For so many people in my part of the world, June is a time to kick back and relax. School’s out. Summer vacation begins. Americans dust off their lawnchairs and string up their hammocks.
For us at the St. Paul Center, June has always been the busiest month of the year — and for good reason. When Catholics find themselves with a little bit of free time, we want to give them ample opportunities to spend it in the study of God’s Word.
So we hustle this month, from place to place, crowd to crowd, everywhere looking out on eager faces and giving them refreshment to sustain them through the coming months.
This year we begin the month in the Holy Land. With my colleagues Mike Aquilina and Rob Corzine — and almost 150 pilgrims — I’ll be there, and we’ll be praying for you at all the holy sites.
We come home in time for our annual clergy conference, where we’ll meet with priests, deacons, and seminarians and open up the Gospel of St. John. Attendance has been growing year to year, as our priest alumni tell their friends about the benefits they’ve seen in their prayer life and preaching. What they get at our conference, they take home to share in their parishes — your parishes!
With hardly a break, we proceed to our Letter and Spirit Summer Institute — our intensive course aimed at academics, especially those who teach in seminaries. This particular event is so important to us, because its effects are multiplied many times over, year after year, long into the future. These young scholars pass on what they learn to priests and future priests, who then pass it on to congregations numbering in the thousands. When our seminary professors get excited, our priests enter ministry with a lot momentum.
The Summer Institute is a time of concentrated study and disciplined prayer. We spend our days in seminars, our nights in discussion. We follow the liturgy of the Church every day, led by the Conventual Friars of the Renewal, sent to us by Father Benedict Groeschel. This year’s Institute will host our largest our largest enrollment ever, with faculty and graduate students from Catholic University of America, Duke, Notre Dame, Ave Maria, and many other places. These are tomorrow’s leaders in the Church — and the teachers, advisers, and counselors of tomorrow’s leaders. In making these courses possible, you are providing a work of mercy for Catholics everywhere, for many years to come.
Please pray for these events, that they will bear abundant fruit. Please pray for me and my colleagues and for all those in attendance.
I depend upon those prayers. I believe our work is important, because I believe it is God’s work. You make that work possible day to day, by your prayers and your gifts. For all you do, I’m profoundly grateful.