Trust in God shown in seminary history

Archbishop Paul Martin, SM, preaches at Sacred Heart church, Ponsonby.

In marking 122 years since the foundation of a seminary to train diocesan priests in this country, Archbishop Paul Martin, SM, emphasised the importance of God’s Word and its proper proclamation.

Archbishop Martin, the coadjutor Archbishop of Wellington and apostolic administrator of Christchurch diocese, preached at the Founder’s Day Mass for Holy Cross Seminary on May 9. The Mass was celebrated at Sacred Heart church in Ponsonby.

During the Mass, five seminarians were installed in the ministry of reader (lector). These were Mark Bond (Auckland), Linh Cao (Christchurch), Emilio Capin (Wellington), Kinh Nguyen (Wellington) and Ryan Sy (Auckland).

Reflecting on this ministry in his homily, Archbishop Martin said, “If we are going to spread this Good News of Jesus Christ, we need to be people who love and understand the Scriptures, who pray with it so as to be able to proclaim it to others”.

“We have the benefit of the formation of the seminary to help these men who are receiving this ministry to do it well and with reverence, [and] a sense of awe in God’s revelation to us through his Word.

“People who live in darkness without the light of the Word can come to the light through the revelation of the Scriptures, and this ministry is one that helps that to take place.”

Archbishop Martin prayed that all who have received this ministry would remain in love with the Scriptures, and proclaim them with their words and lives.

He also noted the faith and trust in God shown by those who founded Holy Cross College in Mosgiel, more than 120 years ago.

“Those who built the seminary in Mosgiel did so in trust that God would provide people to be trained as priests for his Church. They faced financial challenges and personnel challenges, [and] all the changes in the life of society and how people viewed the world,” Archbishop Martin said.

The same trust in God and reading the signs of the times saw the seminary move to Auckland, he added.

“It was a big change for everyone, indeed the creation of a new theological college with the Society of Mary was an absolute act of trust and faith. It was a different style of living and operating from what had been done before.

“. . . [B]ut the primary work of forming young men to be priests of the Church did not change. That has been, and continues to be, the work of God that this place is focused upon, for the spread of the Gospel for all people – Catholic and those who are not, believers and those who do not.”

Archbishop Martin noted that the founders of seminary hoped for in the “foundation of seminary and formation of priests in this country – and we still hope for – men who are on fire with love of God, who are willing to undergo hardship for the sake of the Kingdom, but who hope in God who has called them that they are doing his work through the ministry within the Church, and with the desire that all people will hear this Good News of the love of God, and his wish for all to be part of his sheepfold”.

“We have much to celebrate and give thanks to God for this day.”


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Michael Otto

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