Each Christmas season, Bishop Libasci hosts a Christmas party for the seminarians of the Diocese of Manchester. Boys and young men who are interested in the priesthood are also invited to attend and this was the second time I brought some boys from Trinity High School. The party was held at St. Joseph Cathedral and began with Evening Prayer in the beautifully decorated upper church. Bishop Libasci gave a wonderful homily on what Christmas is all about and, as always, did so standing at his chair without notes. He is a brilliant speaker.
Following prayer, we all went downstairs for a social and dinner. The three boys and I sat with our chaplain, Father Richard Dion, as well as our former campus minister Father Andrew Nelson, Father John Sledziona, CM, and seminarian and Trinity alum David Gagnon '11. Father Jason Jalbert, the director of vocations, said a few words and introduced the seminarians. He said how great it was to have such wonderful men studying to be priests and not some "weirdos." That got a huge laugh, especially from some skeptical seminarians! The food was prepared by a Knights of Columbus council out of Hampton Beach. The state council also presented gifts to all the seminarians, mostly gift cards, gas cards, etc, very practical items.
All in all, it was a pleasant evening and so encouraging to see so many young men at least taking the time to learn more about the priesthood. There were four Trinity students in total, three with me and one with his pastor. We have two Trinity alums in the seminary, hopefully there will be a few more soon enough.