What does Priestly Formation look like during a Pandemic?

October 6, 2020

Despite all the challenges that Covid-19 has imposed on educational institutions throughout the world, St. John’s Seminary opened its doors this fall to yet another class of young men desiring to follow the Lord’s call. Opening the seminary in the midst of these challenges was not easy. Indeed, it felt something like what St. Peter must have experienced when the Lord Jesus, walking toward him on the stormy sea, invited him to step out of his boat and come to Him over those dark and deep waters. Like St. Peter, we at St. John’s Seminary had a choice before us: we could see the pandemic raging around us as all-powerful or we could step out in deeper trust that the Lord would sustain us as we answered His call. We chose to step out in trust. We chose to see this year as an opportunity for the whole seminary community to draw closer together in Christ. While going forward with our formation program has required significant sacrifices to ensure everyone’s safety, laying down certain freedoms for the good of others stands at the heart of what it means to be a priest of Jesus Christ.

Seminary, most fundamentally, is meant to be a school of fraternal charity. Pandemics cannot cancel our lessons in loving others. On the contrary, times like these can drive that most essential lesson deeper into our hearts.

Priests are called to serve their people in good times and in bad, when it is easy and when it is hard, in sickness and in health. Priestly formation must reflect this. That is why St. John’s Seminary opened its doors this academic year. While we hope and pray for better times in our world, the truth is that we tend to grow the most in times of trial and hardship. Please join us in our prayer that the trials and sacrifices of this academic year will only serve to mold us into priests even more ready and willing to lay down our comforts for the sake of the flock we seek to serve.

By: Rev. Thomas K. Macdonald, Vice-Rector

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