Rector Father John Kartje welcomed hundreds of visiting family members to the Mundelein campus for Family Weekend, an annual tradition that brings loved ones by plane, train, and automobile to our historic campus – many for the first time.
Parents were able to chat with each other about the unique experience of having a son who is studying to become a priest, sharing stories ranging from “I always knew he would be a priest,” to “Never would have I imagined he’d be here,” but always with a similar peace and pride in his decision.
Seminarians led their families through a day in their lives, bringing them to Mass in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, sitting in on classroom lectures by Father Marek Duran and Father John Kartje, and introducing them to faculty members and fellow future priests.
During his lecture on Scripture, Father Kartje fielded questions from parents that ranged from scriptural to current events in the Church. He also gave insight into the beauty of life as a priest, saying, “As a priest, you are sustained by the love of God, but that’s not exclusive of the love you receive from others. You learn how to give and receive love in a nonexclusive way. You are with the people you serve and you grow in vulnerability and trust through intimate interactions – praying at the bedside of someone dying, baptizing their newborn baby, celebrating their lives together in marriage – those are sustaining and life-giving moments where you share of yourself and receive the love of the Lord.”
Parents, siblings, aunts and uncles were also treated to a giant cookout, architectural tours led by Dr. Denis McNamara, lake tours given by Father Zach Chichester, and tours on Father Tom Franzman’s 1929 fire truck and Mundelein’s “Old Number One,” purchased for the town by Cardinal George Mundelein. An afternoon baseball game gave many parents flashbacks to watching and coaching their sons as kids. Even though these men will become priests, their athletic ability and interests don’t go away, and often serve as valuable evangelization tools.
The joy of the weekend was visible in smiles, hugs, and laughter. Thank you to all the families who spent time on campus – including those from local parishes who “adopt” seminarians during their time in formation. Our entire Mundelein community is grateful for your prayers, love, and support.
Some of our seminarians' parents and siblings recorded sweet messages of encouragement during Family Weekend to show the guys how much they are loved and supported.