‘It is Christ or nothing’

Bri Campbell Uncategorized

Nine more men enter St. Joseph College Seminary

SueAnn Howell, Senior Reporter  |  Catholic News Herald

MOUNT HOLLY — Nine young men have joined St. Joseph College Seminary, bringing the total enrollment to 27 as the college seminary kicks off the academic year in its new permanent home in Mount Holly.

The members of “Echo class” were welcomed by the college seminary’s rector, Father Matthew Kauth, during Mass Aug. 2 at St. Ann Church in Charlotte. After Mass, the new men moved in to their new quarters.

St. Joseph College Seminary, now in its fifth year, is for undergraduate men discerning a possible religious vocation, before taking the step of enrolling in a major seminary for specific formation to the priesthood for the Diocese of Charlotte. Students work toward a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at nearby

Belmont Abbey College while experiencing a Benedictine-style communal life on their path of discernment.

In his homily, Father Kauth spoke directly to the new class.

“You have to be just about mad (to follow Christ),” he said, smiling at them. “I’m not sure how far you’ll go. Maybe you will go all the way. But all the way isn’t just the priesthood. The priesthood is a means that Christ uses as an instrument to serve His faithful. All the way, of course, is sanctity.”

Drawing from Matthew 14:13-21, Sunday’s Gospel reading which recounts Christ’s multiplication of the loaves and fishes to feed thousands, Father

Kauth told them: “The hunger that we have for Jesus Christ is greater than any other hunger.”

The college seminary’s rigorous schedule, the coursework, the intense prayer and discernment efforts – “all of that is just to put all those lesser hungers aside, so (as to) feed on God alone,” he continued.

“If you are going to follow Jesus Christ, He has made it such that you cannot follow anyone or anything else. No other metric, no other reasoning, no other campaign – just Him. It is Christ or nothing.

“You have no idea what He will feed you with. No idea how He will slake your thirst. No idea how He will fill your heart’s greatest longings. But you know enough to take a step and to hope beyond hope that He will respond to you and turn around and say, ‘I’m not going to send you away. I will give you something to eat.’”

After Mass, the nine men and their families drove to the new seminary building to move in to their rooms. For the first time since the college seminary opened with its first class in 2016, all students will be living and studying together under the same roof. Enrollment in previous years was so high that the diocese had to purchase multiple houses to accommodate everyone while the permanent building was under construction. The building was finished this summer.

During their move-in, the new men and their families were assisted by their older fellow students. They toured the building while their parents attended an orientation, and a welcome dinner for them and their families rounded out the day’s events.

For more information

The St. Joseph College Seminary building may be largely complete yet campaign fundraising continues, with $14.5 million of the $20 million raised so far. For information, go to www.stjcs.org.