|Beantown in the Rockies|
|Written by Sherry|
|Saturday, 19 January 2008 07:15|
Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston is spending a snowy week here in the mountains of Colorado leading a retreat for the seminarians of the diocese at St. Malo's Retreat Center. He has posted a lot of photographs of St. Malo on his blog, including pictures of Pope John Paul's visit there in 1993 (when he was in town for World Youth Day) .
St. Malo's has a spectacular setting as you can see but the retreatants won't be going for many strolls since the temps will be well below freezing all week and the wind chills will be truly chillin'. (it's spectacularly beautiful, frosted, sunny and very cold here this morning so I can only imagine what is is like 1700 feet higher with 45 miles a hour wind gusts!)
Cardinal Sean (as he referrs to himself on his blog) writes about the Archdiocese of Denver's practice of having their candidates for the priesthood spend an extra "spirituality" year before beginning their philosophy studies.
"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."
The idea of both the additional "spirituality" year in Denver and the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton (about which I had heard fabulous things) is the personal spirituality - the intentional discipleship - of seminarians. As I have heard from both Michaels and from other priests, the intellectual focus of seminary is considerable and constant -but the integration of the spiritual and human aspect of their lives has often received less attention, especially in the recent past. That is changing dramatically now - and in some very creative and powerful ways.
I've been in touch with some of the faculty and students of IPF who see a significant correlation between our work at the Institute and theirs. Take a moment to browse their website - its very impressive.
I've had a long post brewing for a while on this whole subject - but it is one of those posts that requires real thought, work, and time - and I'm going to be working at full speed all weekend trying to get caught up before the next round of trips and workshops so this isn't the day. Visiting the IPF website is a good way to stimulate your own thinking on the topic.