More than a tag line: Building bonds of unity

They are more than just tag lines — these words etched into seminary walls and onto seminarians’ hearts. Each carries its own character and challenges those preparing for leadership in the church to greater unity, service and charity.

As we proudly mark National Vocation Awareness Week from November 6 to 12, these seminary mottos are on our minds.

Father Scott Pogatchnik is vocations director for the Diocese of St. Cloud. He also serves as rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud and pastor of St. Augustine Parish in St. Cloud.

At St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul: “Mater Mea, Fiducia Mea!” — “My Mother, My Confidence!” Asking the humble Virgin to teach us how to receive a vocational call humbly and yet live it boldly.

At the North American College in Rome: “Firmum Est Cor Meum!” — “Steadfast is my Heart!” From Psalm 108 we join King David in praising the Lord who is our model and strength.

At St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul: “Men in Christ, Men of the Church, Men for Others!” Here we see that living for Christ means living in service to others.

And — one of our favorites — Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona: “Ecce Quam Bonum Habitare Fratres In Unum!” — Psalm 133 reminds us “how it is when brothers dwell in unity!”

We pray that you’re able to recognize these qualities in those preparing for the priesthood, diaconate and religious life. Humility. Strength. Service. Unity.

Among the seminarians that we’re blessed to work with, the virtue of unity — of truly seeing others as brothers and sisters on a journey to God — is especially prominent. It was on full display this past June as ordinations approached.

Fr. Ben Kociemba is the associate director of vocations for the Diocese of St. Cloud. He also serves as chaplain of Cathedral High School in St. Cloud.
Father Ben Kociemba is the associate director of vocations for the Diocese of St. Cloud. He also serves as chaplain of Cathedral High School in St. Cloud.

The attention was squarely on those to be ordained: Matthew Langager and Douglas Liebsch as priests and Derek Wiechmann as a transitional deacon. And, yet, the excitement and anticipation seemed to be shared by each of their brother seminarians.

Before anything began in St. Mary’s Cathedral, 12 seminarians gathered at the Marmion Discernment House (at St. Augustine’s rectory in St. Cloud) for prayer, brotherhood, and — yes — to eat. What a sight to see the men so excited to pray morning prayer together in the house chapel and to offer a eucharistic holy hour.

It was quite a challenge to prepare enough pancakes, eggs, bacon and coffee for all those who decided to show up for breakfast, but again the spirit was moving.  This was no time to fast!

In a world divided by so many things, this honest and joyful display of caring for each other was a moving scene. Laughing and storytelling, self-deprecating impersonations, and the real drama of one seminarian about to become an uncle again — it was a true family affair. The bonds of deep spiritual unity were very apparent.

This is but a taste of the unity that’s formed on a daily basis among those called to be good shepherds for our church. Please use the poster featuring seminarians on the next page to continue offering prayers and encouragement.

How good it is when brothers dwell in unity!

— Father Scott Pogatchnik and
Father Ben Kociemba

Author: The Visitor

The Visitor is the official newpaper for the Diocese of Saint Cloud.

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