The Path Back to Rome

By: Bishop Paul S. Loverde

It is with a grateful heart that I praise God for the 34 seminarians who are actively discerning a life of service to Christ and His Church in our diocese. The sacrifices they have made and will make to become spiritual fathers of the faithful should not be overlooked or underestimated. We should all make frequent and fervent attempts to support them through prayer, service and encouragement.

Bishop Loverde, Fr. Wagner and diocesan seminarians in front of St. Peter's Basilica.

Next week, I have the privilege of traveling to Rome to visit the seven young men from the Diocese of Arlington who are currently discerning and studying at the Pontifical North American College in Vatican City. During this time of year, I make an effort to visit each seminarian and their seminary rector. Myself a priest who has benefited from camaraderie with many priests and bishops, I value the bonds we form and know that they are crucial on the path to ordination and during their time – God willing – as priests of the Diocese of Arlington.

In addition to the men studying in Rome, we currently have men studying at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary (Emmitsburg, Md.), Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary (Wynnewood, Pa.), Blessed John XXIII National Seminary (Weston, Ma.), Pontifical College Josephinum (Columbus, Ohio), and the Theological College (Washington, D.C.). I will visit each of them as the winter progresses. In addition to 34 seminarians, we also have 27 men in formation for the permanent diaconate and 22 men and 27 women in formation for the religious life.

This upcoming trip is also special for me because the Pontifical North American College is where I spent several formative years as a seminarian. I can personally attest to the solid formation and education that the college provides for those discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

Bishop Loverde, Fr. Wagner and diocesan seminarians at a side chapel in St. Peter's.

While these men have the opportunity to pursue their vocation in Vatican City, each of us relies on the same tools to pursue our own vocation: prayer, study and fellowship. We are all part of the Body of Christ: whether here in the U.S. or abroad, whether discerning a call to religious life or faithfully living out our call to married life, we are united in His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I hope to have the honor of seeing the Holy Father during the Wednesday General Audience, and I will bring to him all of your prayers of support. As I prepare to depart for Rome, please join me in praying for our seminarians and for those considering the priesthood, as well as in giving thanks for the continued thriving of vocations in the Diocese of Arlington.

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