“Interestingly enough, though I may be speaking, the seminarians are not. It is a silent retreat, so they do not talk, not even at meals.” Pilot photo/ Courtesy Camp St. Malo
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This week I am in Denver visiting relatives — my brother and his family. I have many nephews out here.
During my visit, I am also giving a retreat for the seminarians from the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. They have 41 seminarians from 14 different dioceses. I accepted this invitation in part because Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is my classmate and good friend. He has worked hard to promote the seminary.
The retreat is held at Camp St. Malo, a wonderful retreat house in the Rocky Mountains.
We are at the timberline with a spectacular view of the snow-covered peaks and, if you can image, there are bears, mountain lions and mountain goats in the area around the facility!
In fact, this is the same place Pope John Paul II came to go hiking in the mountains when he was in Denver for World Youth Day.
I came to the Denver seminary many years ago when Cardinal James Francis Stafford was the archbishop, and I gave a retreat to the priests of Denver in this same retreat house. It is a wonderful facility, and my visit gives me a little more time for prayer and reflection as we start the new year — an opportunity I appreciate very much.
In all, I will deliver 19 talks to the seminarians during the course of the week. I have already spoken to them about prayer, evangelical councils, the new evangelization and different aspects of the priesthood. In the evening, we have Eucharistic adoration until 11 p.m.
Interestingly enough, though I may be speaking, the seminarians are not. It is a silent retreat, so they do not talk, not even at meals.
Thursday night, however, we had a question and answer session. It was very lively session — quite a contrast to the time of silence.
Three priests from the seminary are accompanying me at the retreat — two Jesuit fathers and a diocesan priest. They are here as spiritual advisors and confessors.
One interesting program at the seminary in Denver is their “spiritual year.” It is yearlong program for spiritual formation with emphasis on prayer and apostolic service to the poor. Being here gives me an opportunity to hear from the seminarians themselves about how they have experienced that year. At St. John’s in Boston, we have been sending seminarians out to Creighton University, a Jesuit school in Nebraska, for a similar program, but it lasts only a summer rather than a full year.
Also in this week’s blog:
• Interfaith Assembly for Life
• Appointment of our new secretary of education and superintendent of schools
• Father Matt Williams describes the new Office for the New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults.