Seminarians connect, reconnect
Retreat allows time to reflect and learn from others
By Adam Campbell
|DIOCESAN SEMINARIANS: Bp. Zubik met with seminarians during their annual retreat. A picnic followed at St. Agnes Parish in Green Bay. (Rick Evans photo)
Mike Brummond is excited to have a date set for his ordination to the priesthood.
"Things are becoming more real, I have a date set on a calendar for ordination," he said. "It puts things in perspective when it's that close."
Brummond said his greatest experience as a seminarian was meeting Pope John Paul II three years ago at a private Mass and being close enough to hold the pope's hand and to kiss his ring. The third year theology student from Menasha is studying at the North American College in Rome.
Brummond was one of 13 seminarians who last week took part in the annual seminarian retreat at Holy Name Retreat House on Chambers Island in Door County. The retreat allows seminarians - who attend four different seminaries - to reconnect, as well as to meet some members of the Serra Club, which promotes vocations to the priesthood.
After being away for a year, Brummond was able to reconnect with other seminarians and meet the new seminarians.
One of the new seminarians is Michael Warden, from Suamico, who will be a freshman at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. Warden is looking forward to learning philosophy while discerning his vocation to diocesan priesthood.
Is God calling me?
If you think God is calling you to life as a priest, consider these questions:
Do I have a strong, personal faith in Jesus?
Do I love people?
Do I have the desire to help people know God's love for them?
Do I have a persistent inner feeling that God may want me to do this?
Am I physically and emotionally healthy?
Do I have an enthusiasm for learning and studying?
Do others support me in this direction?
Am I active in my parish?
Do I have the gifts to serve the church in leadership?
For more information, phone Fr. Tom Long at (920)272-8293 or 1-877-500-3580, ext. 8293; e-mail: [email protected]
Warden said he felt a call to serve God and thought that college seminary was a good place to answer that call. He is the diocese's tallest seminarian - six-feet, seven inches - and is expected to be a great addition to the award-winning Josephinum basketball team.
On retreat, the seminarians took part in communal prayer and daily Mass. They also met with the new director of vocations, Fr. Tom Long, and Bp. David Zubik, who spoke on the importance of the Mass and the Eucharist.
"Bishop's presentation on the Eucharist was inspiring because adoration of the Blessed Eucharist draws us to love God and the people of God," said Walter Stumpf, a fourth year theology student.
The retreat also includes recreation, such as biking, swimming, canoeing and a "midnight walk" around the lake.
Fr. Doug LeCaptain, former director of vocations, discussed his experiences as pastor of St. Raphael Parish in Oshkosh. He emphasized the need for priests to rely on a parish staff to help make important decisions.
"Sometimes you have to swallow your pride and ask for help," Fr. LeCaptain said.
Much of daily parish planning, he added, falls under finding structure and delegating authority. A priest needs to ask himself, "How do I share ministry in letting those pieces go?" he said.
The most important thing is to bring people to Christ through the Eucharist, Fr. LeCaptain said. One way he decided to do that as the rector of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral was to tear down the old Walnut Café to make room for more parking space.
Bp. Zubik celebrated Mass with the seminarians and the Serrans at St. Agnes Church.
(Campbell, a member of St. Anthony Parish, Oconto Falls, is a first-year theology student at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio.)