July 2016 - Last Summer in Winona

This month Rev. Fr. Iscara describes the seminary's work of preparation for the move to Virginia. The equipment of the entire seminary was packaged and stored in large metal containers, where it will await the move, while priests, brothers, and seminarians packed their own belongings and began to live out of their suitcases.  Please pray for a successful move!

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Rev. Fr. le Roux has charged me with offering you a glimpse of our summer activities at the Seminary, until the next time he is able to send out his monthly letter.

Attached to this letter you will find the Seminary bulletin, Ad Orientem, presenting you with some photos of the priestly ordinations of June 3rd, the last ones to take place in Winona, attended by a record number of faithful coming from throughout the Unites States.

Following that day’s festivities and the celebration of the first Masses on the following weekend, after all the visitors and the newly ordained priests had left, work for the move to Virginia began in earnest.

First, the tents and stage were dismantled; then, three huge containers arrived and the packing started. With all seminarians and Brothers pitching in, all sacristy items were carefully packed, leaving aside only those things necessary for the liturgical celebrations during the summer and the beginning of the school year. The librarians and a few drafted collaborators put our 30,000 books into more than 2,000 boxes, precisely and carefully labeled, so that they will come out of the boxes in perfect order. Many other every-day items were also packed and now almost fill two of the containers.

In the meantime, everyone – priests, brothers, seminarians – packed their own belongings, leaving aside only those things needed to tide us over until we unpack in Virginia. In truth, for the next few months we will be living out of suitcases…!

But the work did not end there. The Humanities and Spirituality seminarians and a few Brothers departed for Virginia to work in the new property alongside the builders, volunteers and the Benedictine monks who are so generously helping us. Groups of seminarians will take monthly turns to follow a grueling work schedule and then enjoy a well-earned vacation at home before returning to Winona to begin classes. A smaller group of seminarians and Brothers will also be taking monthly turns at Winona to keep the house going while contractors renovate the septic system, so that we may hand down to the District a house in as perfect a shape as possible.

At the beginning of September, everybody will return to Winona for the initial retreat and the beginning of classes – still living out of suitcases! Then, if everything goes well – that is, if the Virginia building is habitable and the occupancy is granted – by mid-October a long line of containers, cars, trucks and young (and not so young) men in cassocks will wander through the Midwest and the East Coast from Winona to Dillwyn.

All this work in both buildings and the necessity of maintaining two separate communities during the summer implies expenses which enormously tax our dwindling resources. We appeal, therefore, to your proven generosity, assuring you of our continual prayers for you and your families. As we have done for many long years in Armada, Ridgefield and Winona, we will continue doing in Virginia. May God bless and reward you!

In Corde Christi Regis,

Fr. Juan Carlos Iscara