Sunday reflection by Rev. Ryan Connors, Director of Sacred Liturgy - August 29, 2021
This week all the seminarians studying at Saint John’s will return to the house to begin another year of priestly formation. Their return affords us the chance to recall what seminary formation is all about.
The men who return to the house this week do not begin an apprenticeship. They do not arrive first off to learn a series of skills or even in the first place to complete an academic program. Rather, the seminary is an experience of being with the Lord. Pastores Dabo Vobis—the Church document on seminary formation which governs our life here at Saint John’s—reminds us that the seminary is a continuation of the apostolic community, of men like the apostles gathered around the Lord to be sent to preach His Gospel.
One should not conceive the seminary like a graduate school or an internship. While our students engage in a rigorous program of studies of philosophy and theology and receive pastoral assignments throughout the Archdiocese of Boston and beyond their time here cannot be measured merely in grades or service hours. Instead, their work involves allowing the Lord to transform them. In these walls, especially in the many hours spent in our chapel, the Lord transforms their hearts to be like His. The seminarians of Saint John’s become men ready to lay down their lives in service of Jesus and His Church.
The Church’s future priests come to the seminary first off to get to know the Lord. They study Him, like the apostles the first priests and bishops of the Church. They spend time with Him, converse with Him in prayer, and study His Word and the teachings of His Church. The years of seminary formation are meant to allow the Lord to shape a man’s heart and mind to be like the Lord’s. The men of Saint John’s ask the merciful Father to develop in them the virtues of charity and chastity, of patience and disciplined prayer, of generosity and joy.
As the men of Saint John’s return to begin another year of priestly formation, they rely on your prayers. They are here for you, studying to be priests after the heart of Christ to one day serve you and your families. We depend upon your generous support, especially your daily prayers.