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Rector’s Corner

ope Francis recently spoke at a conference here in Rome organized by the Congregation for Clergy marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s decrees on the Ministry and Life of Priests and on Priestly Training. The Holy Father reminded us of the simple reality that “priests are called to make concrete God’s love for His people.” These words certainly remind us of the powerful message he gave us in his Apostolic Exhortation Evengelii Gaudium, too. For 156 years, the Pontifical North American College has been striving to form priests whose life and ministry make concrete God’s love for His people. Your generous, prayerful support makes the careful formation of seminarians and the continuing formation of priests possible. We are grateful that the Congregation for Clergy has recently named Fr. Peter Harman (’99), Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, currently our Director of Pastoral Formation and a Formation Advisor, to take over the shepherding of the ministries of this College as of February 1. No doubt, Fr. Harman will be a blessing to the College and our dear friends and benefactors, too. Father knows well the seminarians and priests of this community, and through his service as a pastor in his home diocese and his graduate studies in Rome and in Washington DC, the Lord has blessed him with experiences

that will be invaluable in forming the hearts of the seminarians and priests under his good care to be more like that of the Good Shepherd’s. Serving as Rector of this community for the past ten years has certainly been a blessing! Pope Francis in a recent gathering with priests and seminarians in Ecuador spoke about the importance of gratitude in our lives; he specifically reminded them that “gratitude and service were the most important aspects of their vocation.” Likewise, when in New York at the beautifully restored St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Holy Father reminded the priests, religious, and seminarians that joy springs from a grateful heart. As I finish my service here at the College and prepare to return to my home diocese for a pastoral assignment, I certainly appreciate these words of Pope Francis. I have much joy in my heart and am grateful for the blessed years I have had here thanks to His goodness and all of you, too. I have experienced over these years the joy present in the generous seminarians and priests who have been sent to the College by their bishops. I have been so inspired by our communities here at the seminary, the Casa Santa Maria, and our priests on sabbatical. They very much appreciate the support of our bishops, faculty, staff, and our

many generous benefactors who have sustained us in our life and ministry here, and a petition of thanks to God for you is regularly in our prayers. I thank you for what you have done to make these years so blessed for me personally and our College community by your support. With your ongoing, generous and kind help, for many, many more years to come, the Pontifical North American College will continue to form priests whose lives and ministries make God’s love for His people concrete. Vergine Immacolata, aiutateci!

Rev. Msgr. James Checchio ‘92, C‘97 Diocese of Camden Rector

I have much joy in my heart and am grateful for the blessed years I have had here thanks to His goodness and all of you, too.



Roman Echoes 2015 – Volume 20, Issue 2  

Includes articles and photos on life at the Pontifical North American College: honoring the legacy of Msgr. James Checchio, upon the end of...

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