Wednesday, Jun. 15th 2016

Beyond Conception: Summer Formation at IPF

This summer, myself and six other Conception Seminary College seminarians (five alumni) are attending the 9-week program known as the Institute for Priestly Formation


CSC alumni and seminarians gather for a photo at the Institute of Priestly Formation, a summer formation program for diocesan seminarians. Front Row: Mauricio Tovar, Jon Hynek II, and Phil Novotny. Back Row: Ziggy Gross, Joe Hurdle, Kevin Lenius, and Eric Koch.

So far, this experience has been amazing! Held at the campus of Creighton University in Omaha, NE. The program for diocesan seminarians focuses on enriching and deepening our relationship with the most important person in our vocation: Jesus Christ.

Our days have been full of prayer (there’s plenty of time for it!), daily classes and conferences on spirituality and understanding one’s interior self. It’s been great to be with 172 seminarians from across the country and broaden our experience of fraternity with those who are striving for holiness and greater imitation of Christ. Living together in one of the residence halls at the university reminds me quite a bit of seminary with guys talking on the dorm floor and getting up early for prayer in the morning. But the coming together of brothers from so many different schools and regions throughout the country has been a wonderful blessing. Hearing about what the church is doing in Maryland and how many seminarians in Florida attend Disney World regularly has been fun to learn about. However, the best part of meeting these men has been the sharing of our common love for the Lord and our desire to follow in his footsteps.

In addition to class, we just finished an eight-day silent retreat with daily spiritual direction! It was quite an experience, especially since very few of us have journeyed through a retreat for so many days. It was truly an edifying and healing experience for many of us, and we were able to personally encounter the Lord in the silence as he spoke to our hearts. There was an overwhelming sense of Christ’s presence throughout the retreat, and all of us have been touched by the knowledge of just how much we are loved by our God.

As the summer moves forward, we will continue with different classes on priestly identity, character, and celibacy that will help to deepen our understanding of what it means to be a priest, not simply doing a priest’s job or fulfilling a role. We will also be working in various apostolic ministries once a week ranging from nursing homes, hospitals, and orphanages here in the Omaha area. All of this is done to make our hearts more like the heart of the one who calls each of us to such an intense and personal love. Please pray for all of us that we may give ourselves fully to the one who has freely given everything for us. 

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During the summer months, many seminarians are given assignments in their home dioceses that are tailored to be enriching experiences to continue their formation outside the walls of Conception Seminary College. Beyond Conception will be a weekly series of articles checking in on the seminarians of CSC during their summer break.


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