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!
Fr. Daniel Leonard, Rector