November 4, 2005

Bishop Bruté House seminarians receive support from many people

By Sean Gallagher

The 13 seminarian residents of the Bishop Bruté House of Formation at Marian College in Indianapolis have many resources available to aid them in their priestly formation.

Some of these are found in the common life of prayer and academic studies that the residents share. Others come from the Marian College community of which they are a part. Finally, the house of formation’s proximity to several archdiocesan parishes opens to its seminarians the wisdom and experiences of many priests and lay faithful in the Indianapolis area.

Seminarian Aaron Thomas, a sophomore at Marian College and member of St. Andrew Parish in Richmond, sees a great gift in the growth in the number of residents at the house of formation, rising to 13 this year from six last year when the house opened.

“When you have more guys come together, it affirms you in your vocation,” Thomas said. “It helps you to see that you’re not the only one who is seeking God, who is discerning where God is calling them. And it helps to have people who are your age to help you along that path to holiness.”

The seminarians gather with Father Robert Robeson, the house of formation’s director, early in the morning and late in the afternoon to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and to celebrate Mass.

Opportunities for eucharistic adoration are offered on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings. They meet with their own spiritual director—either a diocesan priest or a religious priest serving in the archdiocese—every two to three weeks.

They also have days of recollection each semester.

Formation conferences are presented on Monday evenings either by Father Robeson, a visiting diocesan priest or other people, including Marian College president Daniel J. Elsener.

In addition to the support that the seminarians receive from each other and their common life of prayer and formation, Father Robeson sees strengths for the house of formation coming from the broader Marian College community.

In particular, he cited Marian’s Rebuild My Church program, which, among other things, aids in the education and formation of future lay leaders in the Church.

“In the same college, you have the guys who are going to be priests as well as the other folks who are studying to fulfill leadership roles in the Church,” he said. “I think that there are some good networks and relationships that can develop.”

But the seminarians are also fostering relationships beyond Marian’s campus that are assisting them in their priestly formation.

The seminarians go together to Sunday Mass at different parishes around the Indianapolis area one Sunday a month. Father Robeson introduces them to the congregation present at the Mass.

For the other Sundays of the month, each seminarian chooses to attend Mass either at Marian College or at one parish which is not his home parish.

According to Father Robeson, this practice helps the seminarians get a broad perspective on the parishes where they might serve if they are ordained to the priesthood.

The seminarians are also starting to minister in nearby parishes. Thomas is assisting with Hispanic ministry at St Anthony Parish in Indianapolis. He described his service there as a way of “giving back” all he had received during his freshman year in the house of formation from the late Msgr. John Ryan, the former pastor of St. Anthony, who died in July.

For Thomas, Msgr. Ryan and the way he “joyfully celebrated the sacraments” was an inspiration for his own priestly formation.

Beyond the diocesan priests that seminarians come to know through their life at the Bishop Bruté House of Formation, they also receive support from many “prayer partners” scattered across the archdiocese.

Those who choose to be prayer partners are given a holy card of Servant of God Bishop Simon Bruté with a prayer on the back that they are asked to pray on a daily basis. The seminarians offer the prayer during the general intercessions at every Mass they celebrate as a community.

Seminarian Corey Watkins, a sophomore at Marian and a member of Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish in Indianapolis, values this spiritual support of his continued discernment.

“Having prayer partners within the archdiocese is a really huge support for me,” he said. “It’s a huge gift to have. I don’t think that anybody takes having people pray for them for granted.”

(Those interested in being a Bishop Bruté House of Formation prayer partner should call the archdiocesan Mission Office at 317-236-1485 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1485.) †


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