I have been an active friend of the "Friends of the Seminary" for many years. I was also a Vice President and President of the volunteer organization that helps fund- raise and plan events for the "friends." We help the Seminary and we help the seminarians who now study at Dunwoodie in Yonkers at St. Joseph's Seminary. Yesterday on Dec. 4th, the Spirituality Committee planned a great day of prayer, theology, art and music, with the rector's permission and advice. Msgr. Richard Henning is a great rector and he has been an asset to the Seminary. He is making improvements and is very involved in making sure the Seminary remains vital to the surrounding areas of Long Island and the Diocese of Rockville Centre and the Diocese of Brooklyn. Since St. Ignatius Retreat House on the North Shore of LI in North Hills sadly closed and was demolished (the magnificent property will be used to build luxury houses), the Seminary in Huntington has become more important as a place for retreats, education and days of prayer.
The day began with Mass in the Main Chapel and Bishop Massa presided and the Rector, the Associate Rector and Fr. Hugh Gillespie concelebrated.
At the Marian Symposium the Keynote Address was given by Bishop James Massa (Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn and Moderator of the Curia). His lecture was well thought out and fascinating. He spoke about "The Nursing Virgin Mary (Madonna Lactans) in Christian art, devotion and "its theological purpose to honor the sacred humanity" of Jesus. He also spoke about Mary as the Mother of God (Theotokos) and many other fascinating aspects of Marian theology. He highly suggested the book, "The Splendor of the Church" by Henri de Lubac which I am going to try to read this winter. We were all impressed.
His talk was followed by another extraordinary presentation by Fr. Hugh Gillespie, SMM, who is a well known presenter on Marian devotion. He managed to mix deep theological (and challenging) thoughts with an entertaining presentation. It was very good.
That was followed by a powerpoint presentation by Angela-DeLessio-Morrisson who is a local artist and she discussed icons and in particular Our Lady of Perpetual Help icon. Angela is a graduate of the Master's Degree Program at the Seminary. She gave a wonderful presentation. And if that wasn't all enough, we did manage to fit in lunch and a musical interlude by the Cathedral Seminary Schola by the Pre-Theologians studying at Cathedral Seminary House of Formation in Douglaston, Queens. That was heavenly.
The day ended with Solemn Vespers and though I very much wanted to stay, I don't like driving on the North Shore of LI roads in the dark and so I had to leave before darkness fell.
What a great spiritual day, filled with knowledge of God and Mary. All so good for the soul.