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On Mary’s Mountain


  The Daily Life of The Seminary Community
   Date: Mar 2014

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, the seminary community held a solemn Mass for the second consecutive year at the Basilica and Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg.

St. Joseph Party

Following the afternoon Mass, the Daughters of Charity hosted the entire seminary community for a Spaghetti dinner. Although the tradition had been broken for some time, it had been the custom for many years for the seminarians to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph with the Daughters of Charity at their Emmitsburg Motherhouse. This tradition was renewed last year and once again, the Mount was pleased to be hosted by the Sisters for this year’s celebration and join them for dinner afterwards!

St. Joseph Party

Additionally, the annual Festa di San Guiseppe (Feast of St. Joseph) party hosted by seminary Vice-Rector of Pastoral Formation, Fr. Ken Brighenti, was held on Saturday evening, March 22. Since St. Joseph’s Day fell on a Wednesday of Lent this year, the festivities were held on Saturday evening in order to occur after the Sunday vigil had begun.

St. Joseph Party

As in previous years, many friends and family of Fr. Brighenti traveled to the seminary from New Jersey and Connecticut and assisted him in hosting the party. In keeping with the tradition of a St. Joseph Table, there was plenty of pizza, St. Joseph pastries, Italian cookies, Reggiano Parmegiano cheese, Italian bread and olive oil, prosciutto di parma, as well as homemade wine. After invoking St. Joseph’s intercession and the blessing over the food, the party officially began at 6pm. As the evening drew on, the community enjoyed the fraternity which always accompanies the yearly party.

St. Joseph Party

Father Vincent Tobin, a Benedictine monk of St. Meinrad Archabbey, Saint Meinrad, IN, visited the seminary this past weekend to serve as the retreat-master for the annual Lenten Day of Renewal. Fr. Tobin, a professed religious since 1954, is in his 55th year of priesthood, having been ordained in 1959. He is a Classics scholar and has vast experience teaching the ancient languages of the Church. The Day of Renewal began with a conference after Vespers on Friday night.

Lenten Day of Renewal

Another conference was held on Saturday morning followed by Mass celebrated by the seminary rector, Msgr. Steven Rohlfs, and preached by Fr. Tobin. Finally, the Day of Renewal was concluded with an afternoon conference. During all of the conferences, Fr. Tobin shared practical advice from so many years of priestly ministry. He strongly reiterated the prominent role the Psalms should occupy in the spiritual life of priests and seminarians due to the role they played in Jesus’ own life as well as the power they can possess in ecumenical efforts.

Lenten Day of Renewal

The annual Day of Renewal offers the seminarians an opportunity to step back from the regular seminary schedule to set aside a little extra time for prayer and spiritual advancement prior to Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum.

The internationally renowned Catholic author and commentator, George Weigel, spoke at Mount St. Mary’s on Thursday evening, March 13th. Weigel, perhaps best known for his best-selling biography of Pope John Paul II, Witness to Hope, is one of the foremost Catholic intellectuals in American history. His authorship of more than twenty books as well as countless articles led the seminary rector, Msgr. Steven Rohlfs, to rightly introduce him on Thursday night as “a veritable Erasmus in America.”

George Weigel

His lecture at the Mount, based on his most recently published book, Evangelical Catholicism released in 2013, was held at 7pm in the university’s Knott Auditorium. The hour long presentation took the audience through an analysis of various epochs in the history of the Church before eventually arriving at our current situation in the 21st century. He discussed several of the positive trends currently advancing in the Church and also spoke at length on the impact of the three most recent pontificates of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. Weigel’s insights are invaluable due to his close involvement with the inside functioning of the Church’s hierarchy. Among other things, he concluded that the witness of the individual Christian to his or her faith is the most powerful tool for the universal spread of Catholicism. At the conclusion of the lecture, Weigel answered questions for about twenty minutes before signing copies of his books.

The seminary Social Committee held the annual pre-Lenten Mardi Gras party on Tuesday March 4, the day before Ash Wednesday. The party, held in the seminary’s rec room, began after Vespers which was prayed in community at 5 pm. Dr. Jay Alexius, M.D. (S’ 2015, Lake Charles, LA) led the Social Committee in preparing for the party for the second consecutive year. Dr. Alexius who hails from Louisiana themed the seminary’s party after the annual festivities held in New Orleans.

Mardi Gras Party

The main food offered was a meat based gumbo popular throughout Louisiana. In addition to the seminarians, several of the lay faculty came to the party with their families including many children who enlivened the environment. The party is a tradition for Catholics throughout the world who take advantage of the final day of Ordinary Time before entering into the 6 week penitential season of Lent leading up to Easter.

Mardi Gras Party

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