July 2014 - A Review of Small Events
Summer 2014: the seminarians are on apostolate and on vacation; the brothers stay at the seminary; and a plea to your generous will to help the seminary pay for new windows. And: find God in the mesh of small daily realities.
July 16, 2014
On the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
The hubbub of the ordinations having settled down, the seminary was promptly restored to order and the seminarians left on vacation. They will return at the end of August, rested and strengthened.
Their vacation allows them, indeed, not only to rest, but also to perfect their formation by confronting the world. Physically far from the seminary walls, they must keep in their souls the spirit of the seminary while fighting with the weapons of the faith against the attacks of the devil.
During the vacations, each seminarian gives to the Society one month of apostolic work, in order to be initiated into it and acquire the concrete qualities necessary for it. An exclusively theoretical training cannot be enough: it is necessary to come into contact with daily reality so as to “incarnate” and solidify the formation received.
Some of them spend their month of apostolate in the summer camps that have such success in the US District, in order to guide the youths and to give them the sense of God; thus supporting the remarkable work which our fellow priests carry out among these young souls.
Similarly, some seminarians are put at the disposal of Priors to help them in their tasks and, according to the needs for the places where they go, to occupy themselves with material work, or to be used as drivers for long apostolic journeys, or to teach catechism. They are at the service of Christ under obedience, having the joy of adding their small stone to the building of the Body of Christ.
Other seminarians give their time to the seminary, to reduce the heavy workload of the Brothers, who remain alone for the upkeep of the house and to help during the retreat of the District Priests, which is held here in August. Our intrepid Brothers are happy to find in the seminarians an invaluable help for their arduous summer tasks. Such help allows them to be everything at the same time, sacristans, cooks, gardeners, carpenters, accountants, besides the burden of the material upkeep of the property, which falls to them for two long months.
In turn, the seminarians of the years of Humanity and Spirituality find themselves in Virginia, under the guidance of older seminarians, in order to continue the hard work of clearing the undergrowth of the woods that cover the property. Moreover, this year they will repair the small house that lodges us when we visit the building site (which progress you may follow in our website, http://www.newseminaryproject.org/). In August, our courageous young men will surround our future garden and our future orchard by a fence sufficiently solid and high to protect them from the greedy and leaping deer!
The Fourth Year seminarians are in Rome for one month, under the guidance of Rev. Fr. Patrick Abbet, to discover the wonders that the Eternal City abundantly harbors. We hope that, thanks to all these wonders which tell of the glory of God, our seminarians will absorb the spirit of faith that made Rome the Mother and Mistress of the world by the radiance of her faith.
Our deacons, for their part, are happy to assist their elders in the delicate and most necessary exercise of preaching retreats. They discover, more than all the other seminarians, the immense field of souls and the beauty of the workings of grace.
Some of the seminary priests serve as chaplains in Virginia, while others either follow an intensive Latin course or a one-month retreat, or assure the Masses at the seminary, prepare their courses and take some rest in order to be ready at the beginning of September.
This anecdotic review would not be complete if we were not to share with you our recurrent concern about the state of our finances in this period of the year. The seminarians not being at the seminary, it would seem that we do not need money during this time. Admittedly, the expenses diminish since we do not have to feed a hundred famished mouths, but we have always to pay the wages of our employees, and cover the expenses inherent in our building and those related to the work that we must undertake in order to keep our house in operating condition.
We would be very grateful if you, in your well-proven kindness, could help us to install a hundred windows (a necessary work that we have been carrying on by sections every summer, to replace windows damaged by cold winters and very humid summers), and also to help us to change our electricity generator (most necessary when the power goes off right in the midst of a Minnesota winter), and to undertake some other works which, if they are not as massive as those mentioned, nonetheless do add quickly; far too quickly, to our expenses.
Is this a report of too many small events? Certainly, but what is human life if not the acquisition of the intelligence of God in the middle of these anecdotes that follow one another? God is present there, mysteriously hidden, and He loves to reveal Himself to those who do not let themselves to be distracted by appearances, but are able to find Him in the mesh of small daily realities.
This is the grace that we wish for you, hoping that these summer months will be for you, and all the members of your family, a time favorable for rest, particularly for the rest that consists in living by God and in God, by doing always His blessed will.
In Christo sacerdote et Maria.
Fr. Yves le Roux