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May 12, 2010
New seminary dormitory dedicated
Facility to house Spirituality Year men
By John Gleason
Faculty, seminarians and friends came together on May 6 to commemorate the latest addition to St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., led the joyous blessing of the new Spirituality Year House and dedication of Our Lady Mother of Priests Oratory.
St. John Vianney Seminary is located at 1300 S. Steele St. in south Denver on the John Paul II Center campus.
The rite of dedication included the blessing of the chapel and the anointing of the altar. This was followed by celebration of Mass after which Archbishop Chaput walked through the dormitory, blessing the rooms. Mass was concelebrated by Msgr. Michael Glenn, rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary; Father Florian Martin-Calama, rector of Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary (which is also located at the John Paul II Center and whose seminarians attend classes at St. John Vianney Seminary) and other formation-faculty priests of the seminaries.
The residence can accommodate up to 25 men and is intended as the dormitory for those enrolled in St. John Vianney Seminary’s Spirituality Year. The Spirituality Year is a time when a young man discerns his vocation and gains a more studied knowledge of Scripture and Catholic teaching. Until now, the 21 men currently in the Spirituality Year have been living on the third floor of the St. John Vianney Seminary building.
“The Spirituality Year runs semi-independently from the main seminary,” Father Christopher Hellstrom, directory of the Spirituality Year told the Denver Catholic Register. “Therefore, the Spirituality Year program really needed its own space, and this helps the main seminary to use its space much better.”
Msgr. Glenn agreed.
“It provides the men an opportunity to have a more focused life centered on study, prayer and discernment, away from the seminary schedule,” he told the Denver Catholic Register. “It also will free up dormitory space within the seminary as we attract more vocations.”
The idea for seminaries to offer a Spirituality Year was encouraged by Pope John Paul II.
“Few seminaries have opted to provide this year of spiritual preparation before entering the rigors of theological education,” Msgr. Glenn said. “This extraordinary opportunity allows the men to carry a deep sense of their spirituality throughout formation and into their priestly lives.”
Through the benefit of donors, construction of the $4.3 million Spirituality Year House began in April 2009. Designed by Larson Incitti Architects, construction was done by Horizon West Builders. In addition to the individual dorm rooms and the chapel, the house contains living and dining rooms, kitchen, classrooms, laundry facilities and courtyard. Members of the current Spirituality Year class moved in two weeks ago.
Following a blessing with holy water, Archbishop Chaput used sacred chrism to anoint the altar.
“We come before you to dedicate to your lasting service this house of prayer, this temple of worship,” he said. “Lord, send your Spirit from heaven to make this church an ever-holy place and this altar a ready table for the sacrifice of Christ.”
After the anointing, a brazier was placed on the altar and incense added to it.
“Lord, may our prayer ascend as incense in your sight,” the archbishop said. “As this building is filled with fragrance, so may your Church fill the world with the fragrance of Christ.”
Following Mass, Archbishop Chaput walked the halls of the new dormitory, blessing each of the rooms. He then led the congregation outside to bless a statue of St. Michael the Archangel. Commissioned by donors, the bronze statue is the creation of religious artist Lynn Kircher, whose work includes the outdoor Stations of the Cross on the grounds of the John Paul II Center. The statue is now on permanent display on the lawn outside the entrance to Christ the King Chapel.
In what can be called a highlight moment for the Archdiocese of Denver and St. John Vianney Seminary, Msgr. Glenn said the seminary has been blessed with a wealth of vocations. Currently, 112 men are in formation at St. John Vianney; 62 of those men are in formation to serve as priests for the Denver Archdiocese with the remainder in formation to serve other dioceses.
“While we are deeply humbled by the vocations we receive, we are cognizant that there is always a need for more vocations,” he said. “The ideal situation would be to have an abundance of vocations to serve not only the local Church but to also serve the needs of the wider Church throughout the world.”