Monday, April 15, 2013

St. Joseph's Seminary-Dunwoodie, Yonkers

The "Friends of the Seminary," a group of men and women who support the seminarians of Rockville Centre and the beautiful Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington (now a learning and retreat center) took a day trip on Saturday to visit the seminarians studying at St. Joseph's Seminary. (The seminarians of Rockville Centre no longer study at Huntington, so we wanted to show "The Friends," St. Joseph's, where the seminarians now live and study, along with seminarians from the Brooklyn Diocese, the Archdiocese of NY and some from religious orders.) We celebrated Mass with the seminarians, had a tour of the chapel and enjoyed lunch with them. We were welcomed by that extraordinary priest and new rector of St. Joseph's- Msgr. Peter Vaccari. (Him and his brother, Msgr. Andrew Vaccari (pastor of St. Mary Mother of Jesus in Brooklyn) are two of the finest priests I know!) What a blessed family!
For many years I have been a part of this group called "The Friends." We have fundraising events to help with the support of seminarians, we pray for them and have a vocations prayer hour once a month. Some of "The Friends" on the Rose Garden committee work in the Rose Garden during the warm months of the year. These are wonderful people who love the Church and want to help. 
But getting back to the seminarians, they are a true reflection of the Church in the modern world. They come from all ethnic backgrounds and races, but they have one thing in common, they love God and they love the Church and they want to serve. Some of us were talking to a seminarian named Mark who will be ordained in two years. He will be a Navy chaplain, and he explained to us that once he's ordained, his assignment will be to fly in a helicopter to celebrate Mass on 5 different ships on a Sunday. Very impressive and his vocation is needed so much. I asked him to pray for world peace, so that his role is basically serving during peacetime.  
The seminarians are striving for holiness as was evident during the Mass. They sang hymns loudly and with conviction, they prayed reverently, it was so uplifting to celebrate Mass with them. Fr. Charles Caccavale was the celebrant and he gave a thought provoking homily. "Let us choose the resurrection everyday, over and over again we have to choose to be people of the resurrection." (I'm paraphrasing). 
Msgr. Peter Vaccari, spoke to us after lunch about the stain glass windows in the chapel depicting scenes from both the Old and New Testament and described other works of art in the magnificent chapel. 
It was a wonderful bus trip from Huntington to Yonkers. Beverly Malone, the Director of Development at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception worked hard to put the day together and we're always grateful for her assistance. The Church is alive and well because of young men who continue to be counter-cultural and answer God's call selflessly and receptively. They say "Yes" to God and we are thankful for them. 
God Bless Them and God Bless "The Friends of the Seminary!"