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On Mary’s Mountain

  The Daily Life of The Seminary Community
On the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 30, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary hosted a concert at Immaculate Conception Chapel performed by the world-renowned organist, Felix Hell. This concert was only the second time a public performance was played on the chapel’s organ which was purchased and installed in 2009 through the generous efforts of the Knights of Columbus....Click here to read more.
For the 10th consecutive year, the Mount’s soccer team took home the trophy in the annual inter-seminary soccer tournament. They competed with St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Theological College in Washington, DC, and St. Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia. This year’s contest was hosted by Theological College.
Forty-one soccer-playing seminarians travelled early Saturday morning down to Washington DC, where they joined seminarians from all four schools to attend Mass celebrated by St. Charles’ rector, Bishop Timothy Senior, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia. After Mass, Mount St. Mary’s played St. Mary’s in the first round. The Mount routed their Roland Park foes 6-0, led by Nicholas Blank (S’19, Arlington) who had two goals. Having dashed St. Mary’s hopes, the Mount moved on to their next opponent, Theological College, fresh from their morning victory over St. Charles Borromeo.
Late in the afternoon, the teams from Theological College and the Mount met in the title match. Although the competition was fierce, both sides exhibited a high degree of virtue and sportsmanship. In a truly tense game, dominated by impressive defense, the seminarians of Mount St. Mary's Seminary eked out a 2-1 victory.
Ben Dunkelberger (S’18, Harrisburg), who led the Mount in the championship bout with an impressive defensive performance, had this to say about his overall time: “It was a very communal experience, not only in the time spent with your own classmates and men from the Mount, but also in getting to know some of the other men studying for the priesthood in the other seminaries, and it was simply accomplished by sharing a fun and competitive day of soccer together!”
Following the day’s activities on the soccer field, all the seminarians convened to celebrate Vespers, highlighting their unity in the faith and the commonality of their vocation in Christ. The evening then concluded with a wonderful dinner graciously hosted by the seminarians and staff of Theological College.
Vianney Cup team
On Saturday, September 20, seminarians participated in the 10th Annual Catoctin Pregnancy Center Run for Life in Memory of Father Darin Didier. The event, which featured a 5K run and a 1-mile fun run, is held each year in honor of Fr. Darin Didier. Fr. Didier was an avid runner and Mount graduate who passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer shortly after his ordination to the priesthood in September 6, 2005. All of the funds raised from the event will be donated to the local Catoctin Pregnancy Center in Emmitsburg, which Fr. Didier worked to support during his time in seminary. The Pregnancy Center’s sole purpose is to help families in need, as well as crisis pregnancies through counseling and support. Their staff is comprised of kind, caring and loving people who volunteer their time, and they are supported exclusively through donations.
The event drew its largest crowd of participants this year with nearly 200 runners, 90 of which were seminarians. Blessed with beautiful weather, the course explored the woods and trails of the east campus. Many of the seminarians took this opportunity to support the work of the Catoctin Pregnancy Center, while at the same time posting personal records in the 5K and 1-mile categories. First place overall went to seminarian Andrew Labenz (S’ 17, Wichita) with an astonishingly fast 5K time of 17:54. 
Fr. Will Prospero, S.J.Fr. Prospero, formerly the Assistant Spiritual Director at the Mount, passed away on September 8, 2014. He came to the Mount just two years ago, but had to leave for treatment at the onset of his illness last fall.
During his short stay here, Fr. Prospero was a great inspiration to the seminarians as a confessor and spiritual director, but he had an even more profound influence after he left by the way in which he approached his death. His reflections on his suffering and its redemptive nature were deeply moving and truly inspirational.
One month before his passing, Fr. Prospero wrote: “Whenever we face the facts of our lives there should be a sobering effect. Hearing the truth of things should help us to be more aware of what the essentials are, what's most important, what is least important. Never before has my awareness of the importance of faith, family, and friends been so acute. I actively look for opportunities to pray with others or talk about matters of faith; nothing is more fulfilling for me than evangelizing. What an amazing gift our faith is!”
The seminary celebrated a Memorial Mass and the Office of the Dead on Thursday, September 11, while Fr. Dietrich represented the Mount at the funeral Mass for Fr. Prospero at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 
On Saturday, September 6th, the Mount’s new seminarians were introduced to the local area history by participating in the annual tour of the Gettysburg National Military Park and Battlefield. Rev. Mr. George Wunderlich, a deacon of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and a renowned Civil War historian, led the group on a three-hour tour around the historic town just north of Emmitsburg. Deacon Wunderlich frequently appears on various educational programs on the History Channel, National Geographic, BBC, A&E, PBS, and others. In addition, he has served as the executive director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine since the fall of 2002.
Unlike other tours offered at Gettysburg, Deacon Wunderlich’s tour offered a unique perspective by emphasizing specific details of the battle pertaining to the Catholic Church. In particular, the new men were impressed with the story of Fr. William Corby, a Catholic chaplain of an Irish brigade, who gave general absolution to his Catholic troops and inspired their protestant counterparts. Fr. Corby is honored with a memorial on the battlefield and is also memorialized in Notre Dame University, where he later served as president and contributed to the university’s nickname “the Fighting Irish.”
In conjunction with the tour of the historic town and battlefield, the new men prepared by viewing the epic four-and-a-half hour film, Gettysburg, directed by Ronald Maxwell.

Mount St. Mary’s Seminary hosted the yearly 40 Hours Eucharistic retreat as the community began the 2014-2015 academic year. This year The Most Reverend Frank Caggiano, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut served as the retreat master, providing valuable insights upon the virtue of hope and the value of a priest as a minister of hope.

The retreat, asking absolute silence from the seminarians, began on Friday afternoon with the communal celebration of Vespers and the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Bernard’s Chapel. Supported by the Bishop’s conferences, the seminarians were encouraged to spend hours in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord in adoration, in order to truly enter into a deep communication with Him who is the source of our hope.

The retreat concluded with the 11 AM Mass on Sunday morning in Immaculate Conception Chapel and a Eucharistic procession and benediction. 

new seminariansMount St. Mary’s Seminary, the nation’s second oldest seminary, convened its new academic year with an afternoon Mass on August 21. For the third consecutive year, the local ordinary, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore (S’ 77), celebrated the opening Mass at his alma mater. This year the Mount opens the year with 161 seminarians - 37 of whom are new to formation. Over the summer the seminary enhanced devotional areas, made improvements to the interior and exterior of the house, and hired two new theology faculty: Dr. John-Mark Miravalle and Fr. Pietro Rossotti, FSCB. More than 35 men in the house are enrolled in the pre-theology program, an intensive two-year course of philosophy studies prior to entering theology. The remaining students are spread throughout the four years of theology studies.

All the seminarians gathered for an afternoon of sports, games, and fellowship last Sunday. Right before the beginning of classes, the seminarians competed in a variety of sports and games, meant to build class unity, fraternity, and virtue.

Blessed with beautiful weather, the competition included beach volleyball, horseshoes, cornhole, Balderdash, Trivial Pursuit, basketball, golf and ping-pong, and the whole competition came to a head in a particularly intense match-up of tug-of-war.

The Class of 2017 came in first place, with notable victories in beach volleyball and tug-of-war. The afternoon was topped off with Evening Prayer, and dinner was the much anticipated annual pig-roast held in the seminary dining room.

Bishop James D. Conley (S’ 85) of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska returned to his alma mater to install the new class of lectors and acolytes at the seminary. At a Mass on Friday afternoon, twenty-nine seminarians in the class of 2017, were permanently installed as lectors in Immaculate Conception Chapel, while the following morning, nineteen seminarians, from the class of 2016, were installed as acolytes. 

Lectors Installed

Above: Installed Lectors from the Class of 2017


Installed Acolytes

Above: Installed Acolytes from the Class of 2016


The Church’s official ministry of lector and acolyte are the equivalent to the minor orders which were previously bestowed upon seminarians as they progressed through their priestly formation. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, there were four minor orders received by a seminarian before receiving the final major orders of subdeacon, deacon, and priest. In the post-conciliar Church, lector and acolyte are typically received in consecutive years prior to a man’s ordination to the diaconate.

Lector and Acolyte Installation

Consequently, the Mount traditionally installs members of the first and second theology classes into these ministries in the spring semester toward the end of the academic year. For the seminarian, the installation into these ministries symbolizes two of the final steps taken on the path toward the priesthood. A number of seminarians welcomed family and friends to the Mount to attend the liturgies, and a reception with light hors d'oeuvre and drinks was held in the seminary’s rec-room following the Friday afternoon Mass.

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

Oct 2014  
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