The Foundation of the Grand Seminary of Montreal celebrated, on Oct. 11, 35 years of support for the formation of future priests. To mark this event, bishops of several dioceses of Quebec gathered to celebrate a Mass with the Most Rev. Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal, and Alain Faubert, Auxiliary bishop of Montreal.

On that Friday, some dinner guests among the donors, members of the Foundation Board and others were part of the celebration held in the Grand Seminary’s magnificent huge chapel. The crowd was small, but their support crucial and undeniable to help tomorrow’s priests. It was an opportunity to give thanks to God for his work, and for all past and future seminarians who will study at the Grand Seminary of Montreal.

The Foundation was created in 1984 by the Alumni Association of the Grand Seminary of Montreal. Its mission is to support priests in their journey towards priesthood. This mission still stands: men receive the proper education to “be with and for others,” Archbishop Lépine says. “A priest dedicates his life to witness the presence of God […] to see in the world the need for God,” he added. The archbishop recalled the importance of “all that relates to the material world to be at the service of kindness.”

John XXIII and the Seminarians

As we celebrate John XXIII, the Good Pope, Archbishop Lépine asked the Lord, “to generate in His Church men who follow His footsteps.” While commenting on arduous Gospel texts, the Archbishop reminded the assembly that those texts were not representative of “the Good Pope John’s optimism, but [in reality] of his Hope.” So let’s not give up hope, because “the Kingdom of God is there,” he added.

Sébastien Froidevaux, General Director of the Foundation, took the time to thank all of those who provide the Church with material and financial support. He also drew attention to the presence of Archbishop Emilius Goulet, P.S.S., and of Roland Pilonnière, both founding members and part of the first board of directors when the Foundation of the Grand Seminary was created in 1984.

A New Generation Going Forth

Mr. Guy Guindon, a Sulpician priest also rector of the Grand Seminary of Montreal, took the time at the end to draw a global picture of the situation, to make tangible the fruits and benefits of all the support. At present, four men are going through a foundation year for spiritual life, nine are seminarians, six others are in pastoral training in their parish and four foreign seminarians are awaiting their visa to live and study in Montreal. This is a full slate of men going through discernment and studying to follow Christ wherever He brings them. There is a new generation: it is tangible and coming from all dioceses in Quebec. Besides, the seminarians present were the ones who had prepared the celebration.

What is currently awaiting future priests in 2019? According to Guy Guindon, the process starts with a year of discernment and preparation. Going forward, there will be two years of philosophy and one of theology for these men before they go into a parish for a pastoral year of concrete training. This training will then be followed by two other years of theology and one year in a parish for the diaconal ordination, leading to another year in a parish for the ordination to the priesthood.

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