Men of Faith: Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
The challenges of the pandemic have highlighted the important role spiritual leaders play in so many lives. Thanks to years of hard work and training, they have the wisdom and compassion necessary to advise and comfort during difficult times. With a rich heritage of philosophical, theological and pastoral service, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary has been helping form the religious leaders of the Catholic Church since as far back as the 19th century.
The seminary offers both graduate and undergraduate programs with a curriculum that focuses on the spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and human formation of its students. Like so many learning institutions, Kenrick-Glennon was forced to transition to distance learning in March. “Professors used recorded lectures, Zoom meetings and other tools to continue classes and formation exercises virtually,” says Kate Sauerburger, director of development. “Our program is so much more than the classroom. The priesthood is about being part of a community. We used technology to stay in touch as much as possible and livestreamed Mass from the chapel.” Seminarians continued to serve in parishes, finding new ways to minister to those in need.
This month, students will return to campus to resume in-person learning with new social distancing protocols. Sauerburger notes the challenges of the pandemic have helped them grow in their ministry. “Our mission is to prepare good, holy, healthy men for the priesthood. A large part of that is meeting people at all stages of their lives, whether it’s the joy of a birth or the grief of a funeral,” she says. “With COVID-19, we were all thrown into a new world. Our seminarians had to figure out how to be a positive pastoral presence while dealing with their own struggles. It was a big challenge but also an unexpectedly powerful teaching point.” Even with these new obstacles, 33 men were ordained this spring to the priesthood and transitional diaconate.
Kenrick-Glennon’s programs are made possible through the generosity of donors and its annual Convivium Dinner Auction, the seminary’s sole annual fundraising event. Saurburger says the plan is to still hold the event in person Nov. 7 at the Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta St. Louis, but special measures are being taken to address health and safety concerns. “Convivium is essential to sustaining our mission, so we are taking a multi-pronged approach this year,” she explains. “We want to connect with as many people as possible, and that includes those who aren’t comfortable attending in person.”
The evening begins with Mass live-streamed from the Chapel of St. Joseph at Kenrick-Glennon. For guests attending virtually, the seminary is partnering with Butler’s Pantry to offer an at-home dinner option, which will include a meal, signature cocktail and other goodies. Virtual guests also will be able to participate in the auction through mobile bidding. “Supporters who cannot attend in person or virtually still can participate in our raffle,” Saurberger adds. “They just need to buy a ticket, and they’ll potentially win a big prize.”
With the COVID-19 situation evolving daily, she suggests people stay updated through Kenrick-Glennon’s social media pages. “If anyone is interested in Convivium or seminary life in general, that’s a great place to get info,” she says.
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary’s Convivium Dinner Auction, Nov. 7, supports future priests in their journey toward ordination. Pictured on the cover: Seminarians Joseph Esserman, Joseph Martin and Matthew Deken. For more information, call 314.792.7438 or visit kenrick.edu.
Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo by Suzy Gorman
Pictured at top: Seminarian Bobby Tull, pastoral intern in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, greets parishioners
Photo courtesy of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary