Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., and Msgr. Thomas Mullelly, vicar for clergy and director of seminarians, traveled to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia Oct. 7 to conduct their annual visit with the Diocese of Trenton’s seven seminarians studying for the priesthood there.
Bishop, vicar spend time in prayer, fellowship with Diocese’s seminarians in Philadelphia
“I always enjoy the opportunity to meet with our seminarians and to encourage and get to know them better,” related the Bishop. “They are our future priests and it is important that the Diocese show its support for them, and that they see and feel that.”
Photo Gallery: Bishop visits St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
After greeting the seminarians, the Bishop and Msgr. Mullelly met with seminary rector Bishop Timothy Senior, who shared the seminary’s impression of each seminarian. “Our Trenton seminarians are good men,” observed Msgr. Mullelly, “and Bishop Senior’s comments readily affirmed that.”
Bishop O’Connell added, “I have great confidence in both the academic and spiritual formation programs offered by St. Charles Seminary. The rector and faculty serve the Diocese of Trenton very well in the priestly training they provide.”
After this initial meeting concluded, the seminarians met as a group with the Bishop and Msgr. Mullelly. “We love the Bishop,” remarked one of the seminarians. “It’s always good to see him.”
In a 40-minute exchange filled with laughter and good spirit, Bishop O’Connell addressed each seminarian individually, inquiring about their studies – “What’s your favorite class? What’s your least favorite?” – and how the year was progressing in the midst of the pandemic. “It was a little strange at first, very different from last year,” observed another of the seminarians. “But, you get used to the masks and the distancing and all.”
The Bishop updated the group on the state of the Diocese and entertained some questions. “They were very interested in my thoughts about the current election,” the Bishop recalled, “especially how to evaluate the moral implications of the candidates’ points of view for our country.”
The Bishop concluded the conversation by encouraging the seminarians to avoid isolation by building good, healthy friendships as their vocations matured. He also shared his own personal experience of growing in prayer through the years.
Bishop O’Connell was the principal celebrant and homilist at Mass with the entire seminary community in the campus’ beautiful St. Martin’s Chapel. He preached on the day’s feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, encouraging all present to make the Rosary a part of their daily prayer life. Msgr. Mullelly concelebrated with the seminary priest faculty. Trenton Deacon RJoy Ballacillo assisted the Bishop as deacon at Mass and the Trenton seminarians were servers at the altar.
Following Mass, the Bishop and Msgr. Mullelly joined the seminary community for the Rector’s Dinner, sitting with the Trenton seminarians, although socially distant. Bishop O’Connell described the gathering as “enjoyable and lots of fun.”
Trenton seminarian Anthony Gentile was asked to give the customary Seminarian’s Address after dinner, speaking enthusiastically about his own vocation story. The meal ended as usual with the seminary community chanting “Salve Regina” before heading off to their studies, meetings and other evening activities.