During Vespers on Sunday February 19, the students of third and fourth theology took one of the final steps before approaching Holy Orders this coming spring. The third year men, preparing for ordination to the deaconate, made both the profession of faith and took the oath of fidelity to the diaconal office to which they will soon be ordained. Meanwhile, the fourth year deacons took the oath of fidelity to the sacerdotal office which will be bestowed upon them at their priestly ordination in a few short months. Prior to the profession of faith and taking of the oaths, the Mount’s rector, Msgr. Steven P. Rohlfs, gave a brief ferverino expounding upon the meaning and importance of an oath. The taking of oaths, Msgr. Rohlfs explained, is the most profound witness that one can make to his belief and dedication to a cause. Consequently, the canonical law of the Church requires that all candidates take such oaths prior to reception of Holy Orders. Numerous family, friends, and seminary faculty were on hand to witness these men on this joyous occasion in preparation for the orders.
On Mary’s Mountain
At the conclusion of the oath of fidelity and profession of faith during Sunday Vespers on February 19, the seminary celebrated with the final Slavinskas Feast. For the past six years, the family of Deacon Jonathan Slavinskas from the Diocese of Worcester, MA has hosted a grand feast for the entire community. Over the past half a decade, the seminarians have grown accustomed to the fine Italian dining provided by the Slavinskas family each spring. The occasion this year did not leave anyone disappointed either in the quality of food or in the generosity of the Slavinskases. With Deacon Jonathan set to be ordained a priest at the conclusion of this academic year, the feast this year was “the last supper” the Slavinskases will host at the Mount. This is an event that the veteran seminarians will surely miss in the coming years, though everyone is grateful to have had the opportunity to experience this great tradition and witness of Christian charity by the Slavinskas family.
Once again the seminary community hosted the Mount 2000 and Beyond retreat this past weekend for high school students. Mount 2000 is an annual Eucharistic retreat started by the seminarians prior to the year 2000 jubilee. The first retreat was such a success that the seminarians decided to continue it beyond the year 2000. The retreat lasting from Friday afternoon through Sunday offers high school youth a chance to come and hear some of the best and most dynamic Catholic speakers in the country, spend time with seminarians, priests, and religious, enjoy one another's company, and - most importantly - spend time with the Lord in the Sacraments: in Mass, in Confession, and especially in the time offered for prayer in front of the Eucharist. This year over 1,500 participants braved the Winter cold to travel to Emmitsburg and spend the weekend growing in their relationship with the Lord. Of particular note, seminarian Clayton Thompson (S’13, Lafayette-in-Indiana) was the chairman of the 2011 retreat, bearing the burden of coordinating, planning, and working to ensure the smooth running of the retreat and the best possible experience for all involved. To read more about the Mount 2000 retreat, visit the online website at www.mount2000andbeyond.com.
In lieu of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recent decision regarding mandatory contraception coverage by employee insurance policies, Mount St. Mary’s University president Thomas H. Powell designated Friday, February 10, as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Religious Liberty. In conjunction with this designation, a Gathering of Prayer for Religious Liberty was held at 12:30 in Founder’s Plaza on the Mount campus. President Powell and university chaplain, Fr. Brian Nolan, also stressed the need to heed the advice of St. Timothy who recommended in his first letter that fasting is the “soul of prayer”. The prayer gathering was attended by many of the seminarians and college students who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to take a stand against the proposed injustice in our land.
Along with millions of other Americans, Mount St. Mary’s seminarians gathered in the rec room en masse on Sunday, February 5, to partake in the annual Super Bowl party. The class of third theology was enlisted this year to provide the food and drinks for the rest of the house as a class fundraiser, and they did not disappoint. Highlights of the evening included three different versions of Jason Burchell’s (S’ 13, Arlington) famous chili, one of which was made with deer meat. While the seminary community includes both Giants and Patriots fans, perhaps the most passionate spectator was Paula Smaldone, the Executive Assistant to the Rector. Paula, a New Jersey native, was elated with the New York Giants Superbowl XLVI 21-17 defeat of the New England Patriots. Unfortunately the handful of Patriots fans in the seminary were not as thrilled with the result.