Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Patterson, NJ visited the seminary this past weekend to serve as the retreat-master for the annual Lenten Day of Renewal. Bishop Serratelli, a native of Newark, NJ, is an accomplished Scripture scholar, having studied at the Biblicum in Rome. He was installed as the fourth bishop of Patterson in 2004 after serving as Auxiliary Bishop of Newark for the previous four years. He opened the Day of Renewal with a conference after Vespers on Friday night. The next morning, another conference was held in the morning followed by Mass celebrated by Bishop Serratelli. Finally, the Day of Renewal was concluded with the final afternoon conference. During all of the conferences, Bishop Serratelli’s deep knowledge and love of the Scriptures was apparent as he adroitly brought out the wonder of the Bible, connecting it to the call to holiness necessary in the lives of priests and seminarians. The annual Day of Renewal offers the seminarians an opportunity to step back from the regular seminary schedule and set aside a little extra time for prayer and spiritual advancement prior to Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum.
On Mary’s Mountain
The 4th annual celebration of the Festa di San Guiseppe (Feast of St. Joseph)/St. Parick’s Day Party hosted by seminary Vice-Rector of Pastoral Formation, Fr. Ken Brighenti, was held on Saturday evening, March 16. As in previous years, many friends and family of Fr. Brighenti traveled to the seminary from New Jersey, Connecticut, and elsewhere to assist him in hosting the party. In keeping with the tradition of a St. Joseph Table, there was plenty of cheese pizza, St. Joseph pastries, Italian cookies, Reggiano Parmegiano cheese, Italian bread and olive oil, prosciutto di parma, as well as homemade wine. The annual party, which began at 5:30, is one of the highlights of the year among many of the seminarians who look forward to Fr. Brighenti’s generosity in sharing his Italian heritage with others. The evening would not have been possible without the generous support of a number of people, most notably Drs. Burkhard, who donated the St. Joseph Pastries, Dr. Frauenhoffer, who donated the cookies, Mr. Louis Falconeri, who donated the bread, cheese, and olive oil, Mr. Mario DeFilippis and Mr. Ciro Maddaluna, who brought their homemade wine, and Ms. Ann Louise Bongiovi and Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Tardiff, who provided the cold cuts and pizza.
Only a few minutes after the white smoke began rushing out of the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday March 13th, scores of seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s came rushing to the rec room to watch the events transpiring in the Vatican’s grand piazza. The looks of excitement, joy, and expectation on the faces of the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square was equaled by the spontaneous joy and anticipation that filled the rec room at America’s largest seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. By the time of the official “Habemus Papam” announcement, a great majority of the community gathered to await the initial address of the new pope. Along with the rest of the Church, immediately after the new pope’s identity was revealed, the seminarians began frantically searching for information about the new Sovereign Pontiff. After learning of the imitable pastoral qualities of the new Pope Francis, the seminary has joined the Universal Church in rejoicing at the election of such a worthy man to the See of St. Peter as the 266th pope in the Church’s history.
Plans for the Mount St. Mary’s Seminary schola to release its second CD took a big leap forward on March 8th when Sheffied Recording Company of Phoenix, MD arrived on campus to hold a rigorous two day recording session. Back in 2008, the seminary released its first CD, a collection of hymns and chants sung during a live celebration of Vespers. This time around, the schola recorded around twenty sacred hymns traditionally sung during the liturgical celebrations in the Advent and Christmas seasons. The Christmas themed CD will hopefully be available for purchase this upcoming November, offering the public a chance to allow the seminary’s schola to be a part of their future Christmas preparations.
While the schola’s twenty-four singers worked for more than thirteen hours with scores of individual takes during the two days of recording, the preparation for this CD has been ongoing for months. The seminary’s schola director, Ms. Julia Parker, first began working on the project last July, though her efforts have demanded a more heightened dedication since the beginning of the school year. Laboring for countless hours, the completion of the recording process is a great achievement for Ms. Parker who arrived at the Mount just over two years ago in January 2011. Prior to brining her musical abilities to Mary’s Mountain, Parker, a native of Virginia and South Carolina gained abundant experience working for various Catholic institutions in the Diocese of Columbus, OH. She held posts at Columbus’ seminary, the Pontifical College Josephinum, from 1998 to 2010 while also working at the cathedral and another large parish. Possessing skills as both an accomplished organist and an abundant knowledge of the Church’s tradition of sacred music, Parker now holds the positions of Director of Liturgical Music at the seminary, university organist, and the seminary’s instructor of Pastoral Music. Though the completion of the CD’s recording process is a huge step ahead, Ms. Parker will now turn her attention to the grueling process of editing the lengthy recordings before sending the final version back to the recording company.