Sunday, May 11, 2014

Candidacy, Concert and Creative Fun!

The last days of this semester are marked by seminarians studying in small groups late into the night, the writing of endless papers, exams and even a few intervening events.  As we prepare for the Closing Mass on Thursday (which also marks the end of exams), here's a bit of what has been going on.


Archbishop Leonard Blair welcomed fourteen of our seminarians to Candidacy for Holy Orders this morning.  As the new Archbishop of Hartford, this is the first time that he has visited Saint John's and we are very grateful.  Our congratulations go out to the following new candidates:

Diocese of Burlington
Joseph John Sanderson

Diocese of Providence
Stephen Michael Battey
Jean Joseph Brice
Brian John Morris

Archdiocese of Hartford
Berny J. Chinchilla Rivera 
Glen Jerzy Dmytryszyn

Archdiocese of Boston
Craig Lawrence Cooley
Brian Christopher Cullen 
Jim Darwin Davila 
Jason Rinaldo Giombetti 
Godfrey Musabe
Joel Americo Santos
William Joseph Sexton 
Michael Andrew Solomon 


Dr. Janet Hunt was joined on Saturday evening by three other artists in presenting an incredible concert of Baroque Music on harpsichord, flute and violin at Our Lady of the Presentation Lecture Hall.  Here is what I said to introduce the concert:

What an exquisite delight it is to spend a bit of time meditating on the Baroque on this early summer evening.  For it is not wholly inaccurate to suggest that the Baroque and the Catholic Counter-Reformation are closely and intimately intertwined.

Faced with a religious revolution of the mind, the Church responded with an appeal to the heart, to the Catholic emotional imagination.  All one has to do is look to the Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, for example the Fifth Exercise on hell, wherein the Saint urges us to see the fires, hear the wailing, smell the sulphur, taste the bitter tears and feel the flames of eternal damnation.  Or listen to Saint Teresa of Avila’s exhalation of the “sweet the colloquies of love which pass between the soul and God …”

No one would mistake these passionate expressions for Calvinist and Lutheran distrust of the allure of art in liturgical settings and the resultant loss of all musical elaboration.  By contrast, tonight we will hear music of the Catholic Baroque, which seems to revel in melody, harmony and even instrumentation in the interest of developing a sumptuous affectional palate for the Church’s liturgical and devotional life.

Which is why it is not an exaggeration to refer to Baroque music as an expression of the prototypical Catholic Passion which is the counter Reformation and which we celebrate here tonight.

My gratitude to Dr. Janet Hunt and her colleagues for this wonderful opportunity to experience some real Catholic beauty.


Last Monday night I was the honored guest at the end of the red carpet in the student lounge as Second Pre-Theology (preparing to be First Theology!) awarded to each of its members good humored, witty (sometimes hysterically so) and well deserved awards, complete with trophies, certificates and ribbons!  A great time was had by all!


Pray for our seminarians in these last days before vacations, parish assignments and other experiences begin their summer break.  May God rewards them for their goodness and dedication.