St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Thanks for St. Peter’s Seminary

  • May 15, 2012

Speaking recently about priesthood, Pope Benedict XVI said a priest must not ask what he can gain for himself but ask what he can give back to Christ and others. That sentiment, if not those very words, will be evident this week as St. Peter’s Seminary celebrates its 100th anniversary.

It has been a century of forming men to follow faithfully and selflessly in the footsteps of the first disciples. By their work in parishes and missions across Canada and throughout the world, graduates of St. Peter’s in London, Ont., have helped write the history of the modern Church in Canada.

As noted in our tribute section in this issue, the grand building on the shores of the Thames River is one of three English-language seminaries in Canada. It has ordained 1,036 priests to serve in 46 dioceses and 11 religious orders, including 23 bishops and Cardinal Thomas Collins.

These men have dedicated themselves with humility and sacrifice to serving Christ and others with no expectation of earthly reward. True, there are some exceptions. This anniversary is not a celebration of perfect ministry — an impossible standard — but an occasion to reflect on a century of exceptional service to the Church and its people.

The celebration is not just about the institution itself or its dedicated rectors and teachers. It’s not even about the more than 1,000 priestly ordinations or, in recent years, the hundreds of deacons, lay ministers and Catholic professionals schooled at St. Peter’s. All of those are important, of course, but this is also a time to reflect on what St. Peter’s has meant to the multitudes who have never even entered its doors.

Consider all the lives touched and souls saved by the priests and lay ministers who have gone out into the world from St. Peter’s. Think of all the sacraments administered — the baptisms, first communions, marriages and anointing of the sick — by more than 1,000 men over 100 years. How many Masses have been said and Confessions heard? Millions, probably.

Think of all the comfort brought to the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the elderly, the grieving. Think of all the day-time trips to schools and the late-night calls from distressed parishioners. Think of all the love and caring and selfless giving that has emanated from St. Peter’s.

“A priest never belongs to himself,” said Pope Benedict. “People must sense our zeal, through which we bear credible witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

A century ago, the foundation of St. Peter’s Seminary was poured by human hands but it was conceived in that spirit of zeal. That’s the real bedrock, and it’s as important today as it was 100 years ago.

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