In mid-October, I spent a couple of eventful days at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. On Wednesday, Oct. 13 Ryan Stoer and Tristan Stovall were instituted to the order of acolyte. Acolyte institution is the final step before ordination to Holy Orders as a deacon. Men who are instituted to this order are given the opportunity to serve the Mass and even purify the vessels following Mass. Prior to acolyte institution candidates for the priesthood are instituted as lectors. Ryan and Tristan have been joy-filled witnesses to the formation process from the beginning of their time in the seminary. Please keep them and their families in your prayers.
The day after that joyous occasion I was surprised by some monumental news in the life of Notre Dame Seminary. The longtime rector of NDS, Father Jim Wehner, had already announced that this would be his 10th and final year leading the community as he would return to serve in his home diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and on Oct. 14 NDS announced that Father Josh Rodrigue would succeed Father Wehner in that post. I was very pleased to hear this news. Father Wehner has been an incredible leader at the seminary, and I believe that Father Rodrigue will be able to keep the momentum going in New Orleans. Father Josh taught me during part of my time in the seminary, and he has been a great support to many men who have been recently ordained to the priesthood.
My time at the seminary was a time of great joy and being back for a couple of days was a great reminder that while this is no longer my home it remains a great one for the men who are seeking to know whether they are called to be priests. In the coming days I plan on visiting the other seminary that serves our priestly candidates, St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington, and I look forward to checking in on our two youngest seminarians, Will Foggo and Grayson Foley. Thank you as always for your support of our vocations department. Our final fundraising total from the Homegrown Harvest Festival was $81,177. All of these funds will go toward the education of our future priests as well as programs and events to help others discern whether they are called to the seminary or religious community to follow God’s call to Holy Orders or religious life.