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On Mary’s Mountain


  The Daily Life of The Seminary Community
   Date: Jan 2014

The seminary community held its annual Spring Workshops on Friday January 24 and Saturday January 25. Each year during the spring semester different presenters are invited to conduct a two day informational seminar on a ministry related topic which is typically not covered in detail in the seminary’s formation program.

This year, we welcomed two speakers from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to help expand the horizons of the seminarians’ understanding of ministry in the modern world. First, Fr. David Garcia of the Archdiocese of San Antonio conducted three hour-long sessions on Friday afternoon and one further session on Saturday morning on the topic of Hispanic Ministry. Following Fr. Garcia, Joan Rosenhauer, the Executive Vice President of US Operations for CRS, spoke for two sessions on Catholic Social Doctrine in the life of the Church.

Both Fr. Garcia and Ms. Rosenhauer brought with them extensive knowledge and experience in their respective fields and were gracious in sharing their insight with the Mount community.

On the evening of January 15, the deacons in the seminary Class of 2014 returned from a nearly three week pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This year marked the third consecutive year that the fourth year men spent the majority of their Christmas break in the land where Christ Himself lived. Once again the group was accompanied by the seminary rector, Msgr. Steven P. Rohlfs, along with the esteemed scripture scholar and Mount professor, Dr. Steven Smith. After departing on December 28, the men spent the first week of the trip in Nazareth, touring various sites throughout Galilee while also traveling to Mount Carmel. 

Holy Land Pilgrimage

Next, the group made their way to the Sea of Galilee where they were privileged to make their five day canonical retreat in anticipation of the reception of priestly ordination this upcoming spring or summer. As has also become a custom, the retreat was led by Fr. Eamon Kelly, L.C. at the Pilgerhaus Retreat Center. At the retreat’s conclusion, the men next traveled to Jerusalem where they spent the last week of the trip before returning to the United States on January 15. Of the numerous highlights of the pilgrimage, all of the men agreed that the night spent in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was one of the most memorable and grace-filled experiences of the journey as well as simply having the opportunity to experience the culture and geography of the area where Jesus lived and carried out his ministry.

Holy Land Pilgrimage

After a three week Christmas break, the seminarians returned well rested in time for the annual mid-year silent retreat held January 6-10 at the seminary. The retreat master was former seminary vice-rector, Fr. Brett Brannen, who completed his six year tenure as vice-rector following the 2010-2011 academic year.

Silent Retreat

A 1994 graduate of Mount St. Mary’s, Fr. Brannen has served in numerous parishes in his diocese of Savannah, GA and is now the pastor at Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Savannah. During his term as vice-rector, he authored the book To Save a Thousand Souls which has been invaluable in assisting countless men in their vocational discernment. Fr. Brannen is also a skilled retreat master, having vast experience in offering various types of retreats and parish missions to a wide range of groups.

Silent Retreat

In the Mount’s retreat, Fr. Brannen held two conferences each day on various topics relevant to seminary life and the seminarian’s future priestly ministry. Aside from the conferences, strict silence was maintained throughout the week with the exception of the daily sacrifice of the Mass and the celebration of Morning and Evening Prayer. The silent nature of the retreat allowed the seminarians to enter into the desert with the Lord. At the conclusion of the retreat, the community welcomed one new seminarian who will be beginning formation and philosophical studies in the pre-theology program from the Diocese of Colorado Springs. Another man from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is returning to the seminary in the class of 1st theology after spending a year away.

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