On October 28, the seminary social committee, chaired by Jacob Rose (S’ 13, Peoria), hosted its annual Oktoberfest party. The events, beginning after Vespers, featured a number of tasty autumn delights such as bratwursts, polish sausage, sauerkraut, pretzel rolls, and many more, though many reported that the highlight of the evening was the macaroni and cheese made by Matt Deptula (S’ 15, Peoria). Not to be outdone by the food, a number of beers were also available for sampling. With many of the lay faculty attending the festivities, the seminarians enjoyed seeing some of their children who came dressed in Halloween costumes. Additionally, the evening included the annual pumpkin carving contest won by Neil Pettit (S’ 13, Lafayette, LA) who skillfully carved the seminary’s McSweeny Hall into his pumpkin, resulting in a $100 cash prize.
On Mary’s Mountain
On the weekend of October 21-23, a total of 49 different seminarians representing 19 dioceses welcomed numerous family members to the Mount in the sixth annual seminary family weekend. The activity-filled weekend gave the 146 visiting family members a unique view into the life of a seminarian. Beginning on Friday night, the seminarians and visitors celebrated Vespers together in Immaculate Conception chapel followed by a social in the rec-room. On Saturday, the families attended presentations describing the seminary formation delivered by the rector, Msgr. Steven P. Rohlfs, and other faculty members directly involved with the four pillars of formation; academic, human, pastoral, and spiritual. Saturday evening ended with a formal dinner in the William H. Keeler Seminary Dining Room attended by the visiting family members and their host seminarians. The family weekend concluded the next day with a solemn Mass on Sunday morning celebrated by Msgr. Rohlfs.
On the evening of October 20, the seminary’s flag football and sand volleyball teams competed for the university’s intramural championship. Although the seminary has become accustomed in recent years to dominating the university’s intramural athletics, this past week saw the seminarians fall in both of these title quests.
The volleyball team, captained by Mark Cusick (S’ 13, Washington) fell at the hands of a squad fielded by university students in a hard fought three set match. After dropping the first set, the seminarians responded with an easy victory in the middle set. Despite a roaring comeback in the critical third set, the team was not able to overcome the early deficit, dropping the championship game two sets to one. Describing the team’s effort, Thomas Gallagher (S’ 15, Arlington) said, “We left it all on the court, lots of diving, and we had a roaring comeback in the third game,” but in the end, the team fell just a bit short in their attempt at bringing the trophy home to the seminary.
Likewise, the flag football captained by Neil Pettit (S’ 13, Lafayette, LA) suffered a 7-6 defeat in the championship game played under the lights at Waldron Family Stadium. Finshing the regular season 6-0 behind the capable leadership of quarterbacks Thomas Haan (S’ 13, Lafayette-in-Indiana) and Stephen Jagla (S’ 16, Fort Wayne-South Bend), the team of 21 seminarians arrived in the championship game after two straight victories in the playoffs. However, facing difficult competition in the title match, the seminary team was only able to muster one touchdown in the defensive duel. In the end, it was the failed extra point attempt which made the difference in the 7-6 loss. The seminarians had a fine season, finishing 8-1, but the bitter taste from the championship defeat will leave them thirsty for victory heading into next fall.
Seminarians Take Advantage of Fall Break This past week was Mount St. Mary’s Fall Break, and the men did not fail to take advantage of the time off for relaxation, fraternity, and spiritual growth. While a good percentage of the house typically returns home during the academic breaks, this year four groups of seminarians enjoyed an exciting week off from school with a variety of memorable activities.
A total of 25 men from the recently formed New Evangelization Club participated in the second campus mission trip to George Mason University in Braddock, VA. After making a similar trip during last year’s Spring Break, the club, led by Thomas Cavanaugh (S’ 13, Arlington) and Thomas Gallagher (S’15, Arlington) once again invaded the campus of George Mason this past Wednesday through Friday in an attempt to bring Christ to campus through one on one dialogue with undergraduate students.
From Sunday to Wednesday of the break, another group of ten seminarians traveled to World’s End Park to camp, hike, and pray in the midst of the beautiful mountains, trails, and streams of the north-central Pennsylvania Appalachian mountains. The annual camping trip was begun by five seminarians in the Spring of 2008. The tradition has continued each year since with Deacons Mark Starr (Atlanta) and Greg Haman (Fargo) spearheading the trip this year.
The ten seminarians hailing from Wichita, KS traveled as a group to the Outer Banks, NC where they rented a house on the ocean for the week. Despite the chilly temperatures in many parts of the country this time of year, the Wichita men found the ocean waters to be comfortable enough for swimming, spending a great amount of time in the North Carolina water while also growing together as diocesan brothers. Perhaps the greatest achievement was the construction of a mammoth sand castle which had passing cars stopping to take pictures and inspect the fine work built by the skilled hands from Wichita.
Lastly, a group of eight seminarians traveled with Mount faculty members, Fr. Frederick Miller and Fr. Ken Brighenti, along with two other priests to Ars, France on pilgrimage and retreat at the sites made famous by St. Jean Marie Vianney. In Ars, Fr. Miller led his eighth retreat time on the theme of “The Spirituality of the Diocesan Priesthood” in the very town made famous by the patron saint of priests. Over the five days on retreat, Fr. Miller explained how the extraordinary Curé of Ars is an example for those already ordained, or those preparing for the priesthood. Before returning to the United States, the group was blessed to spend a day in Paray-le-Monial where Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque assigning her with the mission of spreading devotion to his Sacred Heart. The pilgrimage was beneficial in innumerable ways, and the men will continue to reap the benefits of this memorable 2011 Fall Break for years to come.
Priests Return for Seminary’s 2011 Alumni Reunion The annual Priest’s Alumni Reunion was took place this past week, Monday through Wednesday. In total 82 priests were welcomed back to their mountain home, representing 29 dioceses and 36 different graduating classes. The priests returned from far and near, traveling from as far as Los Angeles and as close as our very own Archdiocese of Baltimore. Fr. Hugh McGroarty (C’ 42, S’45, Scranton), was the longest ordained returning alum, while Fr. John Reutemann (S’ 10, Washington), was the most recently ordained priest to participate in the events. Highlights of the reunion were the annual Mass in Immaculate Conception Chapel on Tuesday afternoon celebrated by Bishop Barry Knestout (S’ 89, Washington). Following the Mass, the returning alumni enjoyed a fine meal along with the men from the seminary’s Class of 2012. The next day, Fr. Eric Hall (S’ 01, Wheeling-Charleston) celebrated Mass for the alumni and current seminarians at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes as his classmate Fr. Stephen McGraw (S’ 01, Arlington) preached a memorable homily. Fr. Donald Worch (S’ 67, Washington) received the 36th Annual John Cardinal McCloskey award given to the alum recognized for his distinguished and dedicated service to the mission of the Church, and who by his efforts has brought honor to his Alma Mater, Mount St. Mary’s. The award is named in honor of Mount graduate and America’s first cardinal, Archbishop John McCloskey. Overall, it was a joy for the alumni, faculty, and current seminarians to once again spend a few beautiful days with so many Mount alumni who have collectively touched the lives of an inestimable number.