USML | News

Mundelein Seminary

Mundelein Seminary | News

  • Year of Mercy Pilgrimage to Marytown | 3/31/2016

    Student groups The Confraternity of Our Lady, Hispanic Ministry, and Peace & Justice/Gospel of Life Apostolate collaborated to organize a Year of Mercy pilgrimage. Participants prayed the rosary and sung hymns in various languages as the procession moved from our Main Chapel on campus to Marytown.

    The event was a chance to grow closer to God, walk through the Holy Doors, receive confession, a plenary indulgence, and meditate on the Year of Mercy.

    See more photos on the Mundelein Seminary Facebook page.

  • Mundelein Seminary 2016 Community Photo | 4/7/2016

    Thank you for your prayers and support as the faculty of Mundelein Seminary form these dedicated men into your future parish priests.


  • Mundelein Seminarians March for Life in D.C. | 1/28/2016

    Written by Ryan Adorjan (2nd Theology - Joliet, IL)
    See more photos on Facebook

    Last week, I had the privilege to lead a pilgrimage of 26 seminarians and a priest to Washington, DC for the March for Life. This trip is made each year by members of Mundelein’s First Theology class. This year was particularly meaningful given the number of men from outside the United States who took the journey with us to the capitol of their new nation.

    Two weeks ago, as I was getting everything ready for the trip, the weather forecast was very pleasing: 45 degrees and sunny skies; for mid-January on the East Coast, what more can you ask for? As the weeks progressed toward the trip, more and more men came to my room with questions like, “have you seen the weather for DC?” “It looks like the weather might be bad…” “Can you believe how much snow they’re predicting?” Well, “snow doesn’t stop abortion so it’s not going to stop us!” I thought. And, after nearly three hours of deliberation with seminary administration the night before our departure, our group set out for Washington on Thursday, January 21 at 3:45am.

    When we arrived in Washington, all the news was about the 2-3 inches of snow that had fallen the night before (which had already melted by the time we landed at 9:15am), about all of the accidents caused on the major highways, and about how even President Obama’s motorcade got stuck. The capitol of the world freaking about 2-3 inches of snow as nearly 30 inches of snow was being forecast in just over 24 hours was a little disconcerting.

    Nevertheless, our group left the airport for our housing location near the Catholic University of America at the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate’s Provincial Office. The OMIs are the order to which Cardinal Francis George belonged and the Mundelein group has stayed here during the March for Life for many years.

    As of Thursday night, our flight home on Saturday had already been cancelled so we made the decision to try to fly out ahead of the storm on a Friday afternoon flight. After spending over 4 hours on the phone until 12:30am with the airline, we finally reserved 27 spots on a flight only for it to be cancelled by the time we woke up Friday morning. The good news was that the group would still be able to attend the March for Life, the bad news was that the earliest flight that could accommodate our group was not until Monday afternoon. In a word: we were stuck.

    As the men braved the now-heavy snow at the National Mall, a few of us braved the equally dangerous elements of the DC Walmart as we stocked up food and supplies for our long stay indoors. By the time Friday night arrived, close to 9 inches of snow had already fallen and when we woke up Saturday morning there was nearly 20 inches. The entire city – roads, metro, businesses, everything – had been closed and it was incredible to walk down the middle of the road surrounded by abandoned cars. By the time everything was said and done, more than 30 inches of snow had fallen on Washington; some said it was their biggest snow storm in 100 years.

    Thanks be to God, our group was safe and warm with plenty of food and activities to keep us occupied. The time in Washington was such a gift from the Lord; a true time of rest and fraternity. We enjoyed card games, movies, and meals together as well as Mass, holy hour, and some fun in the snow. Reading the news about other groups stranded on the Pennsylvania Turnpike building snow altars and celebrating Mass, it was clear that the snow was a true gift from Jesus who used, for so many people and groups, to get them to stop and rest, to pray, and to be brought together by Him in the Eucharist. Thanks be to God for this time and for the prayers of the Mundelein Seminary community. 

  • Fr. Patrick O'Malley "Perspectives on the Scriptures" Memorial Conference | 9/21/2015

    Fr. Patrick O’Malley was a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago for 56 years, passing away in 2013.  Fr. O’Malley worked diligently and effectively to connect life with faith for the people of God.  He had a great love for scripture and wrote “Perspectives on the Scriptures” for the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Catholic New World newspaper for many years.
    Through the generosity of the ACTA (Adult Catechetical Teaching Aids) Foundation, the first of three yearly conferences will take place on Saturday, October 31.  The Fr. Patrick O’Malley “Perspectives on the Scriptures” Memorial Conference is designed for all people seeking a deeper relationship with Christ.  It will be relevant for laity, deacons and priests.  The focus of the 2015 conference will be on the Sunday Cycle C (Luke) of readings. 
    The conference will be on the beautiful and sacred grounds of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.  This life giving conference includes…
    9:00 - 9:30 a.m. - Fruit, Coffee, Juice
    9:30 a.m. - Welcome, Opening Prayer by Fr. Thomas Baima, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs 
    9:40 a.m. - ACTA Foundation Fr. O'Malley Project and Amazing Contributions of Fr. O'Malley by Msgr. John Canary, Vicar General Emeritus and Fr. Ron Lewinski, Delegate for Parish Transformation. 
    10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. - Two talks each by noted scripture scholars Fr. John Lodge, professor of Biblical Studies, and Fr. John Kartje, Rector/President
    4:00 p.m. - Mass with Fr. John Kartje
    The Conference will take place at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, Conference Center, Room 102
    To register please contact Mary Bertram at or sign up conference 2015.  The complete cost for the day will be only $10.
  • Now Hiring: Digital Marketing Manager | 8/13/2015

    University of Saint Mary of the Lake

    Mundelein Seminary

      Position Description

     Title of Position:                   Digital Marketing Manager

     Department:                        Office of Institutional Advancement

     Supervisor:                         Vice President for Institutional Advancement

     FLSA Status:                               Exempt

     Position Type:                      Full Time

     Hours to be worked:             8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday – 40 hours


    Appointment:                        The Digital Marketing Manager is appointed by the Vice President for Institutional Advancement after consultation with the Vice Rector and Rector.         

    Job Summary:

    The Digital Marketing Manager is responsible for developing and overseeing online marketing and fundraising strategies and content to promote the mission of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, one of the top tier graduate theological seminaries in the United States. This individual is responsible for the development, implementation, tracking and optimization of USML’s marketing and fundraising campaigns across all online channels, and works on the Advancement team to ensure the consistency of the USML brand and voice across marketing and fundraising channels


    • Devising strategies to drive online traffic to the and websites
    • Developing and coordinating content for digital marketing channels
    • Tracking conversion rates and making improvements to the website
    • Developing and managing digital marketing and fundraising campaigns
    • Overseeing the social media strategy for the organization
    • Overseeing improvements to the usability, design, content and conversion rates of the and websites
    • Responsibility for planning and budgetary control of all digital marketing and fundraising
    • Understanding our digital audience (donors, supporters, etc.), their motivations, and the organizational landscape to help drive strategy
    • Reviewing new technologies and keep the organization at the forefront of developments in digital marketing and fundraising
    • When needed, assisting with print media/communications efforts for Mundelein Seminary
    • Assistance in providing marketing strategies/action plan for all seminary platforms of communication, including email marketing, social media, web copy, print materials, etc.
    • Assist Vice President for Institutional Advancement in creating and building a planning and evaluation system for setting annual, ongoing and long-term marketing goals/objectives for Mundelein Seminary


    • Bachelor’s degree or 5 years experience in marketing, with a theological base of understanding and/or social media experience preferred
    • Development or fundraising background preferred
    • Professional writing and communications experience, ideally focused on blogs, email marketing and/or social media
    • Ability to write and schedule content that engages audiences across digital channels
    • Basic knowledge of social media metrics reporting, and ability to share insights on a continual basis with communications and development teams.
    • Excellent computer skills - Microsoft Office Suite, WordPress, email distribution experience (including basic understanding of HTML) preferred
    • Self-directed, organized and personable individual
    • Able and willing to accept additional responsibilities and/or assignments after discussion with the Vice President of Institutional Advancement
    • The applicant should have the ability to interact appropriately with individuals at all levels of the organization and be able to work with people of diverse races, cultures and religions.



    Sandy Hessler 
    Administrative Assistant

    Updated 07/2015

  • 26 Mundelein Seminarians at the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF) in Omaha | 7/10/2015


    We have 26 Mundelein seminarians at the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF) in Omaha this summer. Some of our priests visited them. While they were there they prayed Vespers and enjoyed a dinner out at an Omaha restaurant.

  • Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima meets Pope Francis in International Encounter | 6/30/2015


    The Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, was an invited delegate to the international encounter of Buddhists and Catholics held last week at Castel Gandolfo, Italy.  The theme was Suffering, Liberation and Fraternity.  Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, gave the keynote address.  The project is part of the 50thanniversary of the Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate, on the Church’s relationship with other religions.  Father Baima, who is an expert in interreligious affairs, delivered one of the major presentations on “Fraternity in the Christian Tradition” before the 43 delegates.  Joining Father Baima in the Chicago delegation were the Rev. Andrew Luczak, pastor of Saint Isaac Jogues Parish in Niles and Susan Pudelek, M.Div., from the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii.  Both work with the Archdiocesan Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.  The delegation from the Buddhist Council of the Midwest included Rev. Asayo Horibe (Heartland Buddhist Sangha, Evanston), Acharya Fleet Maull and Aarti Tejuja (Shamballah Meditation Center, Chicago), Rev. Ron Miamura (Midwest Buddhist Temple, Old Town), Rev. Patti Nakai (Buddhist Temple of Chicago) and the Venerable Man Pau (Fo Guang Shan Temple, Naperville).

    On Wednesday, the members of the dialogue traveled to Vatican City for an hour long session with His Holiness, Pope Francis.  Pope Francis has stressed that “fraternity is an essential human quality, for we are all relational beings.  A lively awareness of our relatedness helps us to look upon and treat each person as a true sister or brother; without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society and a solid and lasting peace.”  It is the Pope’s hope that the Buddhist and Catholic delegates who participated in this encounter can evolve a new model of interreligious dialogue  which moves beyond simply understanding each other and empowers joint social engagement.

    A video of the papal audience can be seen through this link:

    The encounter was co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago along with Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC, all of which have long histories of local Buddhist and Catholic relations. It was coordinated by the Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affaris of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  • Dr. David Fagerberg Speaks at the University Club of Chicago | 5/27/2015


    This year's Paluch Lecturer, Dr. David Fagerberg of Notre Dame, spoke at the University Club of Chicago on May 26, 2015. The title of his lecture was "Making the World Whole: A Sacrificial Vision of Ordinary Life." The lecture explored the reason why we believe the liturgy uplifts the world. It offered much food for thought and a call to action in terms of consecrating the world to God. 

  • Honoring Our Lady of Fatima | 5/13/2015


    In honor of Our Lady of Fatima, the Guild of St. Mary came to the seminary today for Mass and a talk by our own Mariologist, Fr. James Presta. Following his talk on Marian apparitions, everyone prayed the Rosary at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. Thank goodness there is no competition between Marian apparitions.

  • Lecture Rescheduled: April 22 to May 26 | 4/21/2015


    Due to the schedule surrounding Francis Cardinal George's funeral services, Mundelein Seminary has had to reschedule the luncheon lecture with Dr. David Fagerberg titled "Making the World Whole" from April 22 to May 26. Time and location remain the same. 

    Sorry for the inconvenience. Please pray for the repose of the Cardinal's soul. 

  • Part of Something Big: 2015 Celebration of Mundelein Seminary | 4/17/2015


    The 2015 Celebration of Mundelein Seminary was spectacular, bringing together everyone who makes the work of the seminary possible. The seminarians arrived early at the Sheraton Hotel, fighting their way through the Chicago traffic earning some of them less time in purgatory. Archbishop Cupich then arrived, easily mingling in the crowd and generously offering himself for selfies with the guests. Then the bells rang, and the night began.

    Bishop Rojas and Cheri and Lawrence Klock were this year’s awardees, respectively receiving the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin “As Those Who Serve” Award and the Francis Cardinal George “Christo Gloria” Award. Fr. Barron introduced Bishop Rojas as the best theologically trained bishop in the country – because he taught him! The bishop talked about his experience as an immigrant and his experience ministering to immigrants, calling on everyone to reach out and help them make this home.

    Archbishop Cupich graciously introduced Cheri and Lawarence Klock. He stressed the need we all have to be part of something big. After his installation as the Archbishop of Chicago, he asked his little nephew what he liked most about Chicago. His nephew said that he liked how big it was, especially the skyscrapers. His nephew liked that because he was part of something big. The Archbishop said that everyone has this need. But when he turned the microphone over to Cheri Klock, we were all amazed to hear how big she thinks the seminary’s mission is. She asked all to be part of this great mission. It could not have been said better!


    Mrs. Klock spoke of the absolute need to support the seminary since it is where priests are formed to bring you Christ. What is more important than that? A priest is mightier than the angels since through him God comes to man. St. Teresa of Avila said that she kisses the ground a priest walks on. Mrs. Klock drew the right conclusion: Mundelein is sacred ground! She also talked about her noble task of adopting a seminarian in prayer. She encouraged everyone to do this, for only through prayer will vocations blossom. Prayer is the wellspring of the Church. We could not have asked for a better talk about the importance of the seminary and priesthood for the world.


    Mr. Klock joked that when he heard he received the award he could think of many reasons why he would receive it but he couldn’t understand why his wife Cheri would be awarded. He was obviously joking, given that his wife has helped the seminary and the seminarians in countless ways. Mr. Klock gave a stunning endorsement of Fr. Barron as rector of the seminary, calling Fr. Barron “the walking definition.” We thank Mr. Klock for his generous support.

  • Archbishop Blase J. Cupich's First Address to the Seminarians | 3/26/2015


    On March 25, 2015, the Feast of the Annunciation, Archbishop Cupich delivered his first address to the seminarians. He stressed three things: Word, Sacrament and Community. Firstly, the Archbishop called all the seminarians to invite the Word into their lives like Mary's fiat (the ground of all discipleship). Secondly, he said that as priests they must see themselves as sacrament. Through their participation in the ministerial priesthood of Christ they bring the Divine Life to the People of God. Lastly, he stressed the importance of community and friendship amongst seminarians and priests. This is indispensible because it is not only healthy but reflective of the deeper communion of the Church and the Trinity. 


  • Sherry Weddell Speaks at USML on Forming Intentional Disciples | 3/13/2015


    Sherry Weddell delivered a two-day talk at USML on forming intentional disciples. She stressed the importance of having parishes concerned with mission instead of maintenance. Also, she explained the process of conversion we are all called to follow which is, in its essence, falling in love with our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Like Pope Benedict in his Jesus of Nazareth, Ms. Weddell hopes that all Christians intimately know Jesus and not just about him. 

    If you would like to learn more about Ms. Weddell's ministry, please visit:



  • Cardinal Edward M. Egan, Mundelein Seminary Alumnus, Dies at 82 | 3/5/2015


    A native of Oak Park, IL and alumnus of Mundelein Seminary, Cardinal Edward M. Egan, former Archbishop of New York City, dies at the age of eighty-two. Read more here. 


  • History Matters: Mundelein Seminary Presentation at Cook Memorial Library in Libertyville, IL | 3/3/2015


    Mundelein Seminary is the largest priesthood training program in the nation today, preparing priests for 31 dioceses around the world. Author Gail Kahover presents highlights from her book Mundelein Seminary, including a pictorial history of the school's visionary and founder, photos of construction from concept to completion, and stories of the institution's growth and the seminarians who have attended it. 

    Monday, March 16 at 7 p.m.

    Cook Park Library, Libertyville

    REGISTER: 847-362-2330,, or at the library.


  • Festival of Forgiveness at Mundelein Seminary | 2/27/2015


    Festival of Forgiveness - This weekend, Mundelein Seminary will participate in the Festival of Forgiveness, an opportunity to invite people to seek healing and forgiveness at Church, “a place of mercy freely given.” The Sacrament of Penance will be offered for 24-hours, from noon Friday until noon Saturday. Confessions will be heard in the Main Chapel (Chapel of the Immaculate Conception). We are grateful to our priest faculty who volunteered to hear confessions. Over twenty other parish locations will participate in this unique Lenten opportunity.

  • Catholic New World Features Article on Basketball Tournament | 2/11/2015


    The Catholic New World recently featured an article on the Father Pat O'Malley Basketball Invitational held here at Mundelein Seminary. Seminary teams from around the country came out to Mundelein to compete. Our seminarians came in third place. Fr. Robert Barron, commenting on the community these types of events builds amongst our future priests, said, "It brings us together. Look at all of the guys here,” he said. “They’re fighting their way on the court and then they all come together in their common love for the priesthood.” The basketball invitational is a good way for the future Church to connect  so as to join in our common participation in furthering the mission of Christ. 


  • Virtual Library: Former Rector Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy | 2/5/2015


    Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy, Rector of Mundelein Seminary (1973-1978),  left a legacy not only at Mundelein but also in the dioceses where he served as bishop and archbishop (Great Falls, MT; Seattle, WA). Cardinal George called him a "personal friend and great archbishop." The Cardinal also said, "He [Archbishop Murphy] was a source of inspiration in his life and his actions, which were fed by an imagination that was as lively as his intelligence was deep."  

    A high school just north of Seattle is named after Archbishop Murphy, embracing "the Murphy way": "Do Good, Give Respect, Show Excellence, Live Faith." In honor of him, the school created a virtual library that provides a rich, personal and interactive glimpse into the life and ministry of the archbishop. The library lets one walk through each stage of the archbishop's life from his childhood in Chicago to the end of his life in Seattle. There is also a feature that allows one to discover the meaning of his coat of arms. But, most impressively, it offers an inventory of more than 900 of the archbishop’s written works, including homilies, prayers, addresses and personal reflections, beginning in the early 1970s and ending at the time of this death.

    Vist the virtual library to learn more about Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy and his lasting legacy.

  • The Mundelein Lakers Take Third Place | 2/2/2015


    Congratulations to the Mundelein Lakers for taking third place in the 2015 Fr. Pat O'Malley Basketball Invitational. Kenrick-Glennon Seminary took first place; and Mount Saint Mary's took second. For more information on the basketball tournament and team ranking, visit the website

    Due to yesterday's winter storm, the seminarian guests stayed overnight at Mundelein. All the semarinarians were able to say Morning Prayer and Mass together this morning. Safe travels on your journey back. 

  • Aquinas Colloquium: Dr. Reinhard Hütter on Newman and Aquinas | 1/29/2015


    On the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Dr. Reinhard Hütter of Duke Divinity School delivered a lecture on Newman and Aquinas. He looked at Newman's distinction between faith and private judgment in matters of religion. According to Dr. Hütter, Newman and Aquinas converge in their accounts of faith. Divine faith obliterates private judgment in religion because it is "thinking and acting exercised in relation to God who is its primary object." Faith and the Church are inseparable. Dr. Hütter highlighted the consequence drew by Newman and Aquinas that if the authority of the Church is denied, it follows that the faith is denied as well.

    We greatly appreciate Dr. Matthew Levering for organizing this colloquium.  

    For more information about Dr. Reinhard Hütter, please visit his faculty page on the Duke Divinity School website: Dr. Hütter faculty page

  • Fr. Pat O'Malley Invitational Basketball Tournament | 1/28/2015


    This weekend we are hosting many seminaries from all over the nation to Mundelein for the Fr. Pat O'Malley Invitational Basketball Tournament. This will take place from January 30 – February 1. Our basketball team has been exhaustively preparing for the competition. Make sure you fill out your brakets!

    Download your brakets here


    Here is our team in action: 

  • March for Life 2015 | 1/23/2015


    Each year on the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision people gather in Washington, D.C. for the March for Life. Thanks to our friends and benefactors thirty two seminarians and two faculty members attended the March. The night before the March a Vigil Mass was held at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, was the principal celebrant and homilist. As Christians we believe that every life from conception to death is a gift of God, and every person is made in the image and likeness of God. It is the duty of the strong to protect the weak. The purpose of the March is to call the rulers to recognize this truth to form a civilization of love. 


    Watch this video from the USCCB called "Masterpieces of God's Creation":

  • Meyer Lecture Series: Sherry Anne Weddell on "Forming Intentional Disciples" | 1/21/2015


    Admission is free, but reservations are required 

    Please register, here:

    If you need to register by phone, please call 847-566-6401

    Overnight accommodations are available for adults (18 years and older) in the Conference Center special rate: $60.00 (meals not included)

    For overnight accomodations, please call: 847-837-4505


    This year we are pleased to have Sherry Weddell as the 2015 Meyer Lecturer. She is the author of the best-selling book, Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus. The book takes into consideration the immense challenge of evangelizing Catholics today. Here is a brief description of what will be covered in her talk:

    • Five thresholds of postmodern conversion
    • How to open a conversation about faith and belief
    • How to ask thought-provoking questions and establish an atmosphere of trust. 
    • When to tell the Great Story of Jesus
    • How to help someone response to God's call to intentional discipleship.


    Schedule of Events

    Thursday, March 12, 2015 

    7:00 p.m.         Welcome by the Rector (Auditorium)

                            Introduction to the program by the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs

     7:15 p.m.         Keynote Address – Sherry Weddell

     8:00 p.m.         Discussion

     8:30 p.m.         Break

    Friday, March 13, 2015

    7:15 a.m.         Morning Prayer (John Paul II Chapel – North Residence Hall                                                        Building 900 – visitors welcome to attend)

    7:40 a.m.         Mass

    8:20 a.m.         Breakfast (Refectory)

    9:00 a.m.         Introduction to program (Auditorium)

    9:05 a.m.         Keynote Address – Sherry Weddell

    9:50 a.m.         Discussion

    10:15 a.m.       Break

    10:30 a.m.       Responses

    11:30 a.m.       Panel Discussion

    12:00 p.m.       Conclusion

  • Fr. Edward T. Oakes, S.J. Memorial | 1/14/2015


     Last year Fr. Edward T. Oakes, S.J., professor of dogmatic theology, passed away, leaving many beloved friends, students, and colleauges here at here at Mundelein Seminary and University of St. Mary of the Lake. In honor of Fr. Oakes, the seminarians organized a memorial for him, recalling what they learned from this great scholar of Hans Urs von Balthasar. Two seminarians, Stephen Durkee and Kyle Kilpatrick, read papers in honor of Fr. Oakes, focusing on some Balthasarian themes they learned from him. Mr. Durkee talked about the influence Balthasar's Heart of the World has had on his prayer life, and Mr. Kilpatrick explained Balthsar's Trinitarian Theology and its role in the New Evangelization. 

    Stephen Durkee's paper: 

    Last year I was thrilled to join a book-study group led by Fr. Oakes. The book we would read was, Heart of the World, by Hans Urs von Balthasar. Though my experience of Fr. Oakes was very brief, I will never forget the awe and wonder in which he spoke about Heart of the World. It was a book he had read many times before; evident by the wear and tear of his copy of the book. I would quickly discover what Fr. Oakes already knew: Heart of the World truly is a spiritual treasure, not because von Balthasar was a renowned theologian, but also because von Balthasar was a holy man who had a beautiful relationship with the Lord. What I hope to give you all today is snap shot of the book that has born much fruit in my prayer life.

    Heart of the World reads like a conversation between a sinner and Jesus Christ. Speaking of that first encounter with Christ von Balthasar states, “This is a love that knows the depths. It lives in us, establishes itself within us as a center; we live from it; it fills and nourishes us…This is no longer ourselves; in a most immediate, hardly distinguishable proximity, this is the Lord in us” (pg. 33 HW) Obviously, von Balthasar read Fr. Barron’s book on the three paths, “finding the center”… or maybe Fr. Barron stole it from von Balthasar! Regardless, the point is clear: the experience of Christ’s love is life changing. Once we have it and recognize it, that love begins to change us from the inside out and informs every aspect of our lives.

    Of course we all know that the spiritual life is full of ups and downs. Balthasar captures this aspect of the spiritual life well. He writes, “We have grown used to this love. And we no longer hear the tapping finger that knocks day and night at the gate of our soul; we no longer hear this question, this request to enter” (pg. 57). This is the travesty that faces us today. So many of our family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ have experienced God’s healing love. But many, have grown used to it. And they have forgotten about Jesus, who desires to be nothing more than our most intimate friend. This is the New Evangelization. To reach those who have experienced Christ in their lives but have grown deaf to his voice in recent years. For this reason, for us here, it is crucial that we avoid laziness in our prayer life, lest we forget about our closest friend. Urging us to overcome this spiritual apathy, Jesus responds to the sinner, My friend:

    The Father has drawn you to me. 

    You are free. The angel nudged you on the side, the clamps fell from your wrists, the gate flew open on its own, and the two of you floated out past the sleeping guards until you reached freedom. You still think it was a dream. Rub the sleep out of your eyes. You are free to go wherever you please.

    But look: many of your brothers are still languishing in prison. Are you going to enjoy your freedom while they suffer? Or do you want to help me loosen their shackles, and together with me to share their prison? pg. 144

    Friends, Jesus has called us to share in his mission. Von Balthasar emphasizes that “perhaps the going forth from God is still more divine than the return home to God” (pg. 33). Jesus desires to use us in his mission —- that is “the task of proclaiming the Father in the world” (pg. 35). In a particular way for us seminarians, we must want nothing more than to share in Jesus’ mission as “mirror[s] and window[s] of the Father” (pg. 37). The New Evangelization requires that we cultivate our relationship with Christ, so that when people meet us in the confessional, they meet a fatherly man; A man who knows Christ and preaches the love of the Father. To conclude, von Balthasar expresses this desire of our Lord Jesus, he states, “For my work must be perfected in you and it will be brought to term only when my Heart beats in yours, only when all hearts, now submissive and docile, beat for the Father together in my Heart” (pg. 81).

    Kyle Kilpatrick's paper: 

    It was Fr. Ed Oakes who first taught me to love the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar and opened my eyes to the beauty of his writings. Fr. Oakes has made Balthasar's work very accessible to the whole English speaking world through his writing and translations, and I personally am very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from him.

    One of the great insights developed by Balthasar is the connection between the economic and immanent life of the Trinity. He picks up on an idea proposed by the Scholastics, that “the Inner divine processions are the condition of possibility for a creation. The divine ideas for a possible world derive from that everlasting circulation of life, founded as it is on the total and unconditional gift of each hypostasis to the others.” Balthasar develops the idea that the eternal processions of love are the basis not just for creation, but also for the redemptive work of God. When the eternal Son makes an outpouring of himself to live through a human nature in the kenotic action of the Incarnation, which leads ultimately to his suffering on the cross, this is a manifestation of the “Trinitarian thanksgiving, the Trinitarian Eucharist of the Son.” The Son becoming man is his own 'putting out into the deep', the freely chosen act of love for man which is a manifestation of the love he eternally gives to and receives from the Father. So the mission of Christ, and thus also the mission which he has handed on to the Church, is to manifest the love of the Son for the Father.

    Saint John Paul II's great call for the New Evangelization is to 'put out into the deep'. This is precisely what the Son does in becoming man for our salvation. He descends into the depths of human sin, suffering, and death. This is why the descent into Hell is so important for Balthasar. It is the fullest expression of the Son's going into the deep to draw all men back to his Father. “The descent of Christ alone into the abyss becomes the ascent of all from the same depths.”

    Putting out into the deep is not only the work of Christ, but the entire Church, since “Christian existence is a reflection of the form of Christ.” This gives a theological and Trinitarian form to the New Evangelization. We are, with Christ, called to go into the deep, into every place of human darkness and suffering, to bring Christ to it so he can ascend back to his Father and draw all back to Him. This perhaps applies in a particular way to those of us whom the Lord has called to the priesthood. We are to bear the light of Christ into the darkness of people's lives, but also to take on the darkness and suffering of the world like Christ, to 'fill up in our own flesh what is lacking in his sufferings.' In doing so, we will truly be living in persona Christi. Balthasar says: “Christians can occupy no determinate place in the Paschal Mystery. Their place is neither in front of the cross nor behind it, but on both its sides.” We who would evangelize a broken world must live in the tension of a victory that has been won but not yet extended to all parts of the world.

    One final note: One of the primary means Balthasar proposes for the reconciliation of creation to the Father which we are called to mediate is the Eucharist: “It is the Eucharist which must gather all creation into his Body.” Balthasar very interestingly notes that the appearances of the resurrected Christ which depict his ability to eat common food manifest his power to transform into the new age the realities of the old. The same applies to the Eucharist, the food of the new age, whose consumption transforms the old into the new. As we gather to give thanks for the life and work of Father Ed Oakes, let us remember that above all he was, and is forever, a priest of Jesus Christ, who on earth offered the eternal sacrifice of reconciliation to the Father, and now shares in that eternal thanksgiving. May we who are called to extend that reconciliation to all men likewise put out into the deep, handing ourselves over as Christ did, and bring everything we 'catch' there back to adoration and thanksgiving to the Father.

  • 2014: A Year to Remember | 12/31/2014


     2014 was a year to remember. We have been grateful for the many seminarians we have had the grace to form as the Church's future priests. Last year we had 192 seminarians; this year we have 210, making Mundelein Seminary the largest Catholic seminary in America. Here is a list of what happened in 2014:

    1. Saint John Paul II Chapel Dedication Mass: Cardinal George dedicated the altar of our new chapel dedicated to the “father” of the New Evangelization, Saint John Paul II. The hope of this chapel is that it will inspire the many seminarians who pray there to live lives of saintly holiness. Adorned along its walls are stained glass windows of the saints who either influenced Saint John Paul II or were canonized or beatified by him. Each of their lives tell the story of encounter and mission, the dynamic each life ought to follow.
    2. Dr. Scott Hahn as the McEssy Distinguished Visiting Professor in Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization: We were happy to welcome Dr. Hahn to Mundelein. It has been a privilege to participate in the fruits of his scholarship. Last semester he taught our seminarians a class on the Johannine Literature. We are sure it is more substantial than Stephen Colbert’s witty critique of Bart Erhman's reading of John's Gospel on the Colbert Report. 
    3. The Installation of Archbishop Blase J. Cupich: The seminarians had many chances to meet our new Archbishop. He said Mass at the seminary several times, supporting the seminarians as their new shepherd. Also, the seminarians had a chance to thank Cardinal George and his steadfast leadership of the Church in Chicago and abroad. Thank you to Cardinal George for his vision and guidance.
    4. The Re-dedication of the Grotto: After the Rector’s Mass, Fr. Barron re-dedicated the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. The Grotto has been restored so that our seminarians may have a better setting to pray to the Blessed Mother. As the primordial disciple, we hope our seminarians grow close to her so they may be able to participate in her great “fiat” to the Lord.
    5. Pilgrimage to France: Fr. James Presta led the seminarians in 2nd year Theology throughout France. They went to visit the Little Flower (Terese of Lisieux), the Cure of Ars (St. John Vianney), Paris, the beaches of Normandy, Chartres Cathedral and Mont Saint-Michel.
    6. 50,000+ Donations: This year we crossed a major threshold of 50,000 donations. Thank you for all your financial support. Your contribution helps in the formation of the Church’s future priests.
    7. Dr. David Fagerberg as the 2014-2015 Paluch Lecturer: Notre Dame’s liturgical theologian, Dr. David Fagerberg, is this year’s Paluch Lecturer. His first lecture to the seminarians was on Romantic Theological particularly in the work of Charles Williams.
    8. George Weigel on Saint John Paul II: After the Dedication Mass of Saint John Paul II Chapel, George Weigel gave a lecture on the legacy of Saint John Paul II. The eminent biographer of the Pope shared his many experiences with the saint, all confirming his holiness and down-to-earth character. As a Baltimore native, Mr. Weigel was very kind enough to remind the Chicagoans in the audience that they are forever indebted to Baltimore, America’s first diocese, for the faith.
    9. The Mundelein Seminary Lecture Series: This year we instituted a lecture series in downtown Chicago that gives the wider public a chance to benefit from the fruits of the seminary. In March, Fr. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C., gave a sold-out talk on Notre Dame and the future of Catholic Higher Education. In September, Fr. Robert Barron gave a talk on the theology of the Temple, claiming that the duty of the Church is to “edenize” the world. We hope people may deepen their understanding of the faith so that they may, in turn, deepen their work of creation. 
  • 2014 Sounds of Christmas Concert | 12/8/2014


    Last Sunday, Mundelein Seminary hosted its annual Christmas Concert. Rich Daniels and the City Lights Orchestra played to a packed house. Following intermission, the Mundelein Seminary Choir joined the Orchestra to perform "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel", "O Magnum Mysterium, Lauridsen" and many other Christmas songs. We hope you left the concert humming the songs proclaming the coming of our Lord. 


    Venite adoremus, venite adoremus, venite adoremus Dominum. 

  • Cardinal Mundelein's Americana, Pope Francis and Google Scholar | 11/21/2014


    Lorraine Olley is the director of the Feehan Memorial Library and the McEssy Theological Resource Center at USML. She has been at USML since 2007 and had many illustrious predecessors.  She has a background in Academic Librarianship and this is her first position as a Theological Librarian. Her specific academic background is in preservation, which makes the Feehan Memorial library a perfect place for her given its great historical collection.  Also, she has an M.A. in Divinity from the University of Chicago, which makes her an even better fit! When she was at the University of Chicago, she was most interested in the History of Religions, and studied with Mircea Eliade, the creator of Comparative Religion and Mythology.

    Although she was raised in Chicago, Ms. Olley did not know the seminary existed until she interviewed for the librarian position she now occupies at Mundelein Seminary. 

    Tell us about the Feehan Memorial Library at Mundelein Seminary?

    Over the library is the inscription “Wisdom has built herself a home” (Sapientia Aedificavit Sibi Domum), which I think expresses the essence of the library. It is not a storehouse, but it is a source of collected wisdom of the Scriptures and the Church.

    Speaking of Collections: You have a collection of Cardinal Mundelein’s gifts to the seminary on display. Could you tell us about that collection?

    Cardinal Mundelein collected things!  He collected many rare, unique and now increasingly valuable artifacts to enrich the seminarians’ experience to appreciate culture and the higher things. Also, he did it to enhance the reputation of the seminary as a place of higher education and to highlight the “American” part of the American Catholic Church. But although we have an extensive Americana collection, much of the collection echoes the Vatican Library’s collection.  We have a collection of sacred letters – written or signed - by either blesseds or saints from the 12th Century to the mid-19th Century. We also have a canceled check signed by Padre Pio. The sacred letters collection is a reflection of the Vatican’s own manuscript collection. We have a collection of ancient papal coins and medals. Cardinal Mundelein thought that it was important to have a numismatics collection at the seminary just like the Vatican library.  This year I was able to visit the Numismatics Department of the Vatican Library. In August, the department director, Dr. Eleanora Giampiccolo, visited the Feehan Library to look at our collection. It was very exciting to make that connection. 

    Part of the collection that has great prestige is a collection of incunabula [an incunabulum is a book printed before 1501]. Around the time of the Eucharistic Congress in the 1920s a book collector from Germany came to Chicago with a collection of 2,000 books printed around the time of the Gutenberg Bible in the 1470s up to 1500. Cardinal Mundelein was able to either purchase - or receive as a gift -around 40 of these books. The one that got away is a three-volume copy of the Gutenberg Bible, printed on vellum, which Mundelein could not afford. It became the jewel in the crown at the Library of Congress Rare Book Department. So, in total, we have about 55 of these very rare books. Most of the university libraries that I have worked in have about one or two.

    Who are some of the Saints in the sacred letters collection?

    We have an extensive collection of St. Robert Bellarmine’s letters, which we are sharing with the historical archives of the Gregorian in Rome. We also have the writings of St. John Bosco, St. Francis de Sales, a couple of the Popes (Pius VI), a famous letter by St. Teresa of Avila which had gone missing until we had rediscovered it here at Mundelein a few years ago. Many of the saints represented in the collection are obscure now but they were very important at the time.

    You also have a collection of American letters? 

    Yes. This was a surprise to me.

    Cardinal Mundelein was an admirer of the Founding Fathers, right?

    Yes. In fact, his name’s sake ‘George’ is reflected all over the campus. In front of the Cardinal’s Villa is a statue of St. George.  But you also have signs of George Washington everywhere. The Cardinal’s Villa is modeled after George Washington’s villa at Mount Vernon. We have several signatures of George Washington. One of the most remarkable is a land survey prepared by George Washington when he worked as a surveyor. It is a survey of a little plot in Virginia that George Washington worked on, and includes his signature. Cardinal Mundelein collected as much Americana as he could afford. One of his main thrusts was to show that one could be both a good American citizen and a good Catholic at one and the same time. This was very controversial given that Catholic immigrants were persecuted in the 19th  and 20th centuries. We are blessed to have a set of the signatures of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. This is priceless. I think there are a dozen sets around the world. We have a set of signatures of all the presidents and their cabinets through Calvin Coolidge. We have the signatures of all of the Supreme Court Justices through Truman. And we have been adding sporadically to those collections. We have about six or seven signatures of Abraham Lincoln.

    The campus is reflective of this Americana theme. The building exteriors are Georgian Classicist and the Interiors are Roman. In fact, on the ceiling of the Feehan Memorial Library you have the Barberini Bees. The interior of Feehan is modeled on the interior of the villa Mundelein studied in while he was a seminarian in Rome. That villa belonged to the Barberini Family; Pope Urban VIII was a Barberini. We have a papal coin with the Barberini Bees – the coat of arms of the Barberini family. Those bees are incorporated in Mundelein’s coat of arms. In 2010, the library made the American Library Association’s list of the 250 world’s great libraries. That is a huge honor. 

    I know that you have been having some correspondence with Cardinal Mundelein’s relatives. Tell us about that.                                                              

    It has been an interesting development. Mundelein was a son of German immigrants. He grew up in Brooklyn. He was born here, but his family is originally from Paderborn, Germany. Since the 1990s, there has been some interest from the citizens of Paderborn and Mundelein, Illinois to start a correspondence. I met a man from Paderborn during Mundelein Village’s Centennial. He knows some of the Mundelein family still in Germany. When the gentleman was here this October, he brought me a photo of the matriarch of the Mundelein family with a greeting. The great nephew of Cardinal Mundelein was married this August in St. James Chapel in Chicago. We lent him Cardinal Mundelein’s chalice for his wedding Mass.

    The Eucharistic Congress: Tell us about that monumental event.                        

    The 1926 Eucharistic Congress was the first one to occur in the New World and Mundelein brought it to Chicago, not the East Coast. There was the Cardinals Train. Mundelein even had 20th Century Fox make a film about this. He was very much into the technology of his time. The film starts with the Cardinals in Europe boarding steamboats to travel to America. Soldier’s Field was used for five events during the Congress. There was a children’s choir of sixty thousand. Eight hundred thousand people came to Mundelein Seminary the last day of the Congress for Mass and a 2-mile procession around the lake.  The library had not been built yet, so there was a large open space. The photos show that people came from all around the world (Asians, Eskimos, Native Americans). It was a huge event for the city of Chicago and the Catholic Church in the United States. 

    Can you explain the history of the Feehan Memorial Library?

    The library was one of the last buildings to be built on the seminary campus. It was completed in the summer of 1929 right before the onset of the Great Depression. Mundelein had agents go over to Europe to purchase libraries from monasteries that were closing. Even though our seminary was built in the 1920s our book collection goes back to the 16th century and earlier for the incunabula. Over the years, we have had great librarians, comprised of priests and lay people, adding books that are usually reflective of course curriculums. We have an extensive collection in Scripture and Patristics. Due to Mundelein’s Americana interests, we have a really nice Civil War collection.

    Since we are “people of the book,” theology has been, in relation to other fields, late in coming into the Electronic Age. Now we rely on electronic databases instead of print to delve into the literature. I find there is some pushback in using electronic databases, but then I remind people that even the Pope tweets. More and more books are being made available electronically. That helps us because it allows us to provide resources for our seminarians to continue to study even when they are not on campus ­– such as when they are in the Holy Land or on internship, they will have access to electronic resources if they have internet connection.  It is really exciting to reach out in that way. Another way the library is reaching out with electronic resources is through a service that provides full text articles to priests in the Archdiocese to use that service, mostly for homily preparation. There are around one thousand two hundred searches conducted a month on that site. Priests are continuing their intellectual formation on that site.

    Pope Francis has said “You get to know Jesus out and about in your everyday, daily life. You cannot know Jesus where it’s peace and quiet, or in the library.” But that statement seems counter to an important component of Christian culture, especially monastic culture. Even Cardinal Mundelein intentionally placed the library next to the Chapel. What are your thoughts on Pope Francis’ words? 

    We are a people of the book and a people of the Word. Jesus is the Word of God and the library is where words reside. Even before Christianity, the scrolls and texts captured the memory of great human thinkers but also the memory of what God said to Moses or how God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. The library supports an active memory. It is not supposed to be a warehouse. It is supposed to cultivate a living memory where connections can be made. When I talk to seminarians about the importance of using the library I will sometimes ask them to think of it as a place where you can take a book and have St. Teresa of Avila speak to you. You can have a conversation with her as you read and contemplate what she has said. You can converse with Ignatius of Antioch, Origen, Aquinas, if you try really hard. This is a living memory, not just a storehouse. This is really important to maintain the old classics and continue to add as more are created. 

    As for Pope Francis, “not finding Jesus in the library”, well, he’s a Jesuit. Some of the most learned men I know are Jesuits, so he really didn’t mean it. 

    The Library makes the Word and Man manifest through studying the scriptures and the tradition. A culture that separates faith and reason does damage to both. As St. John Paul II said in Fides et Ratio, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves. Why is it important that priests continually study philosophy and theology?

    A quick way of answering is that there is nothing new under the sun and we pick that up from Fr. Barron in his Word on Fire. He will write an article and people respond. He will comment back that the Pelagian heresy rears its head again. So, what we have is a fresh way of arguing against and/or enlightening people who either consciously or unconsciously espouse an old error. It is important to be conversant with the heritage so that a priest can build on his knowledge to guide people in contemporary situations. One of my goals as a librarian is to make sure Mundelein has a collection representative of the thinking our future priests will confront as they deal with their parishioners who are exposed to the culture. I made sure we had books of the New Athiesm: i.e. Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett books. We also have Episcopalian Bishop Eugene Robinson’s book on why gay marriage is fine. Our seminarians need to know what our culture is thinking. They need to have and convey a good understanding of what Catholic teaching is and why it is.  Taking things on faith is just not going to work anymore in contemporary society, like it did before Vatican II where you just repeated what the Church said.

    The Search Engine and Scholarship: Many scholars with the search engine can have access to so much more information than ever before but it can also lead to a superficial reading of things. So you have many dissertations that lack substance and do not have a good grasp of one thinker or even one work. Thomas Aquinas memorized the whole Bible, but one wonders if anyone is capable of this in the Internet Age. What is the challenge of the library in today’s culture? Many people do not ask for the help of a librarian anymore since they think a search engine, like Google, can do it for them?

    The big challenge, in terms of students and scholars, is getting them to be aware of what they miss when they rely on “Google Scholar”, a tool that is not really tailored to their area of research. Part of the challenge is to get them to wonder about what they are missing. For example, when you search Teresa of Avila in Google Scholar you will get screens of information. There is nothing to guide the researcher intelligently through that information. You might get a scholarly article, a superficial news article, etc. The librarian helps with the evaluation and interpretation of the loads of information out there. We spend quite a bit of our resources on describing and organzing books in our collection so that it makes sense. We gather things intelligently. There is a book called Men Behaving Badly. It is about the First Book of Samuel. If you didn’t have a librarian, someone might have thought it was about psychology or criminology. There is a lot of intellectual effort that goes into selecting and arranging the fruits of scholarship throughout the ages. This is the librarian’s biggest contribution these days.



  • Archbishop Blase J. Cupich's Homily During Installation Mass | 11/18/2014


    Bienvenido, Witam, Mabuay, Dobro dosli, Welcome.

    I am delighted and honoured to be your archbishop.

    So many of you in this cathedral today have come – from near and so very far – friends and family, brother bishops and priests, religious, lay women and men. Former parishioners and pastors from Omaha, Rapid City, Spokane have joined us as well. Your being here consoles me with the hope that our friendships will continue to endure in the years ahead. Last night, I had a chance to welcome my brother bishops, and now I am pleased to greet our papal nuncio, Archbishop Vigano. We all know how demanding your schedule is, Archbishop, and so we offer our thanks to you, not only for being with us today, but for all you do to so ably represent Pope Francis, our Holy Father, who is well-loved and who makes us proud.

    When it came to selecting a date for the installation, November 18 seemed to be a great fit. The Commemoration of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul gives me a chance to recognize all immigrants, as I recall my own immigrant grandparents who helped establish my home parish of Saints Peter and Paul in Omaha. Additionally, the Church’s calendar today celebrates St. Philippine Duchesne, someone the Native People honored with the name Woman Who Prays Always. She reminds us of the extraordinary contribution women religious have made and continue to make to the church and society. I intend to honor and give thanks for all these people today, especially for family and immigrants, Native Americans and religious sisters – all of whom have shaped so much of our faith, our lives and our Church ministries.

    But I have to admit, I had a bit of a panic attack when I saw the Gospel provided in the Lectionary for this day, which we have just heard. I realize this new responsibility is going to be demanding, but seriously folks, I don’t do “walking on water.” I can barely swim. So I hope this image in today’s Gospel is not reflective of anyone’s expectations.

    In all honesty, what intrigues me about the readings for today, is how the Gospel and the first reading from Acts complement each other in the language and symbolism they share in common. The Gospel recounts Jesus, during his earthly life, walking on water, inviting Peter to join him, and Acts witnesses to how Paul and the Church, animated by the Spirit, following the resurrection, now cross the seas to evangelize and invite the Gentiles, all people, to encounter and to walk with the Risen Christ. That interplay of the two texts is so rich and captures something St. Leo the Great wrote centuries ago (cf., Catechism of the Catholic Church 1114- 1115).

    Pope Leo remarked that everything which was visible in Jesus’ words and actions during his hidden life and public ministry has passed over after Christ’s resurrection into the sacraments and the life of the Church. That truth is on full display in the readings today, to the point that the Gospel is more than an account of Jesus walking on water, more than a story of Jesus revealing his divinity to the disciples by a stunning show of power. Read alongside the story of Paul’s missionary journey, this Gospel text becomes a point of reference to understand the meaning of the resurrection, how the Risen Lord is working in our midst today, and how disciples in all ages, how the Church in our time, should view its mission.

    Simply put, we are to join Christ in seeking out, inviting, and accompanying, by abiding with those to whom he sends us. Each one of those aspects of our mission, seeking out, inviting and accompanying deserves a closer look.


    Seeking Out

    Jesus’ walk across the waters is intentional. He has come to seek out and to save the troubled, those who are lost. But, this scene from Matthew’s Gospel offers us a new insight; it gives us a glimpse into what compels him to take up this mission. Jesus, we are told, has been on the mountain, in the quiet intimacy of prayer with his Father. That experience of sharing life with the Father is what moves him, prompts him to go out and seek others, so that they too may have this life. He is so driven in this mission that nothing stands in his way, not even the obstacle of crossing over water on his own. Sharing his life in the Father with us is the source of his enthusiasm and determination, is his motivation for seeking out the disciples and is the reason why he has come into the world.

    We see a similar kind of drive and enthusiasm in people from time to time, where something so transformative and life giving happens to them, leaving them with no alternative but to spend their life sharing their experience with others. I have seen this kind of enthusiasm in great teachers. Their drive and incentive goes way beyond getting through the curriculum or earning a paycheck. What inspires the really good teacher is the transformative experience of insight that comes in learning. Really good teachers delight in seeing the light of discovery go on in their students’ eyes and they never pass up the chance to make that happen.

    Marie Walsh was such a person. I brought her communion on First Fridays during my first years as a priest. A retired English teacher, she never passed up a chance to share her knowledge of literature and language. Marie suffered from diverticulitis, and could only take a small part of the host. One day, after giving her the Eucharist and a sip of water, she began to cough and so I said “Marie would you like to lay down.” She sharply muttered something, which I didn’t catch, and so I asked her, “Marie, what did you say?” She held the back of my neck, and with a laugh in her voice scolded me: “I said ‘chickens lay eggs; people lie down.’” She was correcting my grammar! It didn’t matter if she was in great pain or frail, she was going to make sure I spoke proper English.

    We face in our day the formidable task of passing on the faith to the next generation, of evangelizing a modern and sometimes skeptical culture, not to mention inspiring young people to serve the Church as priests and religious. It all seems so daunting, as daunting as walking on water. We are at sea, unsteady in our approach faced with these concerns. Catechists and educators are on the front line of this struggle. So, too, parents and grandparents wonder if they are going to be the last Catholics in their family. Likewise bishops and priests find that the Good News is increasingly difficult to proclaim in the midst of great polarization in church and society.

    Jesus tells all of us today to go back to where our journey of faith began, to be in touch with the joyful experience of being transformed by the intimacy God offers us, to be willing to share it with the next generation. Young people have always been attracted to authenticity of life, where words match deeds. Let’s not be afraid to let our young people know about our life with God and how it began. Like Marie Walsh, let’s stay close to them, so close that we can hold them by the neck, and tell them what it means for us to believe, and share with them how the Gospel has brought joy and meaning to us and transformed our lives. Such witness of personal faith many times has made the skeptic take a second look, has inspired vocations, and in my experience, animates our advocacy on behalf of human dignity with joy and compassion, purifying it of anger, harshness and fear.

    The authenticity that comes in making our own baptismal calling the starting point for all we do is also demanded of me as your archbishop, particularly as I reach out to those who have been sexually abused by Church leaders. That starting point will always be needed for me and my brother bishops to keep fresh the serious duty to honor and keep the promises we made in 2002. Working together to protect children, to bring healing to victim survivors and to rebuild the trust that has been shattered in our communities by our mishandling is our sacred duty, as is holding each other accountable, for that is what we pledge to do.


    Jesus seeks out, but then he invites. “Come,” he says to Peter, “walk on the stormy waters with me.” Peter’s response is a brave act for an experienced fisherman. But, it is the kind of daring and boldness required today, the courage to leave our comfort zone and take an entirely new step in our faith journey, both personally and as a community. There is resistance in each of us to take that risk. We can be self-satisfied where we are. Pope Francis tells us that the temptation is to think and say “I’m religious enough, I’m Catholic enough, or for Church leaders to resist needed reform by claiming “we haven’t done that before” or “you cannot say that.”

    We all have some anxiety and hesitancy to change, and I’ve noticed that many times in life we deal with the tension by joking about our resistance to change, to grow, to become more, beyond the minimum and enter more deeply into life with God. A friend who is a baseball fan tells me that when he thinks about getting into heaven, he is counting on being able “to slide in to home plate on a steal.”

    One hot sultry day, I was boarding a plane and was struggling to put my carry-on bag into the overhead bin. The people behind me weren’t happy with me holding up the line as the air- conditioning wasn’t on. Finally, the man next to me, put his bag down, took mine in hand and effortlessly shoved it in the compartment, leaving me somewhat embarrassed. Then, to my surprise he said at the top of his voice for all to hear, “Well Father, will that get me to heaven?” I was so flustered, all I could think to say was, “Gee, I hope not on this flight!”

    Jesus invites us, not only to take the risk of leaving our comfort zone, but also to deal with the tension involved in change, not dismissively but in a creative way, and to challenge each other to do so. Maybe, we hear that challenge today as a call to leave behind our comforting convictions that episodic Sunday Mass attendance is good enough, that we don’t really have to change our habitual bad behavior, our unhealthy dependencies, our inordinate attachments, because we can get by as we are, because they have not gotten us into any serious trouble yet, or just because we are afraid of the unknown.

    Pope Francis is giving voice to this invitation in our day, by inviting the Church to come and walk with Christ, as he is always doing something new. It is an invitation to leave behind the comfort of going the familiar way. He is challenging us to recognize that Christ is always inviting us to more, to greater things. It is the kind of invitation our bishops’ conference is making to our nation to be what it has always promised to be, to protect the vulnerable, poor and weak, to treat immigrants with justice and dignity, to respect life and to be good stewards of creation. It is the invitation of Jesus, “Come, take the risk of being more.”


    Finally, Jesus gets into the boat. I have always thought that it took more courage for Jesus to get into that boat with those disciples than for Peter to get out of it to walk on water. There was fear, doubt, jealousy even anger in that boat – a lot of unresolved conflicts as a therapist might say.

    But, it is in the incomplete, the in-between and in the brokenness of our lives where Jesus comes to share his life in the Father with us. His coming to be with us, his communion with us is not for the perfect, but is for the salvation of souls, for the lost, the forlorn, and those who are adrift. His communion is not just a quick visit, but he wants to be with us to the point of making our lives the dwelling place, the home where he and the Father abide. After going to the mountain to pray, to be with his Father, he comes into our messy lives with his Father in hand, to share our lives where we are.

    It is that grace of the indwelling of the Spirit, the love of the Father and the Son, which has always been the source of real, ongoing and sustainable conversion. It is the grace of mercy, totally undeserved and unearned, that brings about real lasting change and transformation and gives life.



    So, we as a Church should not fear leaving the security of familiar shores, the peacefulness of the mountaintop of our self-assuredness and walk into the mess. A military chaplain recently told me that soldiers easily know where to find him in the battle encampment because the chaplain’s tent is most often next to the medical tent.

    While Pope Francis is famous for urging the Church to be a field hospital and pastors to know the smell of the sheep, Blessed Pope Paul VI expressed a similar sentiment with an inspiring message to my classmates nearly forty years ago on their day of ordination. This is what he said:

    “Know how to accept as an invitation the very reproach which perhaps, and often unjustly, the world hurls against the Messenger of the Gospel. Know how to listen to the groan of the poor, the candid voice of the child, the thoughtful cry of youth, the complaint of the tired worker, the sigh of the suffering and the criticism of the thinker. But, ‘Never be afraid.’ The Lord has repeated it.” (Homily, June 29, 1975)

    Of course as our papal nuncio reminded the bishops just last week, St. John Paul II began his pontificate with Christ’s comforting words to the disciples, “Do not fear.” Archbishop Vigano? then added: “we must not be afraid to walk with our Holy Father (Pope Francis) and to trust in the infinite value of following the Holy Spirit as our First Teacher in guiding the Church.”

    That is the urging of the Word of God today. Just as Jesus left the peacefulness of his mountain top prayer to embrace the disciples in all their too human and fallible journey, so now the Church in our day is called to be faithful to its mission, the mission taken up by Paul and Peter, by putting aside her fears and the allure of false securities, and leap into the turbulent but creative waters of life in the world with the guidance of God and the charge of the Gospel.

    Not being afraid is the gift that separates the disciple before and after the resurrection as we see in the responses of Peter and Paul through the readings today. Yet, it is providential that Peter experienced the terror that stormy night, for he could then uniquely witness for the Church in all ages through his successors, the power of the resurrection to vanquish all fears, disappointments, hesitations and doubts.

    Peter could then witness how the resurrection is not just a past event, but an ongoing reality. He could remind us that what Jesus did in crossing the sea, he did again, by crossing from death to life, from eternity to our time, as he continues to make that crossing with us in our day. He could tell us that Jesus came back from the dead for us, to be with us. That is the reason we are not afraid – because we are not alone.

    That is why now in our day Peter in his successor, Pope Francis, urges us to take up the task of crossing the seas to seek out, to invite and to accompany others, because the Risen Christ is in the boat with us.



  • Encuentro de Peruanos del Medio Oeste de los EUA | 10/31/2014


    On October 4th, the I Encuentro de Peruanos del Medio Oeste de los Estados Unidos de America held a conference at Mundelein Seminary entitlted "Promoviendo Cultura y Fraternidad." Among the many speakers, Ministro Efrain Saavedra was the main speaker of the event. Thanks to Rev. Elmer Romero and all the seminarians for organizing this event. Muchas gracias! 


    If you would like to watch the conference speeches, they are listed below:


    Ministro Agustin De Madalengoitia: "Cultura de la Fraternidad: base para una communidad solidare"

    Dr. Gustavo Saberbein: "Familia, Comunidad y Progreso"


    Diacono Julio Lam: "Migracion y Vocacion" 

    Dr. Jose Galvez: "Compartiendo Experiencias"


    Ministro Efrain Saavedra: "El Orgullo de Ser Peruano"


    Presentacion de Peruvian Dance Folk Center - Ruben Pachas 






  • George Weigel on Saint Pope John Paul II | 10/28/2014


    On October 19th, George Weigel delievered a lecture on Saint Pope John Paul II at Mundelein Seminary. Mr. Weigel concluded his talk saying that the saint called all Christians back to Galilee to meet the Lord in the "encounter" that begets communion. From this can we go forth making disciples of all nations, drawing them into communion with Christ. 

    Watch George Weigel's lecture here: 


  • Dr. Denis McNamara Featured in CNA Article | 10/8/2014



    Faculty member and Assitant Director of the Liturgical Institute Dr. Denis McNamara was recently featured in an article by the Catholic News Agency. The article covers a conference that took place in Colorado Springs, CO by The Society for Catholic Liturgy. The conference explored the link between Solomon's Temple and Catholic churches. Please read the article:


  • Mundelein Seminary Presents: Fr. Barron on Saint Thomas Aquinas | 1/22/2014

    Stay tuned for a series of upcoming Mundelein Seminary exclusives with Fr. Barron...

    In this series of exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews brought to you by Mundelein Seminary, Fr. Barron takes us through the meaning behind the stained glass windows, each dedicated to a different Saint, in the Seminary's new Blessed John Paul II Chapel.


  • Mundelein Seminary Presents: Fr. Barron on Blessed Frassati | 1/14/2014

    Stay tuned for a series of upcoming Mundelein Seminary exclusives with Fr. Barron...

    In this series of exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews brought to you by Mundelein Seminary, Fr. Barron takes us through the meaning behind the stained glass windows, each dedicated to a different Saint, in the Seminary's new Blessed John Paul II Chapel.


    Learn more about the Blessed John Paul II Chapel renovations here.

  • Fr. Barron Exclusive: The Blessed John Paul II Chapel | 1/3/2014

    Stay tuned for a series of upcoming Mundelein Seminary exclusives with Fr. Barron...

    The new Blessed John Paul II Chapel at Mundelein Seminary is making great progress. Here, we go behind-the-scenes with Fr. Barron, who explains the meaningful changes taking place.

    Check out the Photo Gallery of the Blessed John Paul II Chapel Here

  • The Most Meaningful Gift this Season | 11/27/2013

    Help provide the best environment for young men to strengthen their knowledge and faith as they prepare to spend a lifetime in priestly ministry to serve the faithful...

    God continues to bless us with faithful young men who answer the call to join the vocation of the priesthood.

    We turn to priests during the most significant times of our lives. As celebrants at Mass, weddings, baptisms, anointing of the sick, funerals, and countless other moments of grace, our priests are there to guide us. The seminary is “a seedbed” where young men who use their courage and their intelligence live a life of service in Jesus Christ.

    When you make a gift to the University of Saint Mary of theLake/Mundelein Seminary, you’re joining thousands of supporters who help provide the best environment for young men to strengthen their knowledge and faith as they prepare to spend a lifetime in priestly ministry to serve the faithful here, around the country and the world.

    Make a Gift

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