Father Andrew Liaugminas Returns to Mundelein to Share the True Christ Among Us
Written by: David Sacha | Diocese of Grand Rapids
Father Andrew Liaugminas is no stranger to Mundelein Seminary. A priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and currently the chaplain and director of the Catholic Center at the University of Chicago Calvert House, Father Liaugminas was ordained in 2010 and was the associate pastor of Mary, Seat of Wisdom Parish in Park Ridge.
In January, while a familiar figure to some faculty and staff, Father Liaugminas was a new face to seminarians, teaching one of the seminary’s most crucial courses: Christology. Joining Mundelein as an adjunct faculty member, Father Liaugminas completed the spring semester with roughly half of the first theologians after taking over the course from Father Scott Hebden, who retired from teaching classes at Mundelein.
Father Liaugminas had a sense he would be returning to the school, as he discussed such a possibility with Cardinal Francis George, one of his personal heroes. Father Liaugminas remarked that as Cardinal Francis George was dying, he was preparing, spiritually and intellectually, to see the Redeemer. By suffering with Christ and others in the Church throughout his life, Cardinal Francis George had prepared himself to recognize the glorified Suffering Servant, whose image he had already discerned in the Church.
The hope that had governed Cardinal Francis George’s entire life was coming to fruition. Father Liaugminas’ preaching style, which the Christology students have picked up on, centers around a deep love for Christ, a keen attention to His Church, and a great ability to reveal this love in his teaching.
Ben Valentine, a second-year theologian studying for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, remarked that Father Liaugminas is intellectually astute, but also truly loves Christ and the Church. He is not simply a talking theologian giving his students information. Father Liaugminas sees the seminarians’ mission today as one to go deeper in Christ with prayer and study and to move wider with the Church.
This concentration on prayer and study is clearly a constant call for Father Liaugminas. It is within this vitality, this reservoir of keen insight into the great commission of Christ, that he encourages his students to grow. He sees the questions seminarians are asking not as challenges to priestly formation but as motivators to continue to express the faith with vibrancy and clarity.
During his own vocational journey, which started in high school, clarity about the next step solidified and he simply continued to step forward in faith of Christ’s guiding hand in his life. This fervor for the faith has translated to his Christology course.
“He has given us the primary sources to sit with from the councils. We get into the minds of council fathers, the mind of God. It has been enriching because the content that we’re diving into is the person of Jesus Christ, which is a great gift to study and also a great mystery, something that we can never exhaust in our study and our prayer.”
“He has given us the primary sources to sit with from the councils,” Valentine said. “We get into the minds of council fathers, the mind of God. It has been enriching because the content that we’re diving into is the person of Jesus Christ, which is a great gift to study and also a great mystery, something that we can never exhaust in our study and our prayer.”
Valentine and his classmates recognize Father Liaugminas is rooted in Scripture in the way he teaches and lives. Students have learned the importance of bringing these ideas and the Scriptures into their prayer lives and to interiorize who Christ is and how he saves them.
His students see Father Liaugminas as a man of God balanced in contemplation and action, seeing keenly the desires of the people and responding with careful diligence to give to others the true Christ already present among them.
“He has given me a greater desire to dive into the rich theological tradition we have here in the Catholic Church,” Valentine said. “He has truly been an inspiration to us as future priests and even to the current priests on campus.”