Each Christmas, the seminarians of the diocese - those studying to be priests - have a gathering with the bishop, priests, and other young men who may be interested in learning more about priesthood. Father Jason Jalbert, the Director of Vocations, invited me to bring some boys from Trinity and 7 accepted my invitation.
The evening began with Vespers, or Evening Prayer, in the chapel of Saint Joseph Cathedral. It was a beautiful service and Bishop Libasci gave, as always, a wonderful homily. The chapel is on the side of the building and it absolutely beautiful. I was first there this fall for Cameron Pichette's '11 reception into the Catholic Church. There were about 100 men there and the sound of all them singing is something special, it reminded me of my time in the seminary.
Following Vespers we went downstairs into the hall for dinner and talks. In addition to Bishop Libasci, Bishops McCormack and Christian were there as was Archbishop Gerald Lacroix, the Archbishop of Quebec and a 1975 graduate of Trinity High School! I was so excited to see him as the last time I saw him was in Rome. He spoke at the end of the evening and the first thing he said was, "My name is Gerry Lacroix and I am a Pioneer." He motioned to our table and we all clapped for him. He gave a beautiful talk about how when he was a student at Trinity, he would walk to work over on Elm Street and stop into the chapel at the cathedral to ask God what He was asking of him. It was a very touching and positive talk and so full of joy and happiness. This man is the real deal.
The seminarians also gave some talks about what it was like applying for the priesthood. Andrew Nelson said that when he was accepted, he was so afraid to tell people. He said it would have been easier to tell people he was a drug dealer! I can relate - when I applied to the seminary, I told very few people. In fact, when I quit my job I told them I was going to study Theology, not for the priesthood.
All of the seminarians were very impressive and poised. In the crowd were three bishops, an archbishop, and tons of priests. But, they were not nervous in the least. We are very lucky to have these men as our future priests.
It was a very powerful evening and a great opportunity for some of our boy to meet the seminarians, priests, and the bishops. I was so proud of the way our students carried themselves and represented Trinity High School. And who knows, perhaps some day.....