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Fr. Steve Wlusek, RectorSeventh Annual Bishop’s Dinner Windsor-Essex
Greetings by Fr. Steve Wlusek, Rector
October 21, 2010
 

“Go out to the ends of the earth, and make disciples of all people, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

“Take, this is my body; this is my blood; do this in memory of me.”
 
“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whoevers’ sins you forgive they are forgiven, and whoever sins you retain are retained.”
         
These words, spoken by Our Lord Jesus almost 2000 years ago, express his intention, his mission for his Church... that people from among his flock would be called and commissioned to be shepherds and servant-leaders, bringing his own saving presence into our midst to touch our daily lives with his love. St. Peter’s Seminary continues this commission given by Jesus for the life of the Church in our diocese and throughout the Church in Canada.
 
St. Jean Vianney, Patron Saint of Priests wrote: “A priest’s office is to be a mediator between God and his people. The priest touches God by his prayer, and touches people by his mercy & compassion.” It is a priviledge to journey with those who are in formation at St. Peter’s Seminary for leadership as priests, pastoral ministers, deacons, and coordinators of youth ministry. I see in their eyes, in the witness of their lives, a living and vibrant faith, and a deep desire to serve with compassion, laying down their lives for God’s people. 
 
SeminariansWe are extremely excited that last Spring, eight of our Seminarians were ordained to the priesthood; and that, this August, 10 new seminarians entered St. Peter’s Seminary, eight of whom were from the diocese of London (many of whom are from Windsor / Essex County.) The presence of St. Peter’s Seminary— right in our own back yard— is a powerful beacon that draws people to the priesthood.
 
St. Peter’s looks ahead to new initiatives that are under way to enhance and support those who are in formation for pastoral leadership. In a letter issued this past weekend, Pope Benedict wrote to Seminarians: “The most important thing in our path towards priesthood and during the whole of our priestly lives is our personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. That is why it is so important, dear friends, that you learn to live in constant intimacy with God.” 

In light of this call to develop relationship and constant intimacy with God, we are preparing to launch a six week Spiritual Formation Program for Seminarians to be held in May and June—for seminarians throughout Canada. A Windsor businessman recently gave a significant donation to provide the foundations for this program of spiritual and pastoral formation. He has done so in the name of a very vibrant and energetic priest, whose self-less and enthusiastic ministry has touched many lives in Windsor-Essex. That priest is Fr. Al Williams. Fr. Al is a wonderful model and mentor for our young seminarians of the kind of priest who is filled with pastoral zeal and an endless desire to evangelize for Christ. Thank you, Fr. Al!
 
In our programs for forming Lay Pastoral Leaders, we are exploring the launching of platforms for Online Learning, which will help accommodate the needs of students who balance work and family responsibilities while preparing for ministry in the Church.
 
The Seminary’s Institute for Catholic Formation has recently launched online certificate programs that are available to laity and clergy throughout the diocese – in Windsor, Essex, Chatham and far beyond— to give solid Catholic teaching in areas of Scripture, Moral theology, Spirituality, and on.
 
BishopsThe Faculty of the Seminary serve as Resource persons beyond the walls of the Seminary—to parishes and groups— by leading Retreat Days, Days of Reflection for Teachers, Parish Missions, teaching RCIA sessions. The online capabilities we now have enable the Seminary Faculty to share the wisdom they have gained in their studies and areas of specialization to help the faithful in every area of our diocese with opportunities for ongoing learning.
 
As we approach the 100th Anniversary of St. Peter’ Seminary in 2012, we are thankful for the more than 1000 priests, the 44 lay graduates who serve as pastoral ministers, as well as chaplains in high schools, hospitals, prisons and the military throughout Canada, and the 35 permanent deacons who have been ordained in the last five years, who serve parishes in Windsor, Essex and Kent Counties, and throughout our diocese.
 
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your presence tonight, and for your ongoing prayerful support for the work of St. Peter’s Seminary as we near our 100th year of fulfilling the mission of Jesus to form servant-leaders who will witness to his saving presence in our world today.

 Bishop Dinner Sponsor Boards 2004-2010