Tag Archives: priest

Dwindling pastoral care for the sick

Interesting issues regarding the pastoral care of the sick viz. the numbers of priests available to be sacramentally present. USA Today a story that deserves some attention. Catholics are sacramental people: no priesthood, no sacraments…

On the same page as the story noted above is a video clip of Father Denis Robinson, OSB, Rector of Saint Meinrad Seminary talking about the up-tick of vocations.

Exchanging a baseball cap for a biretta: becoming a priest

Grant Desme.jpgMaking the rounds is the story that a top baseball player is following his true love, Jesus Christ by becoming a Catholic priest. Grant Desme, 23, is leaving the Oakland A’s for Saint Michael’s Abbey, a Norbertine community of priests and brothers in southern California. The community of Saint Michael’s is young, dynamic and they think with the Church…no surprise they’re getting vocations. Famous for their white habit and white biretta, the Canons Regular of Premontre were founded by Saint Norbert c. 1121.

Desme isn’t the only high profile athlete to enter the seminary in recent times, soccer player Chase Hilgenbrinck, left his sport to be a secular priest. He’s studying at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary.

Making good priests…the greatest achievement

To make good priests is the greatest achievement in
the world: it is impossible to conceive anything greater or more
important. To devote oneself to making good priests and to cooperate to
this end – is to fulfill the very task of Jesus Christ.

St Vincent de Paul

Pope reminds the Pontifical North American College (Rome) to remain faithful to its founding principals

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As part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the Pontifical North American College, Pope Benedict XVI addressed a gathering of cardinals, bishops, priests, students and friends of the College on January 9, 2010. The PNAC was founded by Blessed Pius IX.

I am pleased to welcome the alumni of the Pontifical North
American College, together with the Rector, faculty and students of the
seminary on the Janiculum hill, and the student priests of the Casa Santa Maria
dell’Umiltà. Our meeting comes at the conclusion of the celebrations marking
the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the College’s establishment by my
predecessor, Blessed Pius IX. On this happy occasion I willingly join you in
thanking the Lord for the many ways in which the College has remained faithful
to its founding vision by training generations of worthy preachers of the
Gospel and ministers of the sacraments, devoted to the Successor of Peter and
committed to the building up of the Church in the United States of America.

is appropriate, in this Year for Priests, that you have returned to the College
and this Eternal City in order to give thanks for the academic and spiritual
formation which has nourished your priestly ministry over the years. The
present Reunion is an opportunity not only to remember with gratitude the time
of your studies, but also to reaffirm your filial affection for the Church of
Rome, to recall the apostolic labors of the countless alumni who have gone
before you, and to recommit yourselves to the high ideals of holiness, fidelity
and pastoral zeal which you embraced on the day of your ordination
. It is
likewise an occasion to renew your love for the College and your appreciation
of its distinctive mission to the Church in your country.

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During my Pastoral
Visit to the United States, I expressed my conviction that the Church in
is called to cultivate “an intellectual ‘culture’ which is
genuinely Catholic, confident in the profound harmony of faith and reason, and
prepared to bring the richness of faith’s vision to bear on the pressing issues
which affect the future of American society”
(Homily at Nationals Stadium,
Washington, 17 April 2008). As Blessed Pius IX rightly foresaw, the Pontifical
North American College in Rome is uniquely prepared to help meet this perennial
challenge. In the century and a half since its foundation, the College has
offered its students an exceptional experience of the universality of the
Church, the breadth of her intellectual and spiritual tradition, and the
urgency of her mandate to bring Christ’s saving truth to the men and women of
every time and place
. I am confident that, by emphasizing these hallmarks of a
Roman education in every aspect of its program of formation, the College will
continue to produce wise and generous pastors capable of transmitting the
Catholic faith in its integrity, bringing Christ’s infinite mercy to the weak
and the lost, and enabling America’s Catholics to be a leaven of the Gospel in
the social, political and cultural life of their nation.

PNAC courtyard.jpeg

Dear brothers, I pray
that in these days you will be renewed in the gift of the Holy Spirit which you
received on the day of your ordination. In the College chapel, dedicated to the
Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady is
portrayed in the company of four outstanding models and patrons of priestly
life and ministry: Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Pius X, Saint John Mary
Vianney and Saint Vincent de Paul
. During this Year for Priests, may these
great saints continue to watch over the students who daily pray in their midst;
may they guide and sustain your own ministry, and intercede for the priests of
the United States. With cordial good wishes for the spiritual fruitfulness of
the coming days, and with great affection in the Lord, I impart to you my
Apostolic Blessing, which I willingly extend to all the alumni and friends of
the Pontifical North American College.

Paying down debt to follow Christ


You wouldn’t believe it, but young people discerning a
vocation to the consecrated life and/or priesthood in the USA, today, face the
problem of debt.

Personal debt is one thing and we all have to watch our
spending. And we are the ones who to repay the credit card companies, not someone else. It is a very true experience to say that consumerism often replaces Christ as the focus of our lives.

BUT the
significant problem at hand is the amount of education debts young people have to pay
off before following the vocation given to them. Many young people went to the university, received a good education and now felt called to serve the Lord and the Church as a priest or sister and can’t because they have repay their college loans. It is the responsible thing to do. It is also the thing that will prevent someone from actually fulfilling their calling. Large college debts make a
person ineligible from entering a religious order or a diocesan formation
. Some religious orders will make some arrangement if the debt is “reasonable”
especially if the candidate is “worthy.” Many will not because their own income is not capable to lend that kind of assistance. Again, personal debts are the responsibility
of the person. The video on the Mater Ecclesiae website (see below) speaks of grants and the tough call made in discerning who gets help, who doesn’t. These grants assist in paying off
those college debts.

Perhaps as an act of charity we could make a charitable offering
to one of the agencies helping these young men and women deal with their
educational debts. Christmas is a time for giving with love.

This article, “Debt, the Vocation Killer” gives some perspective on the matter. Plus, there are worthy organizations that help in dealing with the educational debt like the Laboure Society and Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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