Greetings from St. John Vianney! On behalf of our rector, Fr. Daniel Leonard, I’m grateful to begin our new e-newsletter, which will arrive in your inbox at the beginning of each month. Our hope to connect our family, friends and benefactors more directly with the life of our seminary.
Like so many others, we were grateful to begin the 2022-23 academic year with the normalcy of the pre-pandemic days. Our 86 men in formation have been flourishing, as they continue down the path of formation. Last week, seven men were ordained to the transitional diaconate. We’ll have more on that next month, but for now, check out the article by the Denver Catholic.
After three years as a formator and professor of theology, I was honored by the Archbishop’s assignment to assume the additional role of vice-rector. Thanks for Fr. Leonard’s patience and the fine work done by my predecessor, Fr. Jason Wallace, it has been a “relatively smooth” transition. What does a vice-rector do? People ask. I tell them: “Make sure the men are fed and that the trains are running on-time.” Our faculty and staff here are exceptional and have done a fine job carrying the newly minted vice-rector.
Last June, the Bishops of the United States issued a new Program for Priestly Formation. This document is the foundation for all priestly formation in our country, as it is a particular adoption of the Ratio Fundamentalis, the one from the Vatican that governs all seminaries in the world. With it comes a number of changes and new dimensions to implement. It offers a deep vision of priestly life and I’m excited to be working with our formation team and staff for its implementation. I look forward to sharing more in the months to come.
Wishing you all a blessed Lent!
MUNDELEIN BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
I write to you having just returned from a seminary wide basketball tournament hosted by Mundelein Seminary just outside of Chicago, IL. The tournament consisted of eight different seminaries, from eight different states. The team from St. John Vianney in Denver played three games: Conception College Seminary (MO), Mundelein Seminary (IL), and St. Joseph Seminary College (LA). After several hard fought games, we realized we were not in ideal physical condition to keep up with young college aged men, ages 18-21. In a well-played game, we lost to St. Joseph Seminary College 49-40, who would later go on to win the whole tournament. Regardless of our record, the thirteen of us who traveled to Illinois had a blessed time, enjoying some good food, good fellowship, and some beautiful snow.
Even though our team did not accomplish our goal of winning the tournament, we enjoyed ourselves and took an important break from pending responsibilities. We were able to push ourselves physically and glorify God by simply playing basketball. We began one of the games by greeting our opponents through a series of handshakes and smiles. In the words of one of the referees (there were two each game), he said “you all are so kind to each other.” After all, is not kindness one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Jesus also says, “this is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
– Deacon Tim Skoch
FR. DANIEL RECEIVES HIS DOCTORATE
My name is Fr. Daniel, one of the new formators at the seminary. Last October, I defended my doctorate in Liturgical Theology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. This branch of theology studies the Church’s liturgical prayer as a source of theology; the Church’s prayer reveals her belief (lex orandi, lex credendi).
My thesis, The Byzantine Consecration of Holy Myron in the Barberini Euchologion, examines the eighth-century, Byzantine liturgy for consecrating “holy myron,” i.e., sacred chrism. I studied the Byzantine consecration prayer from a Roman perspective in order to develop a wider and deeper vision of chrism. We Romans associate chrism with several rites: post-baptismal anointing, Confirmation, and the Chrism Mass celebrating ministerial priests. However, taking on the Byzantine liturgical vision, several rich characteristics of sacred chrism arise for the Roman to consider. I’ll very briefly share two here.
First, myron is, above all else, for Confirmation; in fact, the Byzantines do not use myron for anointing clerics at all. The consecration prayer shows that chrism and Confirmation must be more united with baptism, both theologically and practically. This encourages the practice of the “Restored Order” for Christian Initiation.
Second, myron is Eucharistic; it is from, with, and for the Eucharist. In the Divine Liturgy, them myron is processed to and placed upon the altar along with the bread. During the Eucharistic prayer, the bishop takes the myron and prays a similar anaphoral (i.e., “Eucharistic”) prayer over it. Thus, the consecration of the myron is united with and flows from the consecration of the Eucharist. Only when the myron is used for Confirmation is the Christian admitted to partake of the Eucharist. Thus, the catechumen is not merely initiated into some club as a “mature” member. Rahter, through Baptism and Confirmation, the Christian is initiated into the Body of Christ, the Church, by the Eucharist.