It is a joy for me to write about our seminarians. I have had the blessed privilege of accompanying them on their formational journey for over half of my life as a priest.
These men offer great hope for our Church. These men bring to our communities excitement, enthusiasm, and a burning desire to proclaim the Gospel and tell the Good News.
I recall meeting one of them early on in his first year of formation and asking him how he was doing. His answer was somewhat cryptic but nonetheless clear and to the point: “Monsignor, I’m just living the dream!”
Like so many of his brothers, he felt he answered a call from the Lord. He realized it is a costly grace to be a priest, to answer the call. But he knew that the Scriptures themselves remind us that “your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions.” And his vision, indeed his dream, like that of his brothers was to be a witness of hope to a world in need.
Our seminarians, they see a broken, hurting, suffering, divided world, and they truly want to do something about it. Their dream is to give it stability. It has been said that St. Francis de Sales considered stability the most desirable virtue in the spiritual life.
These men want to be witnesses of hope in a broken world, a world that is hungry for food and for truth. They want to feed this world, all of God’s people, with the word of God, and they want to feed them with the Bread of Life. Their dream is to proclaim the Gospel and tell the Good News.
It is a challenge of fidelity and authenticity. Seminarians have a goal: to be courageous in truth and generous in love. And they have a mission: to follow Jesus without hesitation, without reservation, without looking back. Their dream is to live a life of loving sacrifice for God and His people.
As I ponder this noble dream, I think of the meditation that Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote in his war-time prayer book: “If the cross of our savior was a proof that there was something wrong in man that could be righted only by a sacrificial death, why should not these times in which I live be to me a proof that there is something so wrong with the modern world that it can be righted only by my sacrificial life?”
And so, as I watch these men living their dream, I pray that they may be beacons of hope and missionaries of mercy to a world thirsting for God’s love. May they have the courage to be near the fire and proclaiming joy as they tell the world of the risen Lord.
And so, I would ask you to join me with this prayer: “Lord, fill them each day with love that knows no barrier. Courage that cannot be shaken. Faith strong enough for the darkness. Strength sufficient for the task. Loyalty to your kingdom’s goal. Wisdom to meet life’s complexities. And power to lift the people of God to you.”
Praised be Jesus Christ.
By Monsignor Aloysius Callaghan, Rector and Vice President Emeritus, St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.