Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Conference on the Year of Faith

Father Marc Lenneman on the Year of Faith
Story by Raul Barriga

You may be aware of the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI during which he exhorts Catholics to deepen their love and knowledge of Jesus Christ.  On the night of Monday, October 22, Father Marc Lenneman, the vocation director for the Diocese of Helena, gave a conference for religious and diocesan seminarians in which he discussed the need for a personal formation before sharing the faith with others.

You may agree that as seminarians being formed for the priesthood in the beginning of this Year of Faith, we are living in an exciting time for the universal church.  Surely Father Marc felt so, as he shared with us.  Yet as seminarians, it can be tough at times to keep a focus on the big picture of our formation in the seminary.

This is why Father Marc stressed the need to maintain focus on the goal of a vocation.  He said, "The idea is to keep the main thing, the main thing."  According to Father Marc, this main thing or goal of a vocation is holiness.

Lumen Gentium, a Second Vatican Council document about the Church, describes the universal call to holiness in chapter five.  Further, the Year of Faith itself is a 50th anniversary celebration of the opening of Vatican II in 1962.  Thus, it is fitting for seminarians, and indeed all the people of God, to reflect upon this notion of holiness brought about by a deeper encounter with Jesus Christ.

When asked about the main thing he would like his audience to remember from his talk, Father Marc said that it is very important to "have intimacy with the heart of Christ."

Father Marc came to Mount Angel Seminary to be present for the installation of our new President-Rector, Father Joseph Betschart, as well as to take part in the Episcopal Council meeting, a gathering of many of the bishops and vocation directors who send their seminarians to Mount Angel Seminary.

Conferences are regularly scheduled for the first, second, and fourth Monday nights of each month.  The President-Rector gives the conference on the first Monday of the month.  These conferences are held for the benefit of seminarians in their formation in accordance with the four pillars (human, spiritual, academic, and pastoral) that derive from The Program for Priestly Formation written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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