Close to one hundred alumni returned to their Alma Mater last week. Here are the remarks I offered at the beginning of the evening and some pictures from the event. A great time was had by all!
Welcome home! Welcome home to St. John's.
Welcome home to a seminary experiencing an unprecedented period of growth as evidenced by the 26 new man and the fact that we have just this year become the sixth largest theologate serving the church in the United States!
Welcome home to the oldest and largest seminary in New England the place where 130 men today bear a striking resemblance to you when you walked these halls, not too many years ago.
Welcome to a seminary now existing on three campuses with the recent addition of Our Lady of the Presentation Lecture Hall and Library. Welcome to an institution which in its first year of development and fundraising has brought us nearly three quarters of a million dollars closer to meeting our needs and fulfilling our dreams.
Welcome to a seminary with lecturers this year like Cardinals Rigali and George and an outstanding faculty including the newest master of the Dominican Order.
And welcome to the home of the reigning champions in the St. John's versus Pope John's annual softball tournament. Victors against the relics for two years in a row!
Welcome home to the place where you learned how to pray, how to preach a word that will rouse them, and how to love those whom everyone else would forget.
For therein is the meaning of this holy house. It's a place to discern and to be prepared. Prepared to anoint the old woman who will die at 2 o'clock in the morning. Prepared to give sage counsel to the family of the kid who strung out on drugs. Prepared to strengthen with sacramental grace the sinner who has fallen for the third the fourth and the fifth time. Prepared to bring the bread of life and the cup of salvation to a people hungry for God.
This is where God prepared you and this is where He prepares them still. Prepares them to decrease that He might increase, to so die to themselves that He might shine forth through them as a light to the nations and the glory of the church.
So welcome home! Enjoy the evening! And know that every day we work to help these good young men to follow in your footsteps, the way of the Good Shepherd, the path that leads to God.
Let us pray
Bless these good and holy man, Lord God, source of all holiness and life. Make them good and holy priests, in the model of Christ Jesus your only son. Bless the food we are about to eat and the stories we are about to tell. Make us one in your love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your son, lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.