A True Blessing

It may have been our most successful Letter and Spirit Conference ever.

On November 6 and 7, priests, scholars, and lay people from around the country gathered in Crafton, PA, to probe the mysteries of “Priesthood and Blessing.” Joining us were 65 seminarians from 7 seminaries and dozens of dioceses. It was by far the highest number of seminarians who have attended the annual conference, and thanks to the generosity of our supporters, they were all able to attend free of charge.

Thanks also to their generosity, all of the seminarians present received “The Seminarian’s Bookshelf” — the St. Paul Center’s collection of the books every seminarian (and priest) should have at his fingertips. All told, over 800 books were given away. That’s over 1200 pounds worth of great resources.

The real highlight of the weekend, however, was the talks. Over the course of two days, Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Mary Healy, Dr. Brant Pitre, Dr. Dan Keating, Fr. Pablo Gadenz, and Fr. Robert Barron explored the nature of the priesthood. The priesthood of Adam and Melchizedek, the priesthood of the Levites and the Christian baptized, and the priesthood of Christ and his ordained were all put under the biblical microscope, giving participants a deeper and richer understanding of both the blessings that come to us through the priesthood and the nature of priesthood itself.

On Saturday evening, Fr. Robert Barron delivered the annual Fr. Ronald Lawler Lecture. Entitled “Jesus: Priest, Prophet, and King,” the lecture was part biblical exegesis and part life-changing homily, illuminating the mission of Christ as presented in the Scriptures, as well as shedding new light on how Catholics are called to live in the world in imitation of Christ, the “priest, prophet, and king.”

The St. Paul Center was also blessed to have Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh celebrate Mass for conference participants on Saturday evening. In his homily, the bishop challenged participants to “be not afraid” of living their faith in the midst of the culture.

All seven talks from the conference, including the panel discussion, are now available on CD. If you weren’t able to attend the conference, consider purchasing a set for yourself or for your parish priest. In the “Year For Priests” this is one of the best Christmas gifts you can give to any priest or seminarian. The cost of the CD collection is $40, including shipping and handling, and can be purchased through the secure credit card order form below or by calling the St. Paul Center at 740-264-9535.