April 26, 2013

College seminary honors Archbishop Emeritus Buechlein

Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein gives a thumbs up to the seminarians and guests who applaud him after an April 21 prayer service at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. The retired archbishop was honored after the service for founding the seminary in 2004. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein gives a thumbs up to the seminarians and guests who applaud him after an April 21 prayer service at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis. The retired archbishop was honored after the service for founding the seminary in 2004. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Nine years ago, then-Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein established a new college seminary in Indianapolis at a time when seminaries had been closing across the country for decades.

It started in the fall of 2004 on the campus of Marian University with six seminarians. Today, Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary is housed in a former Carmelite monastery about a mile from Marian, and has more than 30 seminarians from nine dioceses across the United States.

On April 21, now Archbishop Emeritus Buechlein was honored at the seminary for the courage and foresight he showed in establishing it.

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin announced that his predecessor’s name will be connected in a permanent way to the seminary’s soon-to-be-completed dining hall.

“We’re in the last stages of a construction [project] … behind the main building here,” Archbishop Tobin said. “I have the great honor to announce today that, when it’s blessed, it’s going to be blessed and named as the Archbishop Daniel Buechlein Hall.”

In addition to the new dining hall, a new dormitory that will feature 10 double occupancy rooms is being constructed at the seminary. Both additions are expected to be completed during the summer in time for the start of the fall semester.

The announcement took place on what is known as Good Shepherd Sunday, which the Church also observes as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

“As we honor Archbishop Daniel, we also honor and pray for vocations, that the Lord would continue to send laborers into his harvest, because there are people who are hungry for the word of God, people who are dying for the bread of life,” Archbishop Tobin said. “We don’t just need priests. We need good priests, priests that are after the heart of Jesus, the eternal shepherd.”

Archbishop Buechlein was honored after a mid-afternoon prayer service in the seminary’s recently expanded chapel. Also in attendance were Benedictine Archabbot Justin DuVall, the seminarians, faculty from Marian University and other supporters of the seminary.

In remarks afterward, Archbishop Buechlein recalled with emotion how Father Patrick Beidelman, the seminary’s vice rector, has said “that divine providence is written all over this place.”

“He had it right,” Archbishop Buechlein said.

He later recalled how he blessed the seminary in 2008 after it moved into the former Carmelite monastery, and prayed at the time that it would become a “school of prayer.

“The ultimate justification for this seminary is that it is a house of prayer,” Archbishop Emeritus Buechlein said. “I visited here several times, and I’ve been so edified to be part of adoration. I watched how you guys are so calm about it. … That really impressed me.”

Archbishop Buechlein later exhorted the seminarians to continue to grow in their life of prayer.

“I often say that the first duty of a priest, as the first duty of a bishop, is to be a man of prayer,” he said. “That’s so important. Everything else is secondary. Out of prayer blossoms the goodness of the faith and the love of God. And we learn that in intimacy of prayer with Jesus.”

Sitting in the front row listening to Archbishop Buechlein was seminarian Timothy DeCrane, a junior at the seminary and a member of Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Beech Grove.

“It left tears in my eyes,” DeCrane said. “It was very emotional for me. I was very thankful that he was able to come all the way back from Saint Meinrad.”

Archbishop Buechlein suffered a stroke when DeCrane was a freshman in 2011.

“Seeing the dignity and prayerfulness and the way he approached his illness was very admirable and definitely left a mark on me as a seminarian,” DeCrane said. “He showed [me] how to encounter things like that.”

As DeCrane has walked the halls at the seminary over the past three years and spent time in prayer in its chapel, he has constantly been reminded of Archbishop Buechlein and Father Robert Robeson, who has led the seminary as its rector since its founding in 2004.

“It’s humbling being in the building that [Archbishop Buechlein] really helped to create,” DeCrane said. “He and Father Bob helped to create the seminary. It’s changed me in the past three years that I’ve been here, in so many different ways. I’m so appreciative of him for that.”

The fact that Archbishop Buechlein chose to establish the seminary to help seminarians like DeCrane is remarkable for Father Robeson.

“ … It was an idea that had wisdom, but also kind of went against the current of what was going on at the time,” Father Robeson said. “Nobody was establishing new seminaries. … And many, many seminaries had been closed [over the previous decades].”

At the same time, Father Robeson was, like DeCrane, grateful to Archbishop Buechlein for founding the seminary and appointing him as its rector.

“I look back on my ministry here and every single day I thank God for what a beautiful, awesome experience it’s been,” Father Robeson said. “I thank God for the young men whose lives I’ve been privileged to be a part of. And I thank God for what he has established here through Archbishop Buechlein and through the efforts of our seminarians and seminary formation staff.”
 

(For more information on Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, log on to www.archindy.org/bsb.)

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