August 19, 2016

Seminarians perform works of mercy during annual convocation

Seminarian Liam Hosty spends time on Aug. 10 before the grave of Father Joseph MacNally at Calvary Cemetery in Indianapolis. Hosty and other archdiocesan seminarians did various works of mercy, including praying for the dead, during their recent annual convocation. Father MacNally was Hosty’s boyhood pastor at St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Seminarian Liam Hosty spends time on Aug. 10 before the grave of Father Joseph MacNally at Calvary Cemetery in Indianapolis. Hosty and other archdiocesan seminarians did various works of mercy, including praying for the dead, during their recent annual convocation. Father MacNally was Hosty’s boyhood pastor at St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Seminarian Liam Hosty walked slowly around the priests’ circle in Calvary Cemetery in Indianapolis, looking for a particular grave.

He wanted to see the burial place of Father Joseph MacNally, his pastor at St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis when he was a boy.

Finally coming upon it, he squatted down to spend some time by it. The moment was emotional for Hosty, a new archdiocesan seminarian who is a freshman at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary and Marian University, both in Indianapolis.

“I remember him as a kid,” Hosty said of the priest who was commonly known as “Father Mac.” “He was an older priest at the time. But he’s one of the inspirations of why I wanted to become a seminarian. I remember how gentle he was.

“Seeing his grave brought me back a little bit. It was pretty powerful.”

Seeing his pastor from years ago buried among so many other priests also helped Hosty appreciate the “legacy” that he and his fellow archdiocesan seminarians are continuing.

“We have a long line of excellent priests, such as Father Mac,” Hosty said.

He and his fellow archdiocesan seminarians visited Calvary Cemetery on Aug. 10 as part of their annual convocation before they begin another year of priestly formation at their seminaries.

In most years, the seminarians make a pilgrimage to historic churches in different corners of the Church in central and southern Indiana.

Since the Church is in the midst of the Holy Year of Mercy, archdiocesan vocations director Father Eric Augenstein thought it would be good to help the seminarians do various works of mercy together at different locations in Indianapolis.

They prayed for the dead at Calvary and nearby Holy Cross and St. Joseph cemeteries. They helped feed the hungry by volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. And they visited the sick by spending time with the residents of the St. Augustine Home for the Aged.

They also visited SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, getting the chance to walk through the holy doors there and receive the plenary indulgence tied to them.

Father Augenstein commented on this change in the convocation while the seminarians were filling boxes with canned drinks for the clients of the food pantry.

“Engaging in hands-on ministry like this is a foretaste of what we hope to see in our seminarians both during their formation and, for those who are called to be priests, in their priestly ministry,” Father Augenstein said. “It’s taking our faith and our witness out into the community. Here, we’re able to see them do that in the community, not just in the seminary.”

New seminarian Owen Duckett, a member of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis, appreciated starting his priestly formation for the archdiocese while volunteering at the food pantry.

“It’s going to come full circle,” said Duckett, who is a sophomore at Bishop Bruté and at Marian. “With our formation, what we’re working toward eventually is the priesthood. And this is what it’s all about. It’s a life of service. If we kick it off with something like this, then it’s a foreshadowing of what’s to come. Getting out here and doing this stuff is what it’s all about.”

Seminarian Vincent Gilmore, a member of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis, knows from his few years of experience as an archdiocesan seminarian how much opportunities for service like the ones he shared during the convocation can mean in priestly formation.

“When I sit down to pray the Liturgy of the Hours or a holy hour, I’ll remember the people that I encountered here,” said Gilmore, who is in second year of theology at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad. “I try to take them with me in prayer, and try to enter a little bit into their minds and hearts in what limited ways I can to try to be there with them.

“The spiritual communion happens as soon as you think of a person in prayer. You’ve connected with them.”

Charlie Wessel liked making connections with the residents of the St. Augustine Home. A member of St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis, Wessel sees this outreach as a response to the call of Pope Francis.

“As priests, we need to be people that will live for others and not for ourselves,” Wessel said. “Especially in this Holy Year of Mercy, it’s important for us to go out and be with people and live for others, encountering them where they’re at like Pope Francis has encouraged us to do. We’ll build relationships with people that we wouldn’t normally be with and get out of our comfort zone.”

This year, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has 14 seminarians in priestly formation. This is a smaller number than last year in part because six men were ordained priests for the archdiocese in June.

One of them was Father Matthew Tucci, associate pastor of St. Christopher Parish and chaplain coordinator of Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School, both in Indianapolis.

He was the homilist at an Aug. 9 Mass with the seminarians celebrated in the cathedral’s Blessed Sacrament Chapel in which the other five newly ordained priests were concelebrants.

Looking back on his years of priestly formation, Father Tucci said the seminarians’ annual convocation played an important role in helping him discern God’s call in his life.

“The camaraderie with your brothers—that was the biggest of all,” said Father Tucci in an interview after the Mass. “The bonding time is the best part of it.

“I was talking to some of the seminarians earlier and told them, ‘It’s all worth it.’ The people of God are hungry. It’s a blessing to help feed them.”
 

(To learn more about a vocation to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, visit www.HearGodsCall.com.)

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