Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook

Archives Seminarians receive degrees, Rite at workshop

July 29, 2020

By Darcy Fargo

OGDENSBURG –Three Diocese of Ogdensburg Seminarians received their undergraduate degrees and the Ministry of Acolyte was conferred on another seminarian in a Mass held at Wadhams Hall on July 21 as part of the seminarians’ annual Summer Workshop.

Seminarians Nicholas Olley, Carter Pierce and Douglas Schirmer received bachelor’s degrees from Pontifical College of Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. The three young men were unable to receive their degrees in a ceremony at the seminary due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“They missed out, if we could say it that way, on their graduation ceremony at Pontifical College,” said Father Christopher C. Carrara, Episcopal Vicar for Clergy and director of Seminarians for the diocese. “This seemed like a perfect opportunity.”

Also at the Mass, the Ministry of Acolyte was conferred on Seminarian Leagon Carlin, a student at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The Rite of Installation of Acolyte would typically be celebrated at the seminary, but was delayed and celebrated by Bishop Terry R. LaValley, also due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Acolytes assist the deacon and the priest at liturgies by preparing and cleaning the altar and sacred vessels and, when necessary, act as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. The acolyte also has other important functions, such as leading the procession by carrying the cross to and from the altar at the beginning and end of Mass.

“Because you are specially called to this ministry, you should strive to live more fully by the Lord’s sacrifice and to be molded more perfectly in its likeness,” the Rite says. “You should seek to understand the deep spiritual meaning of what you do, so that you may offer yourselves daily to God as spiritual sacrifices acceptable to him through Jesus Christ.”

In the homily he delivered at the Mass, Bishop LaValley noted that “some would say today’s generation has an attitude of entitlement,” and he asked the seminarians present to reflect on the day they became entitled as Christians, the day of their baptisms.

“That day, we were given a mission, a baptismal charge to be about doing the will of God, to be about the Father’s business,” Bishop LaValley said. “Our attitude of entitlement should be that of being an intentional disciple.”

Bishop LaValley reminded the seminarians that “Jesus took time away, time to be off by himself in prayer.”

“I would invite you in your own prayer to tap into that intimate relationship that Jesus had with his Father while he walked on this earth,” he said.

Bishop LaValley encouraged the seminarians to “be creative” when praying.

“Give yourself permission to be creative in your prayer,” he said. “Don’t do all the talking in the dialogue. Listen. Listen to how our God made man was energized, challenged, affirmed and so richly loved in doing the Father’s business, His will.”

Bishop LaValley reminded the seminarians gathered that the Church – through its traditions, teachings, seminary classes and formation, and parish faith formation – “helps us to know the Father’s will.”

Father Carrara noted that the 17 diocesan seminarians, upon arrival at Wadhams Hall for their summer workshop, spent some time exploring the building and located pictures of the classes that attended the seminary prior to its closing, pictures which featured a number of active priests in the diocese.

“You missed out on graduating from Pontifical College, a wonderful institution, but you’re graduating instead from the institution the brother priests of the diocese graduated from,” he said. “Praise God, you’ll be serving with them.”

While he said he wishes the semester had ended differently for the graduates, Father Carrara noted that he saw blessings in the fact that the seminarians were able to celebrate their graduations with their families, fellow diocesan seminarians, himself and Bishop LaValley here in the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

“For our sake, I’m glad you’re here,” he said. “What an honor it is for us to be here with you.”

When awarding the degrees, Bishop LaValley praised the young graduates.

“We have some mighty fine young Christian gentlemen who have just graduated,” Bishop LaValley said. “They’re joining the ranks of fine young Christian gentleman of years gone by.”

Bishop LaValley also praised the group of 17 diocesan seminarians and their families.

“We have a group of seminarians that I’d put up against any group anywhere,” he said. “It’s the fraternity that these guys are about. It’s the prayer they’re taking so seriously. It’s their love of family. They’re Gospel people. We have to thank their moms and dads for that. You’ve done good, moms and dads.”

Bishop LaValley noted that two in attendance at the gathering, Deacon Jude Nnadibuagha and Deacon Severinus Torwoe, are scheduled to be ordained as priests on Aug. 1, while two others, Matthew Conger and John Kennedy Ojuok, will be ordained as deacons.

“Because of the way things are in the world right now, not everyone will be able to enjoy their ordination with their families,” Bishop LaValley said. “But this is family, as well. Welcome to the family of the Church of Ogdensburg.”


North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.