On August 17, Notre Dame Seminary began another year of priestly formation. We were prepared to handle the day-to-day aspects of a post-Covid world, with wearing masks, sanitizing, social distancing, and limited off-campus activities. The challenge went to the next level, however, when Covid-19 hit our community. In mid-October, more and more of my seminarian brothers were tested positive for this virus and were added to the tally of overall cases of this worldwide pandemic.
We quickly had to transform our daily schedule to prevent the spread of this virus and to care for those infected. Community prayer was limited to two daily Masses. In-person classes became entirely virtual. The seminary went into lockdown, with no visitors allowed on-campus and no seminarians allowed off-campus. We took turns delivering breakfast, lunch, and dinner to those in quarantine. One Saturday morning, we sanitized all the seminary buildings, top to bottom.
Fr. Wehner set the spiritual tone for us when he asked us to offer up our sufferings for healing in the Church. We all had something to offer, whether it was patiently suffering the virus, following the safety protocols, or offering a helping hand. Forced to be locked in together, we have grown in our bond as brothers in Christ.
I believe this experience has prepared us for future ministry as pastors of the Church. Despite the crises we will face as pastors, we will always have the loving support of our brother priests, our parishioners, and most of all, the crucified Christ who invites us to suffer with Him for the healing of His Bride the Church.