October 6, 2016 | 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
From the Rector’s Perspective: Limits in Seminary Formation
As vocation directors, we often take an optimistic outlook on the possibility for success in our candidates. In some cases, our optimism is matched to reality; in other cases, encountering very real obstacles to growth, the seminary formation staff reveals to us that we overestimated a candidate’s readiness to grow. Hindsight is 20/20, but that doesn’t excuse us from the opportunity to develop better foresight! As a former vocation director and now rector, Fr. Jim Mason has seen both sides of the argument between “giving a man a chance” and understanding the practical limits of what a seminary formation program can and cannot accomplish. He will include specific discussion on how to best assist a man to delay application or leave seminary.
Rev. James Mason
Fr. James Mason is a Priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After being ordained in 2001, he served as Pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Garretson from 2001-2004 and as the Director of Vocations, Vice-Chancellor, and Medical Moral Advisor for the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls from 2001-2009. In addition, Father Mason served as the Director of Broom Tree Retreat Center from 2004-2014 and as Pastor of St. Lambert Parish in Sioux Falls from 2008-2014. He served as the Director of Spiritual Formation and Dean of Students at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis before being named President-Rector as of July 1, 2015. Father Mason attended the North American College and received his STB from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas – Angelicum, Rome. He received his JD from the University of Minnesota Law School. Prior to entering the seminary, Father Mason was the Director of Catholic Charities, legal counsel, and lobbyist for the Diocese of Sioux Falls and worked as a prosecutor in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Father Mason has traveled the world, giving many retreats for priests and for the Missionaries of Charity. He directs a 30 day Silent Ignatian Retreat at Broom Tree Retreat Center and has also taught a course on the Spirituality of the Diocesan Priesthood at the Institute of Priestly Formation (IPF) Summer Program.
Configured to Christ: Benchmarks in Spiritual Formation
PPF 280: “The annual evaluation should include a well-founded judgment concerning the suitability of the seminarian for advancement to the next year of formation.” The PPF provides some observable qualities as areas of accountability for spiritual formation, but how does a vocation director really make a judgment about a man’s interior life? How can a formator be sure that a seminarian’s actions are not merely “performed to be seen” (Matthew 23:5), but rather indications of true spiritual growth? Fr. Barron will offer some insights from his experience as a spiritual director on assessing spiritual growth and readiness to advance to the next year of formation.
Rev. Daniel Barron
Fr. Dan grew up in Traverse City, Michigan. He entered the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in Boston in 1987. Ordained in 1996, Fr. Dan worked in parish ministry for eight years (Alton, Illinois and Denver, Colorado). From 2002 to 2007 he was a spiritual director and faculty member at IPF’s summer program in Omaha. He is the co-founder of the Lanteri Center for Ignatian Spirituality in Denver, which has been offering formation programs in the ministry of spiritual direction since 2004. He served on the Oblates’ Provincial Council for ten years, and as novice master and formator for 5 years. In 2012, he was appointed Director of Spiritual Formation at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, where he also serves as the head spiritual director for the annual 30-day retreat for the seminarians in the Spirituality Year. He has been the writer/editor of MagnifiKid! since it was first published in the United States in 2003.
Don’t Fish Alone: Sharing the Mission of Vocations with Brother Priests
The success of a Vocation Office depends on your brother priests. Find out how to share the mission with them. Realistically, you will receive the most help from a small handful of brother priests. How well do you enable them to help you? How well do you show them your appreciation? How well do you invest in them so that they can better invest in candidates they work with? Additionally, how can you find a few more key priests who would likely do more to help you if you invested in them and gave them a little nudge? How can you invest in them and bring them onboard as “fishers of men?” The ocean of vocations is too big to fish it alone; invite & outfit brother priests to help you!
Rev. Christopher Martin
Fr. Martin was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 2006. He spent his first five years as a parochial vicar at a parish before being named vocation director in 2011. In 2012 he opened and became director of the Kolbe House, a house of discernment for men who are discerning priesthood. In 2016 Archbishop Carlson appointed him as Vice-Rector of Cardinal Glennon Seminary. He currently serves as a national board member for Life Teen International and as a team member for the Steubenville Youth Conferences. He currently as an NCDVD Member-at-Large.