October 11, 2019

Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary supporters learn about team approach to promoting vocations

Archbishop Charles C. Thompsons speaks on Sept. 23 on the grounds of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis to some 175 supporters of the archdiocesan-operated college seminary during its annual Celebrate Bruté event. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

Archbishop Charles C. Thompsons speaks on Sept. 23 on the grounds of Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis to some 175 supporters of the archdiocesan-operated college seminary during its annual Celebrate Bruté event. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson recently announced a restructuring of the staff of the archdiocesan vocations office aimed at encouraging all priests, deacons, religious and lay Catholics across central and southern Indiana to promote vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

The seeds of such a “culture of vocations,” as Archbishop Thompson described it, were on display on Sept. 23

during the annual Celebrate Bruté event at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis.

Some 175 priests, seminarians and supporters of the archdiocesan-operated college seminary from across central and southern Indiana gathered to learn more about the priestly formation that takes place at Bishop Bruté.

The changes made in the archdiocesan vocations office were also discussed.

An aspect of the priestly formation at Bishop Bruté that was highlighted during Celebrate Bruté was the fraternity that is nurtured among its current 41 seminarians who come from eight dioceses.

“These young are learning not only how to have that fraternity and community with each another,” said Archbishop Thompson, “but to take that witness to a world that’s desperately hungering for a sense of belonging, a sense of meaning, a sense of what it means to be part of a family, the human family and, more importantly, the family of God.”

Building up fraternity among future priests during their time in seminary will benefit them after they enter ordained ministry, Archbishop Thompson said.

“That community, that foundation that these young men are forming here is something that they’re forming for a lifetime,” he said. “They may not even appreciate it right now fully. But I think any priest would tell you how important it is to have that connection.”

Archdiocesan seminarian Liam Hosty has been part of the seminarian community at Bruté for three years. In that time, he’s begun to value the fraternity nurtured there.

“It’s grown more and more every year since I’ve been here,” said Hosty in an interview with The Criterion. “It’s helped me grow in a priestly identity while being formed academically, pastorally and spiritually.”

Hosty, a member of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis, is a senior at Bishop Bruté and at nearby Marian University.

In remarks to those attending, Father Andrew Syberg, a formation dean at the seminary, reflected on the expansive nature of the seminary community.

“The community of Simon Bruté is not confined to community here in these walls,” said Father Syberg. “It is extended out to you. The future of our Church relies on all of us to encourage vocations and to form men for the priesthood. We all have a part to play in this.”

Listening to Father Syberg was Crystal Platteter, a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Bedford. She appreciates the priestly formation that takes place in the seminary and lets fellow Catholics in the Bloomington Deanery know about it.

“What happens here is good,” she said. “Sometimes all we hear out there is bad stuff. But what happens in this building is solid, concrete goodness.”

For the past six years, Father Eric Augenstein has served as archdiocesan vocations director, helping young men discerning a possible priestly vocation and overseeing the priestly formation of archdiocesan seminarians, including those at Bishop Bruté.

He spoke with those at the gathering about the staffing changes in the vocations office, emphasizing the team approach being taken to promote vocations by the new director of vocations, Father Michael Keucher, and the five associate directors who minister in various places across the archdiocese.

“It is an opportunity for us as brother priests to come together to do this work of vocations and to work alongside all the other priests, religious and lay people of our archdiocese in doing that work,” said Father Augenstein. “It’s not something that one person does alone. It’s something that we do as a Church. So, this team-based model will help us to promote that throughout our archdiocese.”

In the restructured vocations office, Father Augenstein serves as director of seminarians, overseeing the seminarian application process and the formation of seminarians. He will continue to minister as pastor of Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish in Indianapolis.

Father Douglas Marcotte, pastor of St. Simon the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis and one of the new associate directors of vocations, attended Celebrate Bruté.

In an interview with The Criterion afterward, he spoke about the advantages of the new team approach to promote vocations.

“Vocations is the work of the whole Church,” Father Marcotte said. “I think in many ways this new model emphasizes that and allows us to really work at vocations according to what our local communities need.

“Something that works in the city of Indianapolis may be different from what works in the Batesville Deanery, which might be different from something that works in New Albany or Tell City.”

He was also encouraged by seeing so many supporters at the gathering.

“It just re-emphasizes that the people of God in central and southern Indiana care deeply about supporting young men who feel like they have a call to the priesthood,” Father Marcotte said. “That’s so crucial for each one of us.

“We not only need to listen to and be open to that call, but we also need to receive the support of our brothers and sisters in Christ. As we know, we’re not meant to live this life for ourselves or on our own. We’re meant to live it for and with one another. That was on display in a beautiful way at the Celebrate Bruté event.”

(For more information on Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, visit bishopsimonbrute.org. For more information about vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, visit www.HearGodsCall.com.)

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