Br. Etienne Ordained to the Diaconate

Abbot Gregory Polan, Br. Etienne Huard, and Bishop James V. Johnston after the ordination of Br. Etienne to the diaconate.

On Thursday May 19, 2016, Br. Etienne Huard, OSB, was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop James V. Johnston of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph. Witnessed by his brother monks, family, and friends, it was a truly joyful occasion for all as Br. Etienne takes the final step before his priestly ordination next May.

Br. Etienne is a native of Wichita, KS and the son of Constance and the late Steven Huard.  He graduated from Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Wichita, KS before attending Conception Seminary College to discern a vocation to the priesthood.  While at CSC, Br. Etienne fell in love with the rural setting, prayer life, and strong sense of community that he found among the monks of Conception Abbey.  Deciding to discern a vocation to the monastic life, Br. Etienne entered the monastery in June of 2008 and professed vows on Aug. 15, 2010.  Over these past few years, Br. Etienne has enriched Conception Abbey by serving as Director of Admissions of Conception Seminary College and Assistant Vocations Director for the monastery, while also pursuing the art of photography with work featured in items sold by The Printery House.

This fall, Br. Etienne will return to St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA for his last year of seminary.  Upon completion of his studies, Br. Etienne will receive a Masters in Divinity and a Master of Arts in Systematic Theology, as well as complete all formation needed to be ordained to the priesthood. He will also continue his ministry assignment as the chaplain for the St. Vincent College Women’s Lacrosse and Tennis teams. Br. Etienne looks forward to completing his final year of seminary and returning home to Conception Abbey next spring.


Conception Seminary College Holds Commencement

Conception Seminary College Graduates.

Conception, Mo – May 16, 2016 – On Saturday May 14, 2016, Conception Seminary College concluded its academic year with a commencement ceremony in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Thirteen men received their Bachelor of Arts degree. They are: Keith Chadwick, Hayden Charles, Bradley Distler, Jonathan Fox, Jon Hynek II, Kevin Lenius, Nicholas Newton, Phillip Novotny, Br. Tuyen Quang (Peter Damian) Phung, CMC, Tomas Sandoval, James Sulanka, Ty Taylor, and Mauricio Tovar. Receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophical and Theological Studies were James Flattery and Joseph Hurdle. Those graduating with honors were: summa cum laude: Hayden Charles and Ty Taylor; magna cum laude: Kevin Lenius; and cum laude: Bradley Distler and Tomas Sandoval. These graduates represent eleven different (arch)dioceses and one religious community spread throughout the mid-west.

The graduates and their families, monks, and seminarians gathered for the Mass of Thanksgiving where Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas was the principal celebrant and homilist on Pentecost Sunday.

Established in 1886, Conception Seminary College in northwest Missouri is one of the largest of the 40 Roman Catholic college seminaries in the nation and one of only 15 with a complete four-year academic curriculum. Operated by the Benedictine monks of Conception Abbey, CSC strives today, as it did a century ago, to fulfill the needs of the Church through the formation of men answering the call to the ministerial priesthood.

By diocese, the graduates are: 

  • for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas: Keith Chadwick and Jonathan Fox,
  • for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas: Hayden Charles and Ty Taylor,
  • for the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri: Bradley Distler,
  • for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin: Jon Hynek,
  • for the Diocese of San Angelo, Texas: Kevin Lenius,
  • for the Diocese of Springfield – Cape Girardeau, Missouri: Nicholas Newton,
  • for the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska: Phillip Novotny and Maurcio Tovar
  • for the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix, Carthage, Missouri: Br. Tuyen Quang (Peter Damien) Phung, CMC;
  • for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Tomas Sandoval,
  • for the Diocese of Salina, Kansas: James Sulanka,
  • for the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa: James Flattery,
  • and for the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming: Joseph Hurdle.

To read graduate Kevin Lenius' blog entry on his time at Conception Seminary College, click here.



Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso Makes First Visit

Bishop Seitz with seminarians.

Conception, Mo. – Bishop Mark J. Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso visited his seminarians studying at Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo. on the weekend of April 2-3.  Currently, the diocese has three men preparing for the priesthood at CSC, Cesar Garcia, Sergio Legarreta-Carrasco, and Peter Venegas.

“It was such a blessing seeing him spending time with him. He is a spiritual father to us that seeks our growth in this path,” said Cesar Garcia about the recent visit.

Throughout the academic year, bishops of many dioceses visit Conception Abbey and Seminary College.  While on campus, they have the opportunity to visit with and provide pastoral leadership for their seminarians, get updates on the formation of their men, and get an opportunity to see the happenings at Conception Seminary College.

Bishop Seitz also had the opportunity to celebrate Mass in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for the seminary and monastic community.  He was assisted at the altar by his own seminarians and other students from the seminary community. 

Preaching on the encounter between Peter and Jesus, Bishop Seitz reminded the community that the same question asked of Peter is asked of us: “Do you love me?”

Bishop Seitz concluded his homily saying, “The Lord in his mercy speaks to us today: ‘Give yourself, don’t hold back.’”

Abbot Gregory Polan, OSB thanked Bishop Seitz for his visit and hopes to welcome him back for many more visits in the future.

Archbishop Coakley Visits CSC

Conception, Mo. - Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City visited Conception Abbey and Seminary College April 3-5, 2016. The archdiocese has five men pursuing priestly studies at Conception Seminary College.

On Monday’s Solemnity of the Annunciation, Archbishop Coakely celebrated Mass in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for the seminary and monastic communities.  During his homily, Abp. Coakley encouraged the two communities to reflect upon the Blessed Virgin’s total surrender to the will of God, something that each of us is continually called to imitate.

Archbishop Coakley was also able to visit privately with each of his seminarians and participate in the daily life of Conception Seminary College, including the annual celebration of Pastor’s Day.

“It was great hosting the Archbishop! Serving for him at Mass, sharing meals and having quality time to visit meant a lot to me. His spiritual leadership is something I am very appreciative of as a seminarian of the Archdiocese,” said Michael Krug, a freshman at CSC studying for the archdiocese.

Conception Seminary College is one of the largest free-standing seminaries in the U.S., and the main apostolate of the Benedictine monks of Conception Abbey.  To find out more, visit us online at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@Seminary_Life).


CSC Board of Regents Meet: Focus on Strategic Plan

CSC Board of Regents gather in St. Maur Hall.

Conception, Mo. - The Board of Regents of Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo. held their annual spring meeting March 11-12 in St. Maur Hall on the CSC campus.

Charged with the goal of preparing Roman Catholic priests to serve an ever-changing world, the Board of Regents continued their work in preparing a new strategic plan to guide the efforts of priestly formation at Conception Seminary College.

Regent Jan Lewis, former Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and member of the Archdiocese of Kansas, led the board in identifying foundational areas of importance in the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral areas of formation of future priests. Working in small groups, members of the board summarized recommendations in each area of formation that will guide the seminary’s new strategic plan.

To help guide these recommendations, The Board of Regents heard reports from two current seminarians and two alumni of CSC. Rev. Todd Nance of the Diocese of Tulsa and Daniel Chinn, both alumni, reported on how their time at CSC prepared them for life as a diocesan priest and lay man in the wider church. Current seminarians Hayden Charles of the Diocese of Wichita and Brian Cundall of the Diocese of Little Rock spoke about the current formation they are receiving. All four spoke of areas of growth and strength to the formation program at CSC.

Friday evening, Rev. Brendan Moss, OSB, President-Rector of CSC, expressed his gratitude for the three outgoing members, Mrs. Denise Jasinski of Maryville, Mo., Dr. Kathy O’Hara of Kansas City, Mo., and Mr. John Sheehan of Jefferson City, Mo.

Two new members were also inducted to the board, Bishop Michael Sis of the Diocese of San Angelo, and Bishop Carl Kemme of the Diocese of Wichita. Each bishop brings many years of pastoral leadership experience to the governing body of the seminary.

During the meetings, the board heard updates from the various deans of CSC, and approved a 2% increase in tuition for the 2016-2017 school year.

Friday evening, the Regents gathered for mass celebrated by Archbishop George Lucas in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception where the seminarians and monastic community gathered. Following mass, the Regents and seminarians enjoyed a banquet meal prepared by the Abbey Kitchen and served by seminarians.


To close their meetings, the Regents gathered in the basilica once again for mass celebrated by Bishop Walker Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa. The CSC Board of Regents will gather for their annual fall meeting in October where they hope to approve a new strategic plan for implementation. 

To see images from the event, click here to visit the CSC Blog.

Dr. Eric Manchester to Give Thomas Aquinas Lecture

Conception, Mo. - Dr. Eric Manchester will be presenting this year’s Thomas Aquinas Lecture titled, “How to be a Thomistic Libertarian Progressive Conservative: ‘Un-Muddling’ Political Labels Through Aquinas’s Conception of Freedom.” The lecture will take place at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15 in St. Maur Hall, room A109 on the campus of Conception Seminary College in Conception, MO. This lecture is free and open to the public.

With the drama of the current election season, Dr. Manchester, a professor of philosophy at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, will help us understand political labels such as “conservative,” “liberal,” “progressive,” and “libertarian,” which are often used as both compliments and insults in today’s political climate. He will also show how these terms relate to a Thomistic understanding of freedom within the political sphere.

According to Dr. Manchester, “Only by carefully reflecting on the meaning of freedom, can we begin to understand what political approaches and policies are suitable (or not) for improving and preserving authentic freedom.”

Dr. Manchester converted to Catholicism in 2001 after being raised in the Church of the Nazarene. Married with one adult son, Dr. Manchester has taught philosophy at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary since 2014. Before his current post, he served as a professor of philosophy at CaldwellCollege for ten years. He is a member of the University Faculty for Life, Society of Catholic Social Scientists, and has served as president of the Wesleyan Philosophical Society.

Dr. Manchester’s numerous publications focus on the themes of political and Thomistic philosophy, as well as the work of 20th century French philosopher Jacques Maritain. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Marquette University and his B.A. in Social Science and Philosophy from Northwest Nazarene University.

Recent publications of note include an article entitled “Pro Life Philosophy” found in the New Catholic Encyclopedia, as well as two essays published in essay collections by the American Maritain Association entitled “Eternal Beatitude as the Foundation of Freedom: Re-Reading the First Amendment through Maritain” and “Creation and Probability (But Not Necessity) of Evil.” A full list of Manchester’s publications can be found on the St. Charles Borromeo seminary website,

The Thomas Aquinas Lecture is an annual event hosted by Conception Seminary College’s Phi Sigma Tau organization. This free and open to the public lecture provides an opportunity for seminarians, faculty, and local community members to explore the intersection of philosophy and everyday life.

Conception Seminary College is a Roman Catholic Seminary College preparing priesthood candidates for the Roman Catholic Church, through spiritual, intellectual, and character formations in the Benedictine tradition. Visit us online, or follow us on, Facebook and Twitter.
Conception Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located in Conception, Missouri and home to Conception Seminary College, Abbey Guest Center, and The Printery House. Visit us online, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.

Video: Day in the Life

Ever wonder what a seminarian does each day?  Check out this video that goes chronologically through a seminarian's day, from prayer to studies to recreation.


CSC Appoints New President-Rector

Conception Abbey and Conception Seminary College announce the appointment of the Rev. Brendan Moss, O.S.B., to the position of President Rector of Conception Seminary College in Conception, MO. Father Brendan is a Benedictine monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Saint Meinrad, IN. He will take up his new responsibilities at Conception in August, succeeding the Rev. Samuel Russell, O.S.B., who is retiring from the office after eight years of distinguished service.

Father Brendan is originally from Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Saint MeinradCollege he entered the monastic community there. He was solemnly professed as a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in 1996 and ordained a priest in 2001. Father Brendan has a Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching from the Aquinas Institute of Saint Louis. He holds a MDiv, and MA degrees from Saint Meinrad School of Theology, and a BA degree from Saint Meinrad College. He has also obtained a Certificate in Supervisionfrom Saint Meinrad School of Theology. He garnered considerable experience in the field of priestly formation in his work at Saint Meinrad School of Theology, where he has served since 2006 in such various capacities as Formation Dean, instructor in the Permanent Diaconate Program, and director of the Lay Degree Program. He has also served in their Development Program and as Director of Enrollment. Father Brendan has also served in several pastoral assignments, and so will bring practical experience of ministry to his work in priestly formation as President Rector of Conception Seminary College.   

The President Rector is the chief administrator of ConceptionSeminaryCollege, which is conducted by the monks of Conception Abbey in Conception, Missouri. The office is integral to Conception’s mission of educating and forming candidates for ministry as priests in the Roman Catholic Church. A search for suitable candidates was conducted both within the monastic community of Conception Abbey and beyond, with the aim of identifying the best possible candidate for the position at this time. The Abbot’s Council of Conception Abbey served as the search committee, and final interviews of candidates involved the Academic Dean, the Dean of Formation, and the Spiritual Director of ConceptionSeminaryCollege.

“We are happy to welcome Father Brendan to our educational and formational community,” said the Right Rev. Gregory Polan, O.S.B., abbot of Conception Abbey and chancellor of ConceptionSeminaryCollege. “He brings a wealth of experience to his new responsibilities, and comes highly recommended both by his own abbot and by those with whom he has collaborated at Saint Meinrad. Importantly, he comes with much enthusiasm for this new position, coupled with a genuine respect for Conception Abbey, and for the work we have done in priestly formation at ConceptionSeminaryCollege. We look to the future with confidence and hope, and we are confident that Father Brendan will exercise a most beneficial influence in both the seminary and monastic communities here at Conception during his time as President Rector.”

Basketball Team Places 3rd

Conception Seminary's Sons of Thunder Place 3rd in the
Mundelein Seminary Basketball Tournament


On Friday evening, in their first game of the tournament, the Sons of Thunder squared off against the Pontifical College Josephinum (Columbus, Ohio).  Any observant fan would notice that Conception’s team was not nearly as tall as most of the other seminaries, but what they lacked in height, they made up for with their quickness and smothering defense.  Conception got off to a slow start, trailing 7-1 in the first few minutes of play, but it did not take long for them to warm up.  They quickly rallied with a series of steals and fast breaks in order to defeat Josephinum, 38-23.  Conception played their second game of the night against St. Joseph’s Seminary (St. Benedict, Louisiana).  Again, the Sons of Thunder forced turnovers on defense and converted the turnovers into points in a 31-18 victory.

After playing two games within three hours, Conception Seminary’s team was not scheduled to play again until Saturday evening.  Call it “rust” or “lethargy,” but the same Sons of Thunder team did not show up to play in their third game against Sacred Heart Seminary (Detroit, Michigan).  Sacred Heart dominated the offensive boards and shot the ball consistently throughout the game.  Even a late rally by the Sons of Thunder was not enough to take the lead, as Conception lost in a heartbreaker, 24-19.

Though their hopes of a three-peat were dashed, Coach Skip Shear told them to finish strong in their final game Sunday morning against Holy Cross (Notre Dame, Indiana), where if they found a win, they would place third overall.  Conception shook off Saturday’s loss and came out playing strong in the final game.  More seminarians on the team made their way into the rotation from the bench and they contributed to several of the points as Conception Seminary College cruised to a 30-17 victory, successfully bringing home the third place trophy.



Seminary Basketball Scrimmage

Conception Seminary's two year defending Championship basketball team scrimmages against a local men's team in preparation for the Mundelein Seminary Basketball Tournament, January 24-26.  For more pictures, please visit Conception Seminary on Facebook.


The Thunder Cup

The Thunder Cup:  Soccer and Volleyball Tournament

On Saturday, October 12th, Conception Seminary hosted its annual soccer and volleyball tournament.  Named, "The Thunder Cup," this annual tournament invites seminaries throughout the midwest to travel to Conception Seminary for several competitive games of soccer and volleyball.  This year six seminaries participated in the event.  Conception Seminary College defended its soccer title by taking 1st place, but they feel to St. Meinrad in the volleyball championship game and settled for 2nd.

Above:  Conception Seminary College poses with their 1st place trophy

Above:  Conception Seminary College "Sons of Thunder" take 2nd place in the 2013 Thunder Cup

Below:  St. Meinrad edges CSC and becomes the 2013 Thunder Cup Champions

CSC Family Weekend

Family Weekend- September 21-22

Conception Seminary College welcomed numerous family members of our seminarians for the annual family weekend.  There was a great turnout, and no one could have asked for better weather.

Below:  Family members gather for an outdoor reception; Sunday Eucharist procession

Family Weekend




Family Weekend

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