This Sunday I travelled with our Vocation Director, Fr. Bill Hill, to the Benedictine Abbey of Conception in NW Missouri.  The Benedictines operate a college seminary there, and we have three Vietnamese students and one young man from NE Wyoming presently studying for the priesthood with them.  To the left are Fr. Bill Hill, Linh Vu, myself, Duy Nguyen, Hiep Nguyen and Andrew Kinstetter.

Yesterday, I had the priveledge of celebrating with the Benedictine and Seminary communities in the beautiful abbey basilica the opening Mass of the academic year.  As is usually the norm, we celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

This time of year, almost all of our seminarians have returned to their respective seminaries.  In addition to the four college men mentioned above, we have one man beginning his third year of theology in Louvain, Belgium, one man in his third year of theology at Sacred Heart in Hales Corner, Wisconsin, two men beginning their studies at the North American College in Rome, and two men also beginning first year of theology at St. John Vianney in Denver.

We are blessed with solid candidates pursuing these preparations for priesthood.  I’m also very grateful for the many priests, religious, and lay people who are so dedicated, and selflessly serving in the ministry of preparing men for the priesthood.  Seminary work is a unique ministry, and can be quite challenging.  These men and women take on a great task in preparing our future priests for ministry.  Please keep them in your prayers.

I truly enjoyed my visit to Conception Abbey and Seminary this week.  I enjoyed being with our seminarians.  I enjoyed meeting many other seminarians.  I enjoyed the visit with the seminary faculty as well as Abbot Gregory.  On a personal level, it also reminded me very much of home.  The rolling hills, hard wood forests, and agricultural farm land reminded me very much of the scenes from my own home, and especially of another Benedictine Archabbey; St. Meinrad

The trip also gave me some time to visit with our new vocation director, Fr. Bill Hill.  He is quickly “learning the ropes”, and I am impressed with the “homework” he has done in these early days of his new position as well as with his insight and good “instincts”.  I think we will do well with him at the helm of our vocation ministry.

Please continue to pray for all our seminarians.  Pray for those entrusted with the work of their formation.  And please, pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood for our local church!