The seven seminarians from Savannah, GA welcomed their ordinary, Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, and Vocation Director, Fr. Mark Van Alstine, to Mount St. Mary's Seminary this past week. Bishop Hartmayer and Fr. Van Alstine arrived on Wednesday and spent parts of the next three days at the Mount. Bishop Hartmayer was recently ordained a bishop and installed as the ordinary in Savannah this past October, and this week’s trip marked the first time the new bishop has had the opportunity to visit Mount St. Mary’s. He was the main celebrant at Mass each day, including the Spanish liturgy on Thursday, and he imparted a bit of his wisdom to the seminarians as the preacher on Wednesday. Likewise, Fr. Van Alstine was the homilist on Friday morning, offering to the seminarians a fresh interpretation of the resurrected Jesus’ appearance to the apostles in the fishing boat. On Thursday evening, both the bishop and vocation director had the opportunity to witness a bit of the spirit of the house by attending the weekly “community dinner” with their men. Each year the Mount is blessed to host a number of visiting vocation directors and bishops who come to conduct retreats and visit their men.
On Mary’s Mountain
Following Vespers on Friday the 13th the seminary hosted a celebration in honor of Fr. Lee Gross’s 25th anniversary of ordination. Fr. Gross has been on the seminary faculty for nearly 20 years serving as the Dean of Men and a professor of various subjects throughout his long tenure at the Mount. Originally from the area of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Fr. Gross first studied at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg before serving as a Lutheran minister. He later moved to the Episcopalian church where he continued in the role of minister, and eventually, in 1987, he made his final transition to the Catholic prebyterate, being ordained a priest for the Diocese of Arlington. Over the years, Fr. Gross has been well known for his passion expertise in the areas of liturgy and Latin, two subjects which he has taught for many years. He is also known for his penchant for visiting local eateries with seminarians on Saturday nights. One of his favorite locales is the restaurant Simply Asia in Thurmont, MD, so naturally Chinese food was ordered in bulk from this establishment for the whole community to enjoy in honor of Fr. Gross’ silver jubilee.