Saturday, 14 May 2011

St. Philip's Seminary Graduates and Toronto Ordinations

This is an important weekend for the Church in Toronto. Last night at Holy Family Church, this years graduates at St. Philips Seminary received their degrees and at 10:00AM this morning, three men will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Toronto at St. Michael's Cathedral by Archbishop Thomas Collins.

St. Philip's Seminary at the Toronto Oratory began twenty-five years ago after the late Emmett Cardinal Carter asked Father Jonathan Robinson, Cong. Orat., to begin a Philosophy program there for the Archdiocese. Father Robinson was formerly the Head of the Philosophy Department at McGill University in Montreal. Up until then, Seminarians for Toronto had to study Philosophy in secular universities or other church affiliated schools. The liberal, modernist protestant dominated Toronto School of Theology, an ecumenical initiative, is thankfully losing its influence over Toronto's future priests as more and more is being taken "in-house" so-to-speak. Cardinal Carter and Archbishop Thomas Collins deserve great credit for this. The current Archbishop has assigned a number of priests to study in Rome and elsewhere to eventually return as Professors to teach at St. Augustine's Seminary. This thankfully includes, liturgy.

Last night, sixteen young men from the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Diocese of Pembroke, Peterborough, St. Catharines and Hamilton in Ontario, Cincinnati, Ohio and the international Redemptoris Mater Seminary received their degrees in Thomistic Philosophy and Catholic Thought. The Holy Mass was celebrated in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, "ad orientem" with a packed church singing joyfully and praying for these young men and the future of the Church. This year's graduating class is the largest ever. Next years will be larger, twenty! There are currently over 60 young men studying at St. Philip's Seminary.

The Mass was celebrated by Father Derek Cross and the homilist Father Paul Pearson, the Dean of St. Philip's Seminary announced that in the twenty-five years of its existence, the Seminary has graduated young men who are now total over 140 priests, many in the United States. Over the years I can recall many from Lincoln, Nebraska prior to Bishop Bruskewitz's building of a Seminary there, seminarians from the Fathers of Mercy in the United States and now there are six or more Norbertines from Orange County, California. St. Philip's Seminary's influence is near and far.

Solidly formed priests. Morally, intellectually, spiritually and liturgically now in both Forms of the Roman Rite-Extraordinary and Ordinary.

At 10:00 this morning, Reverend Mr. Russell Asch, 39, Reverend Mr. Eric Mah, 34 and Reverend Mr. Allyn Rose, 34 will be ordained to the Holy Priesthood for the Archdiocese of Toronto. I am honoured to know two of these men, one from a summer placement at his home parish where for a short-time I consulted on the liturgy and formed a Sacred Music Choir still in existence there and another whom I had the pleasure of coming to know as he was part of a small Schola which I directed for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite whilst the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter was in Toronto.

Last year, there were two ordinations for Toronto, this year three. This is not good. An Archdiocese the size of Toronto needs no less than fifteen per year to cope with growth and retirement. There were challenges in the past. Moribund vocations attempts and a promotion of vocations that a priest "has more day off than teachers" did nothing to inspire young men, at least not here; and if they had a calling, they took it elsewhere.

Archbishop Thomas Collins deserves much credit; it is turning the situation around but it takes time and his good work won't be seen yet for a few more years. I can tell you that he meets personally with young men interested in the priesthood and Serra House has been strengthened with a solid new Vocations Director and it is full. One will be spending the summer at the Vox estate as a little contribution to sponsorship of his vocation.

Say a prayer today for all these young men and let us pray that more young men will set aside the "false allures of the world which opes its magic coffers" (Bl. J.H. Newman) and instead hear the call of the LORD of the harvest for His sake and ours.

1 comment:

Patience said...

I really love that aspect of Holy Family; the seminarians. One of the graduates; David Reitzel; taught my youngest in the FHC classes; really excellent instruction and he was sooo nice too. I wish him and his fellow graduates all the best and hope eventually to attend a few of their ordinations; 5 years down the road.