenging times, and we will continue to do so.
However, I recognize that whether or not to be inoculated is a personal healthcare decision. I encourage all Faculty, Staff, Volunteers, and Seminarians to prayerfully consider receiving the vaccine if they have not done so already. Anyone who decides not to receive a vaccine should remember they are particularly obligated in conscience to protect the health of those around them.
I want to thank all our benefactors for your generous and continued support of our mission to form good priests for the future of the Church. We couldn’t fulfill this vital mission of the Church without your help!
During this time, we will be praying for all of you for God’s protection and intercession.
Fr. Daniel Leonard Ph.D., STL
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.