Last week was National Vocation Awareness Week and it was full of great opportunities to pray together and to learn more about discerning the vocation to which God has called each of us. And the excitement of that week was peaked by the huge news coming out of our local seminary.
With more and more men responding to the call being placed on their hearts through the grace effected by our continued prayers, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West has run out of room and, with the future looking bright, it was time to expand and make room for 30 more men to study at this historic facility! Here is the coverage of the ground breaking ceremony which happened on November 2nd:
This news of an expanding seminary can be quite a shock to those who are still living with the negative view of the priesthood that has been around for almost 20 years here in the United States and one news station took the time to look much deeper and find the source of this rise in vocations is actually coming from the least likeliest of places – millenials:
In addition to that great news and wonderful news coverage, more than 75 communities from across the state of Ohio prayed together during the Statewide Day of Adoration for Vocations on Wednesday. Religious communities, parishes and even Catholic High Schools joined together to beg the harvest master to send more laborers into the harvest. It was a beautiful experience for many:
We had a beautiful holy hour! We had over 15 people in our small convent. – Sr. Ana, OSC from the Sisters of St. Clare Poor Clares
We had a wonderful experience at St. Augustine in Minster. Parishioners commented how much they enjoyed a dedicated hour focused on praying for vocations… – Barb from St. Augustine, Minster, OH
I had some good time to think about and pray for many of the priests and nuns who’ve been a part of my life, some whom I
haven’t thought about in years, and at least one person (the priest who baptized me) that I’ve never met. I also prayed in a special way for my kids and their vocations, some of which have already been discerned, and some which are still in the process. – Joe from Ascension, Kettering, OH
And finally, the Serra Club of Cincinnati was able to complete their 9 day Bible Reading Novena during which they dedicated nearly 12 hours a day in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and recitation of the scriptures for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
These dedicated prayers across the state of Ohio are truly having a great impact on our local church and priestly and religious vocations are seeing a great time of flourishing. May we all continue to pray for our men and women in formation and for each other that we may have the courage to seek God’s will in our lives.
Every other month, the seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West offer the public the chance to join them in their regular holy hour as they pray with us for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. The first of these holy hours is coming up next weekend on Sunday, September 10th from 5-6pm. All people are invited to join in prayer at the main chapel of the seminary, St. Gregory the Great. If you are not able to make this holy hour, please mark your calendars for two more that will be coming this school year, November 12th or January 14th. Dates for the March and May opportunities have not yet been set.
Starting next week, our seminarians will be returning to school for another year of studies and formation as they discern more deeply their call to the priesthood. This year we are excited to announce that 19 new men will be entering seminary which raises our total to 60 men in formation for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati!!
Of those 60 men, 10 of them will be in minor (i.e. college) seminary earning their bachelor’s degree and 44 more will be at Mount St. Mary’s of the West major seminary. The remaining 6 men will be on internships this year as they take a year to work alongside a parish priest and experience a year of work in a parish to help them to see first-hand what really happens in the daily life of a priest.
Please pray for the all our seminarians but especially for these new men:
- Nicholas Emmerling – First College, Pontifical College Josephinum
- Augustine (Gus) Franer – First College, Bishop Simon Brute
- Eduardo Sanchez-Guerrero – First College, St. John Vianney (Miami, FL)
- Jose Daniel Sanchez-Guerrero – First College, St. John Vianney (Miami, FL)
- Benjamin Packer – First College, Bishop Simon Brute
- Gregory Romer – Second College, Bishop Simon Brute
- Maximilian (Max) Travis – Second College, Bishop Simon Brute
- Bricer Berger – Pre-Theology I
- John Grusenmeyer – Pre-Theology I
- Stephen Jones – Pre-Theology I
- Jacob Lindle – Pre-Theology I
- Antonio (Tony) Losekamp – Pre-Theology I
- Benjamin Mersch – Pre-Theology I
- Matt Montag – Pre-Theology I
- Anthony (Tony) Sanitato – Pre-Theology I
- Ian Wilson – Pre-Theology I
- Charley Westerhold – Theology I
- Raymond Asiebgulem – Theology I
- Uriel Santos Garcia – Special Pastoral Year
All of our seminarians could use your personal prayers. Please consider spiritually adopting one of our men through your prayers. Feel free to write to him to let him know of your prayers and support.
Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West
6616 Beechmont Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45230
Pontifical College Josephinum
7625 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43235
Bishop Simon Brute Seminary
2500 Cold Spring Rd.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
St. John Vianney Seminary
2900 SW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33165
Also, consider starting in your parish a Spiritual Motherhood of Priests prayer apostolate group that promises to pray for all priests and seminarians. Finally, if you believe that prayers for vocations to the priesthood and religious life is part of who God has made you to be, consider joining in the efforts of our local Serra Club in Cincinnati and in the Sidney/St. Marys area.
We are excited to announce the latest video for our Buckeye Vocations YouTube channel. This time we were able to sit down with Deacon Jarred Kohn who was ordained to the Transitional Diaconate on April 29, 2017 and is about to enter his final year of seminary formation before being ordained a priest. In this first video he talks about his discernment journey and gives us some great advice on how to deal with doubt in discernment. Enjoy!
For those who would rather not watch the video, the full transcript is below.
Full Video Transcript:
Where do you call home?
My home parish is St. Mary in Philothea, which is up in the Coldwater Cluster which is in Mercer County or “God’s country” as we like to call it back home.
How long have you been in the seminary?
Well, I think it would be 7 or 8 years depending on how you count. I started in 2009, which would be 8 years, but I did take a year off after my freshman year, just [sic] discernment can be tricky.
So, why did you decide to leave?
I didn’t actually decide after my freshman year that, “Okay, this isn’t for me; I need to take a year off,” or whatever. My intention was, at the end of that year, to come back. But I was working somewhere and I had to be there at 4:45 in the morning which meant that, I never really got to daily Mass, that often. But it was also at 4:45 in the morning so I wasn’t dedicated enough to do Liturgy of the Hours and pray the Office of Readings or morning prayer that I now promise to do everyday but at the time it wasn’t necessarily a requirement. So, my spiritual life, kind of, you know, wasn’t as important at that time. And as a result of that I think I began to waver. Also, kind of, entering seminary I never intended to go to college after high school, so it was a difficult year to adjust to academic life, to life in the city; all these different factors (being away from my family), all kind of hit me the summer coming back.
So what happened next?
I called the vocation director at the time and he said, “Take a year. Do what you need to do.” So, I called the rector at Brute College Seminary and he was also very supportive. So I began working and my summer job eventually transferred into going back to a welding career which meant working third shift. That was actually pretty nice for the spiritual life in a way because I could get home early in the morning, go to morning Mass, do my morning prayer and office of readings, then go to bed. Then I’d wake up, and was able to do evening prayer, night prayer and all that stuff, so it kind of got me back into a rhythm. Once that started happening, then all of a sudden God began speaking again like, “Hey, what about seminary?”
What other ways did you develop your prayer life?
As I mentioned, going to Mass more frequently. I was pretty much going everyday but, you know, that isn’t necessary and perhaps isn’t even practical for everybody, but going as often as you can, even during the week. But then also, frequent confession was also a big thing. It helps us to clear out the obstacles that are keeping us from the Lord and helps us also to examine what is going on in our heart and kind of flood out what is our self-will and what is our sinful nature and sort out what is that part of us that is naturally attracted to God. Then there is private prayer. I feel blessed in growing up in a country parish because still to this day, we have 24 hours a day that the church is open so to spend that private time with the Lord in the blessed sacrament has always been a source of, you know, has always been the most important part of my spiritual life; the opportunity to spend that time with Lord has always been that key.
How do you deal with doubt in discernment?
You know I think it’s an important aspect of taking on the diaconate and priesthood but it’s also an element that can make guys waver, it’s that realization that, “I’m not worthy of this.” Which is true! But it’s also not yours to take on. It’s really Christ who is really taking you into his life and his own ministry. It is not something you can simply posses by your own merit. I’m never going to be a good priest because I’m Jarred; I’m going to be a good priest because I’ve allowed Christ to take ownership of my heart and I’ve taken ownership of his and so we have that mutual relationship. So without some recognition that I’m a flawed human being and in some ways I’m also a goofy and quirky guy but somehow Jesus is still calling me to this and calls other guys who are all different and he wants to speak through each one of our personalities to the people of God and wants to, you know, draw the entire world to himself. It’s just crazy. It’s awesome!
This past Saturday was another great day for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as 4 young men- Craig Best, Jarred Kohn, Andrew Smith and Jacob Willig- were ordained transitional deacons by Bishop Joseph Binzer at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains. It was a beautifully celebrated ceremony with a palpable sense of joy emanating from the newly ordained men, Bishop Binzer, the concelebrating priests, the numerous permanent deacons who came to celebrate and the entire assembly! To relive this wonderful day or to check out a few of the highlights that you missed, go to our newest photo gallery below! Please continue to pray for these men as they now enter their last year of formation toward priesthood.
On Friday, March 24, 2017, the seminarians of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West will once again be hosting Vigil Praise, an evening of Eucharistic adoration for people of all ages, including families young and old!
This evening will be led by Fr. Jason Williams who, in addition to presiding over the Rite of Exposition and Benediction, will also be preaching on Mary’s fiat on the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation.
The evening will begin at 7pm and will conclude with an evening social following benediction at 8:00pm. There is no charge for this event!
For more information, click on the flyer image above.
For the first time in more than 10 years, the Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West welcome weekend, that runs from tomorrow evening through Saturday evening, March 17-18, will see 16 men from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati discerning their own call to the priesthood.
Generally, we expect that about a half dozen men from any one diocese will be interested in attending a “come and see weekend” such as this. By God’s grace and the courage of the men to respond to God’s call, nearly three times that average number will be in attendance tomorrow evening.
Many of these men are just beginning their journey of discernment. They have felt the Lord calling them for some time, but have not been able to take the first step to begin formal discernment. All of them need our prayers and support more than ever now. Please beg the Lord to make His will clear for each of these men and continue to provide them with the grace needed to follow Him with courage and zeal.
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