Greetings from Mundelein Seminary!
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Matt 6:21) In the Second Vatican Council’s great document on priestly formation, Optatam Totius, the seminary is described as “the heart of the diocese” (par. 5). I cannot think of a better way to phrase it. The heart stands at the very core of the body, drawing in the lifeblood from all regions and reinvigorating it with new energy, only to send it out again in service once more. At Mundelein we receive men from parishes and dioceses throughout the world, but we also receive countless prayers, support and visitors from those parishes as well. Here all these elements come together as the seminarians are given the foundation and nurturing necessary for the formation of diocesan priests, ready to be sent by their bishops into parish ministry.
Our “heart” is providing new spiritual life to the dioceses we serve. Our Second Theology class received the ministry of Acolyte from Bishop Hying of the Diocese of Gary, marking a significant step along their vocational journey toward priesthood. This important liturgical ministry illustrates the blending of rich sacramental theology with pastoral service to the community. No sooner had the Acolyte Mass concluded than we hosted the visit of several men from various dioceses on an Exploring Priesthood Weekend. In their own way, they too were looking deep into the heart of their discernment, receiving fresh insights and new graces to help them listen to God’s call in their lives. Finally, we had a particularly fruitful gathering of our Board of Advisors, representing bishops and dedicated lay men and women from across the country. At that meeting, it was palpably evident to me how blessed we are as a seminary community to receive from—and give back to—the national and universal Church. That’s what an ecclesial heart is meant to do.
Every diocese manifests the Body of Christ, and that Body has a heart: the diocesan seminary. Neither can survive without the other. One in body, one in heart.
Together in Christ, we are Mundelein. We form parish priests.
Fr. John Kartje