We thank our Seminarian John for his service to our Parish this summer and we pray for his formation and discernment for the Priesthood! May God bless you today and in the future!
One of the questions seminarians are most often asked is “What made you enter the seminary?” The seminarian’s answer is his “Vocation Story,” and every seminarian is usually able to give one version or another of their vocation story at the drop of hat. For me, the earliest I’d say the priesthood entered my thoughts was in the summer of 2008 between 4th and 5th grade. I was at a youth rally in Rothschild, and the Vocation Director of the diocese at the time, Msgr. Joseph Hirsch, was giving his homily. I wasn’t really paying attention, until he pointed directly at me, out of a crowd of maybe a thousand people, and said “Maybe you’ll be a priest one day!” I, being a typical 10-year-old, forgot all about the incident. Fortunately for me, my mother did not, and I as soon as I was old enough, she began to take me on weekend long retreats in La Crosse, led by Msgr. Hirsch. I enjoyed these retreats so much I came back year after year. Looking back, the coolest thing about these retreats was when the seminarians helping to run them, would lead the boys in the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayers of the church said by priests and religious all around the world. These retreats eventually turned into seminary visits, and seminary for me became not just a possibility, but an eventuality.
Another question seminarians are commonly asked is, “How long does it take to become a priest?” or “How much longer until you’re a priest.” For the Diocese of La Crosse, it will now take 8-10 years from start to finish to be ordained a priest. For a man in the diocese discerning the priesthood, the first thing he will be asked to do is spend a year on the diocese’s Journey program. While on the Journey program, the man is not yet considered a seminarian for the diocese, as the Journey program is meant to be a year for the man to discern whether or not seminary is truly where he desires to be. While on the Journey program the men have a part-time job and focus all their intellectual efforts on the Holy Scripture and the catechism. I must admit that I don’t know the ins and outs of the program, as it started after I entered seminary. After the Journey year, the men are officially accepted as seminarians and begin studying philosophy. The church requires that all men studying for the priesthood have at least a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, allowing them to reason logically and soundly to defend to the church from error. If a man enters seminary directly out of high school (like me), philosophy will usually take 4 years (I’m 3 years in). If men entering already have a college degree, they only need 2 years of philosophy, having all their general education courses out of the way. After philosophy, every seminarian takes of 4 years of graduate level theology courses, so as to know the truths of the faith well enough to teach them. Sometime between the man’s first year of philosophy and their last year of theology, the diocese requires either a year in a parish or a Regency year, which is what I am doing next year and what next week’s article will be about.
The year of formation that is completely unique to our diocese, and where I’ll be next year, is the Regency program. To be completely honest, I don’t entirely know what it is because the program is only in its fourth year and keeps evolving. What I do know is that the Regency is a year away from the rigorous demands of the seminary itself, which involve full-time class work along with a host of other responsibilities (my Wednesdays last semester were booked from 5:00 am to 10:00 pm). Instead of heavy intellectual work, the Regency program more on making men into balanced, healthy human beings. Men coming into seminary come out of a culture that is very toxic. Regency is meant to be a time where the men can work on any bad habits or receive help for some trauma that they have suffered earlier in their life. To that end, men on the Regency program receive weekly counseling sessions. They also hold a part time job, so as to become accustomed to working with people, as well as one class at a local university to either help them with their required degree or to help them to further grow in whatever area they need to (a common one is public speaking). The Regency program has been praised by everyone who has participated in it as well who has seen the fruits it has borne in the men who have been through it, and we as a diocese are blessed that all of our priests moving forward will have had this experience.
Annual Thorp Deanery Convocation
“Sharing the Light of Faith”
September 4th 6pm-9pm
St Anthony’s Loyal
All are Welcome ~No Charge
Please join the parishes of the Deanery for an evening of discussion and planning in order to improve every Parish in the Thorp Deanery
*The Next Steps in the Fight Against Pornography
*Why Christians Sing When They Pray (and how to do it better.)
*The Importance of Cultural Tolerance
* Aging Gracefully
Find registration on brochure below
Congratulations and God's Blessings on our Class of 2019. Pictured with Catechists Larry and Cindy Hoeser. May God continue the good work He has begun in you!
Catholic Kids Corner
Click about to find ideas for your Family for the Month of July! God bless you!