- Daniel Hanley
Priestly Persistence at Mount's Seminary
Mount St. Mary’s Seminary is expanding to add a new year to its program and an additional location. The expansion is to add the Propaedeutic Stage program. The program will teach the seminarians how to form a brotherhood in Christ, coming to know and support each other as disciples.
The Holy See (the Vatican) has all seminaries throughout the world adding a new stage of formation at the beginning of seminary. It is called the Propaedeutic Stage, which means the initiation to further education. The idea behind the program is to give men preparing for the priesthood an opportunity to focus on growing in areas that are not necessarily academic. Seminarians will take some classes, but these classes will be more oriented toward the practical life of prayer, human growth and pastoral service. The main emphasis of the year is to grow in their relationship with Jesus in prayer and their capacity to give themselves to others in friendship. The men will take the time to learn how to pray in silent conversation with Christ. To further these goals, men will unplug from information technology to give priority to living out relationships and recollection.
The program will be located in a wing at the Daughters of Charity Mother House where the shrine to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is housed, about two miles from the main campus. It will be called the Blessed Stanley Rother House, named after a graduate of the seminary who was martyred in Guatemala in 1981. Blessed Stanley was a brave, selfless priest with the heart of Christ who served the poor and laid down his life for his flock. He is an inspiration for seminarians to grow in their relationship with Jesus and theirlove for others. In addition, the men will be living next to the shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, which contains her tomb and historic mother house. This great saint had a deep love for Jesus and gave everything to serve Him. We know she is in heaven and prays for us, Mother Seton will be a spiritual mentor for the seminarians who live, work and pray near her home.
There are almost 60 sisters living at the Mother House, many of them retired. The seminarians will experience the witness of these beautiful sisters and be able to form meaningful relationships with them. The Rother House is a fantastic way for the Mount to continue its long-standing friendship with the Daughters of Charity. The Seminary community is grateful for the generosity of the sisters in their welcoming hospitality.
The wing is currently undergoing refurbishment to meet the needs of the Rother House program. Previously it was being used as a nursing home. Spaces need to be reconfigured and new rooms need to be carved out. There will be a chapel for Mass and community prayer. It will be called Mother of Fairest Love Chapel, a title of Mary derived from the Book of Sirach that highlights the beauty of her motherhood and purity. A state-of-the-art classroom is being constructed that will allow distance learning in addition to in-person classes. The renovations are progressing well and the Rother House will open its doors to its first class on August 15, 2023.
New Seminary C-Wing Building
Photo by: Father Hanley