By: Very Rev. Richard W. Fitzgerald
Director of Pastoral Formation
The first week of classes for the new academic year has been completed for the seminarians. For those men returning to the seminary it is a week for settling back into the regular life of studies, prayer and formation as they move toward the goal of ordination to the priesthood. For the new seminarians who are just beginning the seminary program, their new mode of living can be a challenge as they adjust to their new surroundings. They may ask themselves, “Am I up to the task?” “Am I really worthy of this call?” This weekend’s reading from Saint Paul’s letter to Timothy can be an encouragement not only to the new seminarians but also to those who have been in formation over the past few years.
Saint Paul expresses how thankful he is to Jesus Christ “because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry”. Saint Paul is grateful for how he has been “mercifully treated” for his past transgressions and unbelief. Seminarians, and particularly new seminarians must always reflect upon the trust that the Lord has put in them in calling them to the Priesthood. As St. Paul experienced, to be considered “trustworthy” by God is an awesome gift and responsibility. St. Paul recognizes how patient the Lord has been with him and how through it all, “the grace of our Lord has been abundant”. The formation program for a seminarian requires much patience on his part... patience with himself and with others. We all pray that through their formation years at the seminary all the seminarians may remain patient. May they never lose sight of Saint Paul’s experience of gratitude for the trust the Lord has placed in them. Relying on the abundance of grace that St. Paul assures comes with “the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” is the key.