I am presently on the road for one final tour before returning to the Diocese of Cheyenne for the remainder of Lent. Last Thursday, I flew to Kansas City, Missouri, where one of our seminarians picked me up and drove me to Conception Seminary, about an hour and a half drive north. Conception operates a college and pre-theology (philosophy) program.
Conception is also a Benedictine Abbey. The monks have operated a seminary here for many decades. I was invited to be the principal celebrant and homilist on Friday for the Benedictine Solemnity of the ‘Transitus of St. Benedict,’ which marks the death of the great saint.
Friday was a full day. We began with Morning Prayer in the Abbey church with the monastic community followed by breakfast. Then, after a brief period of prayer and preparation, the monks, seminarians and invited guests which also included many pastors of seminarians, gathered for the Mass and banquet that followed. I spent the afternoon meeting with the rector and vice-rector of the seminary and then individually with the five seminarians studying at Conception. We concluded our day by praying Evening Prayer together and then going out for dinner.
Saturday morning, I gathered with our seminarians for Mass and then headed back to the airport for a flight to Tampa, Florida. The people of the Diocese of Cheyenne can be very pleased with the quality of men we have preparing for the priesthood. As grateful as I am for the ten seminarians presently studying for us, we all need to continue to pray that the young men and women living in Wyoming will hear God’s call to serve the Church as priests and religious.
At today’s General Audience in Rome on Holy Orders the Pope asked, “How does one become a priest? Where are the entrance tickets sold? It is an initiative that the Lord takes. The Lord calls: calling everyone who wants to become a priest, and perhaps there are some young people here who have felt that call in their hearts. The desire to become priests, the desire to serve others in the things that come from God. The desire to spend one’s entire life in service to catechize, baptize, forgive, celebrate the Eucharist to the sick … but, all of one’s life! If any of you have heard this in your heart, it is Jesus who put him there! Care for this invitation and pray that this will grow and bear fruit for the entire Church”.
I am in Florida as I write, where I am conducting a parish mission at Holy Family Catholic Church in St. Petersburg. I came to know the pastor, Fr. John Tapp back in the mid-80’s, and have remained in contact with him through our mutual friend, Bishop Lynch. Fr. Tapp asked me a little over a year ago to come give a parish mission.
The Mission focuses on the Indwelling presence of God in the life of the Christian, our invitation to follow Jesus (Discipleship) and how this leads us to live in the world as witnesses of our faith in Jesus (Mission.) The mission will conclude with tonight’s presentation.
I will remain in the Diocese of St. Petersburg through the weekend. Since the Diocese of Cheyenne is considered a Mission Diocese, I have been given the opportunity to address another parish this weekend, seeking their prayerful and generous support for the ministries of the Diocese of Cheyenne.
I pray your Lenten Journey is going well. We are all travelling together in this journey of faith, so let us keep each other in prayer.