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S e m i n a r i a n N e w s l e t t e r
S o c i e t y o f O u r L a d y o f t h e M o s t H o l y T r i n i t y Advent 2011
Th e G r a y R o b e s
In June of 2011, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity moved its House of Studies from Rome, Italy to Detroit, Michigan – from the “Eternal City” to the “Motor City”. There are two main reasons for this transition: preparation. community life and ministerial
by the SOLT Seminarians of the American Region GRADUATE STUDIES Theology III Br. Al, The Philippines Br. John C., Ireland Br. John M., Connecticut Br. Juan, Mexico B r. M i c h a e l M a r y, M o n t a n a Br. Patrick, Michigan Theology II Br. Tristan, Cayman Islands Br. Francis, Nevada Br. Beau, Idaho B r. M i c h a e l , Te x a s Theology I B r. J e r e m y, K a n s a s Br. Peter M., Ireland Br. Peter S., Arizona U N D E R G R A D U AT E PHILOSOPHY STUDIES B r. Ti m o t h y, C a n a d a Br. John R., California Br. Joseph, Louisiana F O R MATOR S Rector Fr. Brady Williams email@example.com om 313.799.7797 Spiritual Director Fr. Peter Marsalek SUPPORTING FROM TEXAS Vocations Director Fr. Glenn Whewell 361.387.8090 Seminarian Sponsorship Mr. Mike Pond 361.387.8090 S O LT H o u s e o f S t u d i e s Holy Redeemer Parish 1721 Junction St. Detroit, MI 48209 313.842.3450
Fr. Brady and Fr. Peter
Joining together in Detroit our pre-theology program from Corpus Christi, Texas
with our theology program from Rome brings unity to our men in priestly formation. It also presents an opportunity to intensify and expand the pastoral dimension of our formation. We determined that sending our SOLT seminarians to Sacred Heart Major Seminary while residing at Holy Redeemer Parish would present the environment in which to achieve the highest standard of formation toward the Priesthood in SOLT.
Fr. Peter Marsalek and I have been assigned the task to form our seminarians in religious life and Marian-Trinitarian spirituality. Sacred Heart Seminary has the principle task of forming our men intellectually and pastorally for the ministerial priesthood. The priests and staff at Sacred Heart Seminary here in Detroit have truly gone out of their way to welcome our sixteen seminarians to a fresh formation setting. Thus far the results of this combined effort have been remarkable.
As well, Holy Redeemer Parish has been very welcoming. The rectory, nearly vacant for the last decade, is once again ﬁlled to the brim with enthusiastic men aspiring to follow God’s will.
Our seminarian newsletter, now entitled The Gray Robes, will, I believe, give you a sense of the zest and life this new situation has brought to our seminarians and our community. Enjoy!
-Fr. Brady Williams, Rector
To Give Life Again
Dear Br. Beau, !
your words have drawn me into knowing the mystery of God’s mercy. I have reflected much on these words as I prayed for my
sister as she donated her kidney to our brother. Through God’s grace, I have come to know of his mercy for my sister. He has reclaimed her for his own and has given her this opportunity to give life again. Being with her and my brother, sensing this new awareness, we
“This is my body broken and shared.” I cannot tell you how much
experienced a renewed communion with each other. I
was also able to face my own selfrighteousness and to work on much needed humility. Thank you for your share in this blessing. I remember you in
my prayers of thanksgiving.
In peace, Maureen Blair
Br. Beau Schweitzer Spiritual Care, St. Mary Mercy Hospital
Br. Joseph Mary Michael LeJeune teaching 2nd graders at Holy Redeemer
What is at the heart of ministry? What is the source from which all works of charity get their energy? What is the balm that heals and strengthens the heart of both the minister and those he ministers to? The answer is Jesus Christ. Whether they know it or not, people yearn to encounter Him. But one cannot give what one does not have, so the minister is called to personally encounter Christ who is the Living Word of God. He must do this for himself and share the fruits of that encounter with others. This activity of encountering and communicating the Divine Word can be called Theology: an expression formed by two Greek terms meaning “God” (Theos) and “Word” (Logos). When we put them together they give three possible meanings to Theology, they are: “God’s Word”, “A Word to God” and “A Word about God.” These three meanings, when viewed together, draw us into a dialogue with the
Eternal Word as He comes to us in Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist.
given so that it may become one’s private property. God always bestows His gifts on individuals in consideration for all His people. And so this “Word of God” that calls for a “Word to God” in prayer and leads to a “Word about God” must be shared with others that their hearts may be disposed to seek God in the same way. This dialogue also takes place in the Eucharist, which is The Word made flesh and veiled in mystery. But the most eloquent description of such an encounter is best illustrated with a living example: let us turn to Mary whose life is an encounter with Christ in both His Word and His Body for she conceived Him in her heart through faith, before she conceived Him in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. St. Augustine, Sermon 293). Let us make the Heart of Mary our school for the encounter with Jesus Christ. Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, Mother of the Eucharist, pray for us.
-by Br. Juan Villagomez
The saving dialogue begins by God’s initiative as He reveals Himself to us through God’s Word. We freely respond to it in prayer by pronouncing a loving word to God in the depths of our heart in an attitude of adoration of the Divine Mystery, at first not so much comprehending it as realizing that we are comprehended by it. As a reward for this surrender, God illumines us with a ray of understanding: a word about God. But understanding is not
How have the SOL Brothers contributed to Sacred Heart Major Seminary? T Rev. Gerard Battersby - Vice Rector
“The Brothers witness to an abandonment to the apostolic life in a way that can be inviting and challenging to men studying for the secular priesthood.”
Patricia Gamble - Secretary
“Their ability to communicate the beauty of Godʼs love is inspiring. Sometimes when I am having a busy day I notice a sense of peace that comes over me when I meet one of them in my ofﬁce or in the hall. I am most grateful for their gentle presence and joyfulness.”
Brian Rivers - Security
“I have noticed a togetherness and a warmness among the Brothers, a family-oriented spirit. I have also noticed that they are not afraid to communicate with different types of people.”
Gary Koenigsknecht - Seminarian
“The Brothers have brought a very positive attitude that ﬂows from their love for Christ and from detachment as part of the Society. This witness of joyful simplicity and obedience is a good perspective for us at SHMS to see and to be challenged by.”
Dr. Patricia Cooney-Hathaway - Professor
“We have all been enriched by their deep love for Jesus Christ, and their commitment to pursue excellence in their academic pursuits so as to be effective instruments of Christ's healing and compassionate presence in the transformation of our world.”
Why SOLT ?
Mitch doesn’t know Jesus. So what happens when he meets inspiring Christians? “That way of life works for them, but its not for me.” Relativism builds walls around Jesus. When headlines deﬁne Church, people like Mitch suffer.
So radically diverse, so impossibly united, when Mitch meets SOLT he cannot say, “That’s not for me.” Instead he must ask, “What brings all of you together?” By inspiring that simple question, SOLT gives our world an opportunity to meet the answer to every life’s question Jesus. We want to live as priests in SOLT. More than individual servants, we’re part of a family where our prayer and labor re-propose the beauty of Church.
Unity in Diversity
We’re in Detroit, yet we feel it everywhere: hectic lives, broken families, divided peoples. Individualism is the world’s prize, but it can ignore love’s responsibilities. Embracing all vocations, SOLT celebrates the uniqueness of each person. But Christ brings our distinctness together. You and I - every living gift - are meant for one ecstatic end - LOVE. SOLT presents an experience of Church open to all, an experience of Jesus that unites us in hope for our future home. You are not a threat or competition. Your gifts enhance me, lifting us to heaven.
Head, Heart, and Hands
There is a certain disunity in the lives of people today. With our heads we know things; with our heart we feel things; with our hands we do things. But how often are these three activities integrated? For us, faith is not merely a matter of mind, but an ongoing transformation of one’s whole life in all its aspects. Love, more than good feelings, moves us to live as gift for others. Work is neither a necessary evil, nor a disenchanting escape. Through work, we express our faith and our love. Thank you for joining us as shared gifts and balanced lives invite others to encounter their true selves in the life and mission of Jesus Christ.
by Br. Beau and Br. Francis
The calm, cool and collected Seminarian Soccer Mom!!!
Friday. Breakfast. “Br. Michael Mary can we take the white van to school today? I am working on an exegesis paper and need to use the library after the blue van comes home at 11:30am.” I think to myself: [Okay, there are a number of brothers staying home today, Br. Beau, Br. John Mariano, Br. John Cormack, Br. Juan, and Br. Michael Slovak all have apostolates today. Br. Patrick said earlier in the week he was staying late to help set up Christmas decorations at the Seminary. Br. Tristan will drop off a number of brothers who have classes this morning before going to his apostolate, return to school and pick them up to be back before the apostolate groups leave for the nursing home and the hospital. And I need to keep the other van here. Br. Jeremy sought a 4:15pm pickup as well.] “Br. Peter, check with Br. Jeremy.” Friday 10:26am—Cell phone rings. “What can I do for you, Br. Slovak?” “Brother, will you ask Br. Beau to pick me up at the Seminary before they head out for the apostolates?” Now I just need to find Br. Beau. Hmmm, he is not in his room. OK, I cannot forget to tell him.
by Br. Michael Mary Mercy of Christ Crucified
Jeremy and Br. Patrick. guys and only 7 seats!!!
10:36am—Seeing Br. Francis. “Will you make sure that you all pick up Bro. Slo.” Great, mission accomplished! Now I don’t have to search for Br. Beau! I love it when a plan comes together. Praise the Lord! OK, gas-up, winterize and oh, right, schedule an appointment for the white van. Friday, 1:00pm—Br. Timothy. “Can Br. Rigsby and I use a van to go to the Solanus Center for confession around 2:30 today?” “Sure no problem, use the white van, the key is hanging on the hook.” Friday, 1:45pm. White van keys are gone! Oh no. Br. Beau took the wrong van! Let’s see, this isn’t going to work! It only holds 6 guys, 7 at the max. Shoot! Let’s see, maybe I am over reacting; no, I don’t think so! “Br. Joseph, who came home with you?” “Br. Peter Marie and Br. Tristan.” “Thanks!” Let’s see—I’ve got to count this: Br. Beau, Br. Michael, Br. John, Br. John, Br. Juan, Br. Francis, Br. Patrick, Br. Peter, Br.
16 brothers and 2 vans. We commute to the seminary. Different guys have different classes from morning to late night. Classes are rescheduled. Meetings are held. We teach and serve all over the diocese, each brother with his own schedule. Errands keep popping up (Br. Beau will tally 20 trips and 400 miles to rehabilitate his hand after a freak tomato paste accident). I pray the vans don't break down...I pray I don't break down! Next year, hopefully we’ll have more brothers, and by then, this soccer mom could really use an additional van.
u For t he wa shers and d ryers . For spons o r in g u s in the m aratho n. For the fr eezer. For our ed ucation . For your praye rs. Everyth ing we gift to another begins with God’s goodnes s and your s haring of it. You show Jesus us and we try to share H im.
We Have Seen With Our Eyes The Word of Life
“We had all of our special needs group (ages 7-20) meet in a room for music. Each student got their choice of an instrument to play to participate in the activity. I've never seen such child-like joy in so many faces at once. For a few minutes, it was like being in Heaven with the angels and saints singing.” -Br. Peter Shaffo
~1 John 1:1
“Every time I teach them I see their eagerness and openness to believe. I also see the brokenness in their hearts. The Lord blesses me each time with an opportunity to help form them in His truth.” -Br. John Rigsby
Brothers weekly encountering Jesus
Instructing 49 children in the truth of our Catholic faith. Preparing 16 teenagers for Conﬁrmation. Drawing 7 adults into the heart of the Church through RCIA. Bringing the peace and joy of Christ to 20 persons in the hospital. ‣ Learning from and praying with 20 elderly in hospice care and the nursing home. ‣ ‣ ‣ ‣
Be opened you heavens from above, and rain down the Just One! ~ Is 45:8
A snowflake fell (one, then two, and more) A tiny crystalline glad tiding, White and cold and floating. It spoke without words, Acting out the message: Alighting on the ground, it lived but a Moment, then Its form became water And flowed into the soil. Who will even regard its sacrifice Come spring, When savoring its effect, Of leaf, and fruit, and flower? O little messenger of the Messiah! Falling before his birth, If one announcement is not enough, Fall as a host upon this earth! Snowflakes are like the Savior: Little ones foretelling, His coming in a body, And his body bleeding, And lo, New life in Easter springing!
Rorate coeli desuper, et nubes pluant Iustum!
by Br. Francis Christopher Joseph of the Child Jesus Coyne
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