Dear Sons of the Church! We are almost one month into the formation year and I pray the Lord is blessing you with many graces.
Several weeks ago I proposed to you a general formation theme that would guide all that we do here at Notre Dame Seminary: Disciples of the Lord: Missionary Priests for the New Evangelization. As I pointed out, the Program of Priestly Formation charges me in collaboration with the faculty to propose a vision that shapes and directs the formation program. I believe the vision set-forth reflects the Magisterium of Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, the pastoral landscape of our Church today considering the challenges of the new evangelization, and the timely discernment of the Second Vatican Council as we soon observe the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Council.
Seminarians are disciples of the Lord. This means you are eye witnesses to the saving events of Jesus through a deep spiritual relationship you have with God and your intellectual study of those mysteries as a seminarian of the Church. Discipleship also means that these saving mysteries are converting you to the Gospel. You are not spectators of Jesus rather discerning if you will serve the Church alter Christus.
To be an eye witness of the saving mysteries of Christ and to be men pursuing holiness brings great hope to the Church. After all, the revelation of the Kingdom of God was received by the apostles as the sacred pages of scripture record. Something amazing happens in a seminary – the whole Church is inspired by your vocation of discernment because you are a particular eye witness to the Kingdom of God that will bring many of you to the ministerial priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Particular – because what you see in these saving mysteries is the possibility of you being a dispenser of these mysteries. You se