We had the joy of welcoming nearly 350 parishioners along with their parish priests to campus for a Mass of Thanksgiving and Celebration. These people have collaborated with our seminarians in their Teaching Parishes this year as Parish Committee Members and Supervisors in their ministry.
As we finished our first full year of the new Teaching Parish Program, many of the representatives from our 85 parishes had words of gratitude and praise to share about witnessing the vocations of the 174 seminarians that had been sent out to their parishes to learn and to serve this year. Tom and Diane Adam, the Committee Chairpersons from St. James in Arlington Heights, expressed hope that many young people would be inspired the consider vocations to priesthood and religious life through meeting the seminarians in their parishes year after year. Marlon and Ellie Pacheco, from Most Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan, shared what a privilege it has been to get to know their seminarians this year and to be inspired by the men who are preparing themselves to serve the Hispanic communities in the Archdiocese of Chicago and beyond.
In his homily at Mass, Father John Kartje, Rector of Mundelein Seminary, spoke to a full chapel about the challenges the seminary, the parishes, and the seminarians face today. While the seminarians have much they need to learn in the classroom, they cannot spend all their time there. At the same time, while the seminarians have much to share in the parishes, neither can they spend all there. Father Kartje noted that while maintaining a good balance can often be challenging, “it is a task too important for us to fail at.”
As the seminary celebrates the Academic Convocation on Saturday, May 5th, we will be grateful for all our departing men have learned with us at Mundelein, In the several months that come ahead, we will gratefully witness their ordinations to priesthood, as they begin to give themselves over completely to the service of God in his people in their dioceses and parishes.