Yesterday, May 13th, was the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the anniversary of the founding of the Daughters of the Virgin Mother and, this year, Ascension Thursday. It was fitting for us to celebrate our last communal feast on the day in which our Lord was taken from the disciples. I say fitting because everyone is packing to leave.
It is always a bittersweet reality watching the men pack up for the summer, especially those who graduate. On the one hand, I and the priests and sisters will miss their presence. On the other, we are joyful for them that they move forward pursuing their vocations in Christ. In fact, this is exactly what our Lord once said to His disciples and what they were finally able to accomplish.
Our graduates receive their house cassocks and honor Our Lady at Vespers.
Perhaps the saddest words in the Sacred Scriptures are ab oculis eorum. When our Lord ascended to heaven he was taken from their sight, literally from their eyes. Christ once said to them in a rather striking phrase, if you loved me you would rejoice that I am going to my Father.
Maybe the first graces of the Resurrection so changed their human love that for the first time they began to love Him in a way that they wanted His good. I say this because the disciples fulfill Christ’s words when the text says that they left the mount of the Ascension rejoicing. They loved Him and were rejoicing that He went to our true home and of course, that they would follow. Soon He would send His promised gift of the Holy Spirit who would give them a true participation in His life and draw them by all of their faculties and powers toward their true home as well.
Pray that our men who graduate and those who are just gone for the summer have their eyes fixed on their true home and on Him who is their head. As the prayer of the Mass says, where He has gone we now have hope to follow.
Also pray that those who have a calling to the holy priesthood will have the courage to answer the call. If you know any young men from the ages of 15-19, encourage them to join us this year for our annual Quo Vadis Retreat, a retreat that teaches men how to properly discern the Lord's Will in their lives.
As we close on another school year, I again thank you for all of your prayers and support. It won't be long until the graduates of St. Joseph College Seminary start to return to our diocese as priests in our own parishes. Be assured of our prayers for you and your families this summer.