Springtime at the Seminary

Panaramic view of Moreau Seminary and Lake

On the second Monday of each month this year, we will hear from one of the seminarians from Moreau Seminary. Kicking this series off is someone already well-known to our Spes Unica followers — Mr. Brian Ching, C.S.C., who blogged for us last year on his experiences at St. John Vianney Parish and now returns to Moreau as the Dean of the Seminarians. The timing of his post is quite providential because, as Brian fills us in, this year's new crop of seminarians arrives tomorrow! So please keep them in your prayers!

With the seminarians out on summer placements and the finally professed staff taking time off here and there, summer break at Moreau is very much like winter – empty and quiet, as life seems to lay dormant, just waiting to return. These first few weeks of August on the other hand are much like spring, as Moreau becomes a veritable beehive of activity as the temporarily professed return from their summer placements or the novitiate and the candidates arrive at Moreau for the first time. There are bags and boxes need unpacking, furniture that needs arranging, and books that need shelving, as we all begin to settle in for the upcoming school year.
While those of us already in temporary vows have been in and out of Moreau all summer, our first true seeds of life arrived on Tuesday night as seven men returned to us from the Holy Cross Novitiate, in Cascade, Colorado, after professing their first vows on July 30. The First Profession of Vows and the return of the newly professed to Moreau is always a moment of great joy not just for the seminary community but for all of us in Holy Cross. It is always amazing to see the effect that the Novitiate has had on these men. While it is difficult to put a finger on what exactly is different about them, the work of the Novitiate is evident in them and they return not just as friends, but as true brothers in Holy Cross.

Tomorrow we await the arrival the second important group to our seminary community, the candidates. These twelve men have courageously decided to spend a year of their lives discerning whether or not God is calling them to the vowed life in Holy Cross and to open their hearts to listen to God’s voice in a formation community. These men are signs of hope for all of us because they are reminders that young men are still listening for the voice of God in their lives and are still attracted to the vowed religious life as a way of answering that call.

2010 Newly Professed Seminarians

Aside from the unpacking and settling in, the most important part of these first days of August is the fostering of those bonds of fraternity that tie us together in Holy Cross. For some of us, this process is just a catching up on how the summer went. For others, it means the first sharing of stories of their Novitiate experience (stories I might add, that will be told repeatedly throughout their lives in Holy Cross). Yet for all of us, it means getting to know those new members of our community, and giving them a chance to get to know us. To that end, after all the unpacking and room arranging is done, the seminarians leave on Thursday for a week of getting to know one another known as “Deer Porte” or simply “camp.”

Seminarians at Camp 2010

Seminarians have been starting the school year with “camp” (albeit in different places) since the 1930’s and it is now a venerable tradition in the life of the seminary, however it is difficult to explain exactly what it is. Camp is part retreat, part orientation, and part just having fun together. It is important that we begin the year with camp because it is a way for us to develop or redevelop those relationships that are so important to us during our time in formation and indeed our entire lives in Holy Cross. Camp gives us an opportunity to deepen our relationship with the Lord, with our formation staff, and with each other.

As we begin this new formation year, the seminary community sincerely asks for your prayers and we devotedly assure you of ours.

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