August 17, 2018

Archdiocesan seminarians gather at retreat house to build up fraternity

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson blesses new seminarians for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis during an Aug. 7 Mass at the chapel of Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis. The Mass was part of the annual convocation of archdiocesan seminarians. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson blesses new seminarians for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis during an Aug. 7 Mass at the chapel of Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis. The Mass was part of the annual convocation of archdiocesan seminarians. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Eight years ago, transitional Deacon Timothy DeCrane was about to enter his first year of priestly formation as a freshman at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis.

“The first year, I was really nervous about entering the seminary,” said Deacon DeCrane, a member of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Beech Grove. “Everything was a completely new venture for me.”

His nerves started to be relieved, though, when he began to meet and become friends with his fellow seminarians in early August 2010 at the annual archdiocesan seminarian convocation.

“Getting to know them, they put me at ease,” Deacon DeCrane said. “It gave me an opportunity to connect.”

Earlier this month, less than a year before his priestly ordination, Deacon DeCrane made connections with new seminarians for the Church in central and southern Indiana that are now in the same place he was nearly a decade ago.

One of them was seminarian Kris Garlitch, a member of St. Mary Parish in North Vernon who will be a freshman at Bishop Bruté.

“It’s great,” Garlitch said of the convocation held at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis. “Everyone’s nice. It’s a wonderful environment to be in to make friends. It’s good to create friendships now that could last who knows how long with those guys who will support you.”

Nearly all of the 25 seminarians of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis gathered for the convocation, which is a time of fellowship and prayer for the men discerning a possible calling as future priests.

When the new year of priestly formation begins later this month, the archdiocese will have 14 seminarians at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis and 11 at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad. Four new seminarians will be enrolled at each of the seminaries.

The 25 seminarians come from 19 parishes and eight deaneries across central and southern Indiana. They also represent the cultural diversity of the archdiocese. Two seminarians are Hispanic and two are Burmese.

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson spent time with the seminarians at the convocation, celebrating Mass with them on Aug. 7, and hosting a cookout for them and priests of the archdiocese at his home on Aug. 9.

“It’s good to come together,” Archbishop Thompson said. “Fraternity doesn’t begin after they’re ordained. Fraternity has to begin in the seminary. So coming together like this, praying together, studying together, reflecting together, enjoying each other’s company—this is part of their fraternity.”

In the past, seminarian convocations featured pilgrimages to parishes and shrines across central and southern Indiana. Father Eric Augenstein, archdiocesan vocations director, has kept the seminarians in recent convocations at Fatima.

“The most important goal of the convocation is to build fraternity among the seminarians,” he said. “The more time that we can spend together, wherever we’re at, helps to build that fraternity. Staying local and having more free and unstructured time to be with each other is important.”

Deacon DeCrane hopes to continue building up fraternity among the seminarians throughout the coming formation year by working with transitional Deacon Vincent Gilmore to organize trips of seminarians at Saint Meinrad to Bishop Bruté for the two groups of men in priestly formation for the archdiocese to spend more time together.

“Both of us share a passion for bringing the Meinrad and Bruté communities together,” said Deacon DeCrane. “We want to be much more intentional about community and spending time with each other.”

Archbishop Thompson would like to have more seminarians for the local Church, but he is pleased with the men who are in formation now.

“We have great quality,” he said. “Seeing the quality we have both at the college level and at the theology level is hopefully encouraging for everyone.

“These guys have shown great courage, humility and generosity in their willingness to listen to the Spirit and to discern this calling. Hopefully if it’s meant to be, in God’s grace, most, if not all, of them will be ordained and serve the Church in a very rich way.”
 

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

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