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Summer 2007

The Pontifical

North American College M










EDITORIAL STAFF Editorial Director Nicholas Vaskov ‘09 Diocese of Pittsburgh Layout and Design Jordan Bauer ‘09 Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Pontifical North American College M A G A Z I N E








CASA SANTA MARIA Rev. Stephen Doktorczyk ‘05 C ‘07




FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS Design Assistant Robert Wagner ‘09 Diocese of Arlington Photographers David Rivera ‘10 Diocese of Camden & Seamus Griesbach ‘07 Diocese of Portland & Brian Soliven ‘10 Diocese of Sacramento

For more information about the North American College, or to learn about opportunities for memorial gifts, contact Mary DiDonato at our Washington, DC Office of Development: Tel: (202) 541-5411 Fax: (202) 722-8804 Email: or visit our website at

FRONT COVER The Sacred Heart of Jesus in the College’s Immaculate Conception Chapel



12 NAC IN MOVEMENT: NEWS AND UPDATES Jaime Rivera ‘07 and Celso Batista ‘09 32 14






CLERICUS CUP - Fernando Saenz ‘10
















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Clericus Cup by Fernando Saenz ‘10

In the Footsteps of Paul by Theodore Lange ‘09

18 Rector’s Dinner 2007

22 Carl J. Peter Lecture by Shane Deman ‘08

Devotion to the Sacred Heart


by Justin Kizewski ‘08

CHAIRMAN Most Rev. Edwin F. O’Brien C’76 Archbishop of the Military Services, USA

VICE CHAIRMAN Most Rev. Richard E. Pates ’69 Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis

TREASURER Most Rev. John J. Myers ’67 Archbishop of Newark

SECRETARY Most Rev. Patrick J. Zurek ’75 Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio

S t . P a u l O u t s i d e t h e W a l ls Submitted as part of a NAC student photo contest by Rob Lampitt ‘08, Diocese of Peoria

Most. Rev. Tod D. Brown ‘62 Bishop of Orange in California

Most Rev. Alexander J. Brunett ‘59 Archbishop of Seattle

RECTOR Rev. Msgr. James Checchio ’92, C’97

Most Rev. Thomas G. Doran ‘62, C ‘63 Bishop of Rockford

Most Rev. Edward Cardinal Egan ‘58 C ‘63 Archbishop of New York

VICE RECTOR FOR ADMINISTRATION Rev. Msgr. Daniel H. Mueggenborg ’89

Most Rev. Victor B. Galeone ‘61


Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz

SUPERIOR, CASA SANTA MARIA Rev. Msgr. Francis Kelly ‘64

Bishop of Saint Augustine

Most Rev. John R. Gaydos ‘69 Bishop of Jefferson City

Archbishop of Louisville

Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell ’63 Archbishop of Hartford

Most. Rev. Francis R. Reiss C ‘84 Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit


Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan ‘65, C ‘71 Archbishop of Santa Fe

Most Rev. William C. Skurla Bishop, Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys

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

RECTOR’S CORNER ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’


n Pope Benedict's Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations this year, he highlighted that "God has always chosen some individuals to work with him in a more direct way, in order to accomplish his plan of salvation." What a joy it is to be involved in helping the young men of the North American College "let themselves be conquered by his gaze and his voice" and accept this invitation of our Lord. Whether it is in our chapel at Eucharistic adoration or liturgy, at their extensive apostolic works, at the challenging Roman ecclesiastical universities, or gathering with tens of thousands of pilgrims each week to hear Christ's Vicar encourage us in our Christian living or share with us his blessing, the men of this College are regularly opening themselves up to the Good Shepherd's voice and "getting caught in His gaze". These men, the seminarians and priests at the Casa Santa Maria or in our wonderful Institute for Continuing Theological Education, who are asked in " a more direct way" to be involved in the work of the Lord for His plan of salvation, generously give of themselves in striving to take on the heart of the Good Shepherd Himself. The results are directly and happily seen each summer, as our fourth year seminarians go home to be ordained priests in their home dioceses and begin their sacred ministry. This summer we have 36 men being ordained priests! We are grateful for your generous and prayerful participation and support of our mission. Whether you assist by your prayers, your sponsoring of a seminarian to be formed here, remembering us in your will, or by giving to our capital campaign, Vision for the Future, we could not continue with our Mission without your generous help. This edition of the magazine is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Sacred Heart is a powerful, concrete reminder to us of our obligation to make our own hearts more like that of Christ's. In that same message about vocations, Pope Benedict reminded those of us answering the call to follow Christ in the priestly life, of the source and completion of this call, "the heart of the believer, filled with divine love, is moved to dedicate itself wholly to the cause of the Kingdom." Through all our programs here at the North American College, our goal is to form faithful, holy, happy, and zealous priests in the fashion our Holy Father prayed for in his message, "servants of divine joy: priests who, in communion with their Bishops, announce the Gospel faithfully and celebrate the sacraments, take care of the people of God, and are ready to evangelize all humanity." Enjoy this edition of the magazine, which our students provide for you, so that you can get to know them and this wonderful institution of priestly formation more intimately. I know we can count on you to continue to support us in this mission by your prayers and financial support and for that, we are truly grateful. - Rev. Msgr. James Checchio, Rector

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Pontifical North American College M A G A Z I N E

Putting Our Best Foot

Forward! by Fernando Saenz ‘10 Diocese of Santa Fe


he Eternal City played host this year to the first ever Clericus Cup soccer tournament, a competition between seminarians and priests studying in the various colleges, seminaries, and pontifical universities in Rome. With particular pride, the Pontifical North American College formed its own team. Besides fraternity, the celebration of the bond that exists between men devoted to the priesthood of Christ, the tournament was also devoted to evangelization as one of its chief goals. It's a type of evangelization that takes place as it should in any other dimension of the Christian life: in the example of Christian charity and good sportsmanship that shows forth in the players, coaches, and fans.

But there were many other fruits as a result of our participation, like the growth in fellowship among the seminarians at the NAC. Working together and helping one another improve in something as common as sports show us the importance of helping each other grow spiritually and virtuously. Because we all study theology at various universities, soccer practices and games provided a good setting to come together again, but this time as players and fans. Praying together before and after all of our practices and games reminded us of our dependence on God in all we do.

Oppostie page top: Co-captain Jaime Gil ‘10 (Boise) plants a kick; Opposite page bottom: NAC seminarians and fans celebrate with their brothers after a victory. SUMMER 2 0 0 7


CLERICUS CUP Soccer also provided us an opportunity for the exercise that is so important in maintaining our physical health. It can be easy to get so deeply involved in studies, meetings, prayer, and other things, that a good workout becomes neglected. Our soccer practices and games have enabled us to exercise the body in addition to the mind on a regular basis and in a group setting.

most importantly, we can also see how what unites us is stronger than our differences, that as members of Christ's body we are all sons of our heavenly Father.

In my own experience as a player on the PNAC team, I have been able to witness many of God's graces at work in our participation. Having played soccer only one year before coming to the NAC, I was able to Connecting with other teams of seminarians and appreciate the skill which more experienced players priests from countries all over the world was undoubt- exhibited in their play, a skill that flows from the edly a blessing and gave us yet another taste of the blessings bestowed on them by God. And since many universality of the Church. This is simply another one of us are new at playing soccer, it has been equally of the remarkable benefits of studying theology in impressive to see the improvement among us. Rome. It is not difficult to see many of the beautiful differences in nationality, culture, and language. But Of course these movements of blessing and growth


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parallel the Christian life, a life that I've seen lived in our seminary environment. Seeing my brother seminarians living the life of love that Christ calls us to can be quite inspiring, and to see growth among them as a team gives me hope and motivates me to imitate their good example. Some of the friendships, experiences, lessons learned, and memories that have come from our participation are unforgettable and will remain with us for many years to come. The Clericus Cup has been a blessing for us at the Pontifical North American College and for the universal Church as a whole.

Right: Fernando Saenz ‘10 (Santa Fe) shares fraternity after a match; Below: Co-captain Daniel O’Mullane ‘10 (Paterson) leads a time-out.

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from left to right: Rev. Mr. Michael Cassabon ‘07 (Charleston), Peter Purpura ‘07 (Brooklyn), and Rev. Mr. Joshua Guillory ‘07 (Lafayette) are the three Fourth Year students studying Canon Law.

Under His Law by Rev. Mr. Peter Purpura ‘07 Diocese of Brooklyn


s the fourth year men return to the College each September from their summer of parish work and family visits, their conversations typically center around two major topics, their imminent ordination to the diaconte and the field of specialization that they will begin during the next academic year. Upon my return to the College last summer I was pleased to discover that I would be accompanied by two classmates in the three year study of canon law. There has been a true consistency in the types of reactions that are provoked when people find out that I am studying canon law. The reactions include sincere condolences, words of encouragement, and often enough, sentiments of disappointment. On the one hand, they could perceive canon law studies as nothing more than the memorizing of ecclesial laws and norms. On the other hand, they might see it as a discipline that represents an unfortunate element of the Church that runs contrary to their understanding of ecclesial life. It has been reassuring to realize that these sentiments have not matched my experience during my first year of studies as I have grown in appreciation for the role of canon law in the life of the Church. As I reflect upon my motives and intentions for pursuing a priestly vocation, I am reminded once again of my desire to serve the People of God in a pastoral setting. I had always hoped that my priestly service would lead the faithful to the salvation offered by Christ. As I delve into my studies of canon law I come to realize that I have been given yet another instrument to guide my pastoral charity in bringing others to salvation. For at the very heart of the Church's understanding of its law is an ordering of all the faithful towards God in love and justice by the upholding of each persons rights and obligations. In one of his addresses to the Roman Rota, Servant of God Pope John Paul II expressed his wish that "there be an ever clearer understanding and ever more working realization of the pastoral value of Church law, for the sake of better serving souls." In this light, I have tried to approach canon law as a way of participating in the Church's mission of bringing all men and women to salvation and not as an external reality that inhibits one's freedom. Moreover, while at times, the material can be uninteresting and somewhat tedious, I know that behind every law there are goods and values that need to be promoted for the sake of proper communion among the faithful. I therefore hope that a better knowledge of canon law will inspire me to foster greater love and communion in my priestly service to God's people.


Pontifical North American College M A G A Z I N E

Greg Jewell


by Johnny Burns ‘10

Archdiocese of Milwaukee


f the many blessings that grace the North American College, friendship is certainly one of the finest. It would be no exaggeration to claim that it is in fact friendship that sustains the College's work of forming priests for service in the Catholic Church. In the words of Aristotle, one of the great philosophers of friendship: "Complete friendship is the friendship of good people similar in virtue; for they wish goods in the same way to each other." One unique friend of the College who shares in this philosophy of friendship is Mr. Gregory Jewell.

Greg visits the seminary several times each year and always spends time with both faculty and seminarians. While at home in the United States, he is frequently traveling to and from his Florida home, working hard to ensure that the College is able to sustain its efforts. This past year, along with the former rector, Msgr. Kevin McCoy, he generously ran and successfully completed the College's vital Vision for the Future Capital Campaign. What is more, Greg's relationship with the College is reciprocal. During his visit to the College this past January, Archbishop Timothy Dolan celebrated Mass for the Institution of Lectors. Afterwards, he paused to make a special announcement to the community. As a sign of recognition and appreciation for all of

A West-Texan turned Floridian, Greg is quick to share his thoughts with a characteristically energetic smile. "To be a true friend means to give of oneself unconditionally, without asking what the other individual can do for you. I consider the College to be that kind of true friend." The decision to share his time and resources as a friend and benefactor of the College was one that came out of a powerful experience during his first visit to the NAC: "On my very first trip in 1992, I attended Sunday Vespers, and I had a deep and moving feeling that I had never felt before. It felt truly surreal to be in that Chapel with those seminarians, and I left there with an awareness that I had a purpose to do something for the Church.” Throughout the past fifteen years, a strong and true friendship has developed. At its heart, Greg's attraction to the College has always remained the same. "The men here love Christ and thirst for a deeper understanding of Him. It's so amazing, so contagious - you just want to share in that search for holiness."

from left: Archbishop Timothy Dolan, William Cardinal Levada, Greg Jewell, Msgr. Kevin McCoy, and Theodore Cardinal McCarrick at a reception for Greg in the O’Connor Red Room

Greg Jewell, left, receives the honor of Knight of St. Gregory the Great from Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Msgr. James Checchio.

Greg's dedicated friendship and selfless commitment, he had been named a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, one of the highest honors the Vatican can bestow upon a layman. Without a doubt, the essence of this outstanding relationship eludes adequate expression in simple words. That same great philosopher of friendship came close when he proclaimed, "Now those who wish goods to their friend for the friend's own sake are friends most of all." It is in fact this sort of friendship that so greatly helps to nourish, support, and sustain us. Our very experience of such lends clarity and pours out inspiration upon our formation as seminarians preparing for the priesthood. It is with deep sincerity that The North American College proudly calls Greg Jewell a dear and true friend.

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ontinuing the improvements to the College made possible by the Vision for the Future Capital Campaign, the College recently undertook the complete refurbishing of the lighting and electrical systems in the O’Toole Refectory and Gregory and Linda Jewell Student Lounge. Soon to be completed is the replacement of windows throughout the College. A complete renovation of Apartment 6 was also undertaken. The 3 bedroom apartment was completely gutted and fitted with new plumbing and electrical systems, making it a state-of-the-art guest residence. The apartment is used by many guests who come to Rome to visit the college or conduct business on behalf of the Church. It is being named in honor of Ambassador and Mrs. Francis Rooney who have generously supported the Vision for the Future Campaign. Thanks to the generous contributions of many benefactors, new washers and dryers were installed in the Casa laundry room. In addition the computer network of the college was replaced, allowing for faster and safer information technology services.

Above top: Faculty and students enjoy lunch in the hallway while the electrical system in the O’Toole Refectory is updated; Above center: New lights bring new life to the Gregory and Linda Jewell Student Lounge; Above: The O’Toole Refectory is cleaned and repairs are made to the floor after new lighting fixtures and wiring are installed; Left top: The new lounge for the Institute priests on their residence hall offers a place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee and a nice conversation; Left: The updated computer server at the college allows for more efficient communication for the faculty and students.


Pontifical North American College M A G A Z I N E

FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS Clockwise from left: A gutted Apartment 6 awaiting renovations; the new statue of St. Therese of Lisieux as displayed in the garden of the Casa Santa Maria; the new portrait of Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, former Apostiolic Nuncio to the United States, which is displayed on the wall outside of the Immaculate Conception Chapel.

Additions to the rich artistic patrimony of the college include a statue of St. Therese of Lisieux which was placed in the garden of the Casa Santa Maria thanks to the Bob Baker Family, and a portrait of the Most Rev. Gabriel Montalvo, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, which was commissioned through the generosity of the Most Rev. Michael Bransfield, Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston. The college is grateful to all of its benefactors who make possible the work of priestly formation. SUMMER 2 0 0 7


in Seville by Hector Lopez-Tejeda '09


Diocese of Fresno

little over a year ago, I caught the Spanish Fever and decided it was time for the Easter pilgrimage preparations to begin. As I began to

recruit travel companions, one of them tried to chill my interest with his quick but expected response: "Don't you think it is too early?" "Only a little bit!" was my anxious reply, as I was beginning to wonder how my fever to begin the planning now had ever managed to suppress my Latin-style last minute spontaneity. Nonetheless, this setback did not discourage me. I knew the desire would spread, and it did. Soon enough four of us enthusiastically came on board, and we wasted no time as we eagerly anticipated an extraordinary Semana Santa in Seville.

As the third most populated city of Spain and capital of the Andalucian region in southern Spain, Seville is famous for its legendary bullfight traditions as well as for inspiring many opera composers and poets with its charm. It seems that they caught the fever just like I had. During Holy Week, Seville transforms into a colorful and vibrant setting. Countless awe-inspiring religious parades, called procesiones flood the streets of the city and raise its devotional life to an incredible stature. Seville's fame stretches far and wide for its fervent religious spirit which the city's inhabitants have faithfully preserved for many generations. There was no disappointment; the fever of anticipation was consumed by our participation in devotion and worship during the Church's great celebration of the Paschal Mystery. While our pilgrimage landed us in Seville for the Triduum, we made our own sort of procession through several other historic Spanish settings on the way there during Holy Week. Starting in Cadiz on Palm Sunday, we passed through Jerez, Arcos de la Frontera, Zahara, and Ronda. In a word, our own procession among the processions along the journey to Seville was climactic. First impressions can be defining. This was certainly the case with our first impression of the procesiones on Palm Sunday in Cadiz. We were brand new in the procession business, so we were overwhelmed with how much effort and commitment had been invested in the organization of the parades. They were the end result of a year-long preparation during which the music, the parade route, and the choreography are determined. I even shared in their great sadness when, on the very day that the extravagant floats were to be released into the arteries of the city after so much arduous preparation, bad weather threatened the procession. Yet where there is Spanish will power, nothing can stand in the way: the townsfolk under these circumstances would still proudly displayed their floats inside the churches. Each procession is sponsored by a patronage (cofradia) linked to a specific neighborhood or local parish which preserves centuries of history and tradition. Sometimes, in my curiosity, I found myself frequently prodding the locals for any bits of information they might be able to give us on the street processions that so captured our attention. To my surprise, every local was well informed; they seemed to know everything. We put down our guide books and turned to the live experts who gave us the intriguing history of the processions, their rich tradition, and the importance this devotional practice holds for the good faithful of the towns, particularly of Seville. Las Procesiones in Seville are the city’s identity


Pontifical North American College M A G A Z I N E

CULTURE and pride. Their meaning is etched into the hearts of the people. In my heart also remains inscribed the intense experience of La Madrugá which takes its name from the all night vigil from Holy Thursday through the morning of Good Friday. No one in the city sleeps; all stay awake with the Lord the night before his passion and death. The people flood into the streets in silence and meditation, contemplating the moment as their most spiritually powerful processions pass by. Among these, that of Jesus del Gran Poder was to me the most meaningful of the night. In the dark stillness, a statue of Jesus before the Sanhedrin slowly weaves through the streets of Seville, preparing its spectators for the commemoration of the Lord's Passion the following day. A typical procession usually includes two floats: a life-size statue of the Lord leading the procession followed by a second float of the Virgin Mary on a beautiful platform decorated with red or white roses. Throughout the week, these statues are adorned with different costumes. Each costume theme represents a different moment of the Lord's passion, from his triumphal entrance to Jerusalem (naturally celebrated on Palm Sunday) to his Resurrection on Easter morning. A musical band accompanies the procession which provides the musical background for its movement. As a spectator, I happily joined in the procession as we made our way to the Cathedral, the destination common to all processions. Having passed through the Cathedral Church, the procession dances back to its host church in a long journey that lasts between six to eight hours, or even longer. The catechetical role of these processions should never be underestimated. While they do not take the place of liturgical celebrations, the processions are a visual experience that uplifts the faithful Catholics in their love and devotion. I myself experienced an increase of devotion in preparing for the liturgy after the processions. It was here at the liturgy where the visual preparation reached its completion. We carried our Seville processional experience with us throughout the rest of our journey through Andalucia. The initial infatuation was replaced by nostalgia. There were still many surprises of faith that Spain had in store for us before our return to the Eternal City - many friendly people always willing to talk, as well as cultural and architectural wonders such as those of Cordoba and Granada. My recollection of it all is as fond as my anticipation was anxious. Clockwise from right: l to r: Gregg Loughney ‘08 (Scranton), Chris Cicero ‘09 (Youngstown), Charlie Cortinovis ‘09 (Washington) and Hector LopezTejeda ‘09 (Fresno) enjoy Santa Samana in Seville; a statue of the risen Christ is processed through the streets; an image of Our Lady of Sorrows is surrounded by candles and roses; the Cathedral of Seville on Easter Day.

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Talk the

Walk the Walk

by David Ruchinski ‘07 Diocese of St. Augustine


hen engaging in dialogue with a largely secularized youth culture, the three men of the North American College who work with the American University of Rome - or AUR - Newman Society seek to utilize their greatest asset: the city of Rome itself. AUR has a student body of over 500 students, about two-thirds of whom are doing a study-abroad semester or year. For many of these students a desire to experience Rome is one of the few things they have in common when they arrive. Thus, most have high expectations of coming to know the Eternal City in a few short months. The university - and their own natural curiosity - provide excellent opportunities to explore the historic and cultural aspects of the city, but our aim is to make their time here something more. Through weekly campus

Kevin Regan ‘08 (Washington) shares a moment with one of the students at the apostolate’s opening meeting.


David Ruchinski ‘07 (St. Augustine) converses with some of the students from the American University of Rome.

discussion groups, guided walking tours of the city's spiritual and religious heritage, or simply engaging the students in informal conversation on the AUR campus, we seek to augment their spiritual and intellectual experience of Rome. The aim of this, as with any other university apostolate, is to evangelize through word and example and assist students in their individual faith journey. Doing so means not only presenting the Truth in an accessible way, but also finding the traces of that Truth in the lives even of those who seemingly reject it. In order to engage a diverse group of students, we devised a series of sessions called "Talk the Talk, Walk the

Pontifical North American College M A G A Z I N E

THE APOSTOLATE Walk," alternating between talks given at the AUR campus and walks into the city. These sessions seek to create an authentic dialogue, demonstrating that faith is compatible with reason, and informing students of the rich religious history of Rome that extends beyond St. Peter's and the Vatican M u s e u m s . These Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk sessions include a discussion about vocations and the priesthood, visits to rooms of St. Ignatius and St. Philip Neri, discussions about adjusting to life in Rome and about the relationships between men and women, and discussions of literary works like Dante's Inferno and Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. On Sunday evenings, we also celebrate Mass in English at the Church of Sant'Onofrio in an effort to build and support the Catholic community at AUR. For these students coming to Rome means coming home to the center of the Catholic world, a great place to learn the significance of a Church that is "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic." Our ministry is built upon patient endurance, seeking to reach individual students at whatever stage they are in their spiritual development. For many college students 'hanging-out' encompasses a large part of their day, so often we engage in the ministry of "holy-loitering"-in other words standing around in a high traffic area on campus saying hello to friendly faces, both known and unknown. This shows a desire to be present to students no matter what their needs, and it also points to the Lord who anxiously waits for each of us to draw near to him. Our purpose on campus is not always one of action. Much of our time is devoted to the "Ministry of Presence."

Rev. Mr. Michael Triplett ‘07 (Baltimore) takes a moment to relax and share some thoughts with his peers.

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S ofacredH eart J esus Devotion to the

by Justin Kisewski ‘08 Diocese of Lacrosse


he beatification of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the saint who witnessed Jesus' Sacred Heart, was announced in a chapel that is now the College's library at the Casa Santa Maria. Servant of God Frank Parater, a seminarian who died while studying at the North American College once said ''Remember, the Sacred Heart never fails those who love Him.'' Pope Pius XII described the Sacred Heart as ''that particular image which surpasses all the rest in efficacy and meaning'' (Haurietis Aqua, 103). This year, at the North American College, there has been a renewed focus on raising awareness of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Conferences and retreats have focused on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We remember the Sacred Heart most of all on First Fridays when we pray for all of our benefactors during the Litany of the Sacred Heart.


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The importance of the Sacred Heart in the life of the North American College is undeniable, but the devotion has a universal appeal and importance. What is the devotion to the Sacred Heart? The devotion to the Sacred Heart is, at its root, the ''worship of the love with which God, through Jesus, loved us, and at the same time, an exercise of our own love by which we are related to God and to each other'' (107). Pius XII mentions three loves in that ''worship of love'' that are represented by the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The first love is the Divine Love, God himself, for God is love. But this mysterious, invisible love becomes visible in Jesus Christ. This love is shown through a weak and vulnerable presence, the Word become flesh and dwelling among us. This is the Word, which speaks Love, through whom all things were made - the universe and everything in it - and through whom it keeps going. This love is aware of me constantly, loves me continually, and will do so for ever. This heart expresses the Divine Love for us all. The second love that the Sacred Heart of Jesus symbolizes is the ''burning love which, infused into his soul, enriches the human will of Christ and enlightens and governs its acts by the most perfect knowledge derived both from the beatific vision and that which is directly infused'' (56). Jesus had that perfect human knowledge in which he knew on earth what the saints know in heaven. The more we know, the more we can love. Jesus had perfect human love that flowed from his perfect human knowledge. Christ the man was able to see and love us perfectly during the course of his life and at its end. In other words, because of his knowledge, Christ could love us to the point of death on the cross. This heart expresses perfect charity for us all. The third love is a "sensible love, since the body of Jesus Christ, formed by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, possesses full powers of feelings and perception, in fact, more so than any other human being" (57). In addition to the virtue of charity that Jesus had, he also had the emotion of love - a passionate love. His heart beat for his mother and for us, stopped beating for his mother and for us, and beats now, at this very moment, for his mother and for us. This heart expresses passionate love for us all. We have missed one of the most striking aspects of the Sacred Heart - that it has been pierced by sins - yours and mine. We must remember this in ''the exercise of our own love''. About this I asked a student priest, Father Mark Lenneman (Diocese of Helena), here at the college what he thought was important about the Sacred Heart: "The Sacred Heart of Jesus is more than just a model of priestly love. The priest must allow himself to be united completely and totally to the Sacred Heart. Union of hearts is the final goal. The priest must learn to love with the same love that is revealed by the Pierced Heart. His heart must learn to beat according to the same rhythm as Christ's. It reveals the cost of love. The Sacred Heart is a Pierced Heart. It is a Heart that has loved to the extreme, to the point where nothing more can be given. Contemplating the Sacred and Pierced Heart of Christ allows one to see that only a love that suffers can bear true and lasting life. Christ's Heart, opened more by love than by the soldier's spear, gives witness to this truth. Life is communicated to the world through the wound of His Heart." His Heart was a Heart that suffered, that died, that gave itself up for all. This is the image of Divine Love, of perfect human charity and passionate love. This is the Heart on which all priests and seminarians are to model their own hearts.

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Rector’s Dinner On 19 April, the College's Rector, Monsignor James Checchio, presented the 2007 Rector's Dinner Awards to William Cardinal Levada and Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Paulette Kardos. With the Rector's Award, the College honors those outstanding individuals for their service to the Roman Catholic Church and for their generous commitment to the work of the Pontifical North American College. The Rector's Dinner is held annually to honor the many friends of the College whose generosity makes her mission possible. The evening of the Rector's Dinner is also an opportunity to celebrate that mission and promote its cause. The proceeds from the dinner are an invaluable help in supporting the operational expenses of the College. Beginning in 1991, the College's alumni, friends, and benefactors gather in Rome to recognize the important apostolate that the North American College offers to the Church Universal and to the Church in America. This year saw the presence of many of the College's friends who were able to come not only from the United States, but also from Italy and other parts of Europe. The College was also honored by the presence of many American prelates and other ecclesiastical dignitaries working in the Vatican and throughout the world. Cardinal Levada Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop-Emeritus of San Francisco, was given the 2007 Rector's Award for his great priestly witness and outstanding support of the College. Ordained in 1961, Cardinal Levada is an alumnus of both the College and the Casa Santa Maria, and received his doctorate from the Gregorian University in 1971. Pope Benedict XVI honored him in 2006 by raising him to the College of Cardinals. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he succeeds then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger who served in that same position. Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Paulette Kardos Dedicated and faithful American Catholics, Paul and Paulette Kardos received the 2007 Rector’s Award for their longtime generous support of the College and the Church. Upon receiving the award they encouraged others to join them in promoting the mission of the Pontifical North American College as a “sound investment in future leaders of the Church.”


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Left: Msgr. James Checchio and Archbishop Edwin O’Brien present the 2007 Rector’s Award to William Cardinal Levada; Above: Students provide entertainment during the dinner.

Clockwise from left: Msgr. James Checchio with Vatican Secretary of State, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone; U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Francis Rooney congratulates Rector’s Award Honoree William Cardinal Levada; Msgr. James Checchio and Archbishop Edwin O’Brien present the 2007 Rector’s Award to Paul and Paulette Kardos; Rev. Mr. Kenneth St. Hilaire ‘07 (Spokane) provides piano music during the pre-dinner reception; Student waiters prepare to serve dinner to the guests.


A Scholar IN ROME by Rev. Robert Barron

Our words can, at best, shape reality, affect reality, but God's word constitutes reality. If Jesus were one prophet among many, one interesting religious figure am ong m an y, then his w ord s cou ld have, per haps, a symbol ic r esona nc e. B ut the faith of the Church is that Jesus is the Word made flesh. Therefore, what he says, - Fr. Bar ro n spea kin g on t he Mi ni st ry o f t he Wo rd t o t he D ia co n at e C lass of


or the past three months I've had the privilege of serving as a scholar in residence here at the North American College. This Roman sojourn - part retreat, part lecture tour, part theological seminar, all spiritual renewal - has been one of the great experiences of my life. During the month of March, I offered an intensive course at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (the Angelicum), based on my latest book, The Priority of Christ: Toward a Postliberal Catholicism. I very much enjoyed engaging the students in my class who came from all over the world, though some of them were, I think, a bit surprised by my more interactive "American" style of teaching. In March, I also gave a series of seven lectures to the forty priests of the ICTE (Institute for Continuing Theological Education), who had stepped away from their ordinary work for a 12 week sabbatical in Rome. The focus of those lectures was the evangelization of the American culture. I benefitted from the very lively give-and-take with these pastorally experienced and intellectually curious priests. In March and April, I gave two Sunday evening talks for the entire North American College community. In the first, I looked at the continuing relevance of John Henry Newman in our present ecclesial situation, especially his ruminations on the development of doctrine in relation to the authority of the church. In the second, I explored the complex issue of being, simultaneously, American and Catholic, taking my cue from the thought of two Chicago Cardinals, Mundelein and George. After the Easter break, I offered a series of four talks to interested NAC students and faculty on the theme of Christ: Priest, Prophet, and King. In these presentations, I adopted the style of a retreat preacher and tried to show the applicability of these Christological archetypes to the spiritual life of the diocesan priest. I also gave a number of talks around Rome, including a discussion of my newest book at the Casa Santa Maria, a presentation on evangelization to the students at St. Thomas University's Rome Center, and a meditation on St. Mark at the Lay Center. I also had the privilege of presiding and preaching at Mass several times here at the North American. All told, I gave 35 separate lectures and homilies during this period, and I have to admit that at times I got sick of hearing myself talk! But honestly, Fr. Barron is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary. He is the author of four books, including Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master and And Now I See: A Theology of Transformation.

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Fr. Barron congra tulates William Cardina l Leva da at this y ear’s Rector’s Dinner. Besides all of the speaking, I had the opportunity to "learn" Rome a bit better. I had been to Rome a number of times for short visits, but since I had done my doctoral studies in Paris, I had not had the chance to get to know la città eterna well. Thus, many of my weekends and afternoons were spent visiting the Pantheon, climbing the Campidoglio, exploring Trastevere, musing over Caravaggios, traipsing through the Forum, working my way through the rabbit warren of streets near the Campo dei Fiori, praying at the tomb of St. Monica, sticking my hand in the Bocca di Verita, meditating on the bank of the Circus Maximus, and hiking through the Dora Pamphylia. As everyone from from Justin Martyr to Geothe to John Paul II knew, Rome is, in itself, a spiritual education. But I can honestly say that the greatest part of this experience was getting to know the students at the North American College. From the moment of my arrival, I was received with great warmth and during my weeks at the College I was graciously invited into the rhythms and activities of the community. I had the chance, both at meals and during numerous private conversations, to get to know the concerns and aspirations of these students who will be among the leaders of the next Catholic generation. I found them spiritually serious, focussed on the mission of the church, intellectually alert, and a great deal of fun. They fill me with enormous confidence as I contemplate the future of the Church in the United States. As I prepare to leave and return to Chicago, I'm filled with gratitude toward Msgr. James Checchio and the whole faculty at the NAC for giving me this opportunity. To everyone on "the hill," ad multos annos. SUMMER 2 0 0 7


A Vocation to Preach by Shane Deman ‘08 Diocese of Sioux City


n January 14th, the North American College welcomed her former Rector, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, as guest speaker for the annual Carl J. Peter Lecture on homiletics. Speaking in the auditorium where he often gave his now well known Rector's Conferences, the Archbishop of Milwaukee presented to the students and faculty a talk entitled "Preaching: An Ecclesial Vocation".

May be the greatest threat

While sharing his familiar wit and candor, he encouraged the seminarians and priests of the College to always see their role as preachers of the Word in the larger context of the Church, whom they represent. The Archbishop quickly noted that one's personality, style, and tone must never be lacking from preaching. However, personal character should not detract from one's duty to stand in persona Christi. While all the baptized are called to proclaim the Christian message, those entrusted with the office of preaching should proclaim Christ and not oneself or one's personal agenda.

sec ul arism,

This being said, a priest carries out the mission of preaching only in the heart of the Church. Ministers who stand in persona Christi speak for the Church, the Bride, and follow his example. Such preaching points to Christ and his Bride, and not to one's personal opinions. Lastly, he noted that committed preachers never shy away from preaching the Cross. With his thoughts, memorable stories, and catchy humor, Archbishop Dolan encouraged the students and faculty of the College to be priests who forever proclaim Christ, his Church, and his cross. May the example of those great preachers who go before us continue to inspire the upcoming generations of priests, and may the name of Christ

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to the Ch urch is not heresy, not dissent, not not


moral relativism, b ut this san it i zed, feel- go od , b ou tique, thera peutic spirituality




dem an ds, ca lls for n o sacrifice, asks for no conversion , entails no battle against



soothes and affirms.


Text of the 2007 Carl J. Peter Lecture given by Archbishop Timothy Preaching at the Eucharist is an ecclesial vocation; it comes from and is an intimate part of the Person of Christ, and of His bride, the Church. Now, I must express a couple of caveats, lest one be already tempted to jump to unintended conclusions from my just-stated thesis. For one, I am not saying that our personality, our temperament, our humanity does not affect our preaching. You bet it does. As St. Thomas Aquinas insisted, grace builds on nature, and we bring our human nature with us -- some of us with much more weight than others -- every time we stand before God's people and dare to preach. Never are we to be robots, empty shells, devoid of color, care, and character in the pulpit. So, I am not saying that our ecclesial call to preach, not our person, but in persona Christi, turns us into mechanical "tin-men." We gladly bring our humanity with us, to give warmth, color, naturalness, credibility, a heart, to what we preach. But our person is -- to borrow again from the Angelic Doctor -- only the "accident." The substance must be Christ! And I am afraid that too often today the "accident" our own person, our own agenda, trumps the substance of the Person of Christ and the message of His Church. That injunction is as fresh as yesterday's office of Readings, when St. Hilary of Poitiers prayed to the Lord, "I am well aware . . . that in my life I owe you a most particular duty: to make my every thought and word speak of you." Thanks to the towering Magisterium of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, the theme of the identity of the priest as one who acts in Persona Christi has been revived and emphasized. At the core of our being, ordination so configures us, "re-orders" us, that we now act in the very person of the Second Person of the Most blessed Trinity, a concept developed especially in Pastores Dabo Vobis. I don't know about you, but I find it rather easy -- awesome, to be sure -- but simple, to see myself acting in Persona Christi when I utter the words of consecration at Mass, for instance, or absolve a penitent in the sacrament of reconciliation, or christen a baby or an adult. What I am proposing in this Carl J. Peter Lecture is that we are also acting in the Person of Christ when we preach. Jesus preaches to His people in and through us. "He who hears you, hears me!" If this does not stop you short, I don't know what will. Let me elaborate on this in three points: First, we are called, in the ecclesial charism of preaching, to preach Jesus. In my home archdiocese of St. Louis, there is a parish church where, as you approach the pulpit to preach, you see an inscription from the gospels carved into the ambo. The passage? "Sir, we would like to see Jesus," the earnest, direct appeal of the Greek visitors to the apostles as recorded in the Fourth Gospel. The first time I preached from that pulpit I was captivated by that statement. As I looked out at the hundreds of people before me, that was their plea, their desire, the mission statement they were giving me: "Sir, we would like to see Jesus." If, as I contend, preaching is an ecclesial charism, then, as homilist, we, representing the Church, speak lovingly of the Church's spouse, Christ. Poetically implicit in the liturgy of the Word for this second Sunday of Ordinary Time, in the passage from Isaiah and the Fourth Gospel, is that nuptial imagery. While preaching, we speak with, from, and for the Church, often about her spouse, Jesus Christ. Secondly, as a preacher, we speak for, with, and from the Church. It is an ecclesial act. This follows logically, because, for us as Catholics, Christ and His Church are one. Just ask Saul of Tarsus, who found this out the hard way on the road to Damascus. "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Not, notice, why do you persecute my Church, my people, but, "Why do you crucify me?" But we are totally and unequivocally men of the Church as preachers. What St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote for his prospective Jesuits applies to us: we are resolved to serve "the Lord alone and the Church His Spouse." Remember his conclusion of the Spiritual Exercises, where he refuses to admit any discrepancy between the love of Christ and His Church? "I must be convinced," he writes, "that in Christ our Lord, the bridegroom, and in His spouse the Church, only one Spirit holds sway, which governs and rules for the salvation of souls." And, as Cardinal Avery Dulles concludes, "St. Ignatius' allegiance is not to some abstract idea of the Church, but to the Church as it concretely exists on earth, with the Roman Pontiff at its summit." Referring to St. Ignatius, the cardinal concludes that the hierarchical and Roman Church is "the true spouse of Christ our Lord, our holy mother." We're hardly blind to the defects, flaws, and imperfections of the Church. Ecclesia semper reformanda. We see her, warts and all. At times we can even agree with Flannery O'Connor and remark, "It's not suffering for the Church that bothers me; it's suffering from her." A groom will honor his bride's dark side; a son well knows his mother's eccentricities. But, in the words of the great Newman, our love for and trust in the Church, both our bride and our mother, is innate. "Love for Christ and His Church must be the passion of your lives!" as John Paul the Great told priests. Thirdly, finally, as we preach of Jesus, as we speak with, for, and from His Church, we must speak of the Cross. The temptation is there to soft-pedal the cross. "A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministration of a Christ without a cross," in the oftquoted words of H. Richard Niebuhr. Well, in the words of that great American philosopher, Huckleberry Finn, from my home state of Missouri, "It ain't the parts of the Bible that I don't understand that bothers me. It's the parts I do understand," and I understand the Bible to teach that the cross is an inevitable part of what we paradoxically call the "good news." So, our preaching, if we preach Christ, if we preach with, for, from, and in the Church, must preach the cross. If our charism of preaching is Jesus-centered, and ecclesial -- as it must be -- it must also hold high the cross of Christ.

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In the Footsteps of

by Theodore Lange ‘09



alking with St. Paul is a grand task that many disciples of Jesus long to do. St. Paul the great apostle, preacher, theologian, shepherd, and martyr, is an exemplary companion on the journey to the priesthood. Over Easter break this year, 21 students from the College and two Jesuits made a pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey in order to understand better the experience of Paul and the culture he evangelized. When traveling through Northern Greece, Athens and its surrounding area, the Island of Samos, and Ephesus (Turkey), the ancient world that St. Paul evangelized comes alive and the apostolic task that St. Paul was given becomes tangible. As one looks upon the ancient ruins which help tell the story that is so dear to us, one feels that he can almost touch St. Paul and the early Christians to whom he preached. The Macedonian region is rich in historical figures from the ranks of Aristotle, Alexander the Great, and

24 Pontifical North American College

Archdiocese of Portland

Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Within the ancient ruins, beautiful scenery, and the feta cheese, one finds a mission: a timeless mission that began 2000 years ago. The mission of Paul is accessible even today through prayer, the Sacred Scriptures, and the culture he transformed. As one reads scripture in the very place for where it was written or sits near an ancient ruin, the insights are rich in flavor, and the taste lingers as subtle details and discreet facts become a part of one's experience. A good example of this is Philippi. Within the ruins of the ancient city can be found the prison where Paul was kept, the amphitheater where Paul preached, and the synagogue where Paul taught. Men preparing for the priesthood are quickly reminded by the short distance between the place of preaching and the place of imprisonment of the price many have paid through the centuries for preaching Christ Crucified and Risen. Or perhaps one is inspired by reading the story of Lydia, the famous convert of St. Paul who was baptized in a river near the field of the ancient battle of Philippi (42 B.C.), a battle which changed the history of Western civilization. It was in this context that St. Paul wielded the sword of the gospel and engaged in a cosmic battle that would change the history of the world through the power of Love. Paul's quest to bring the whole world to Christ led him to Athens, thus our journey went there as well.



We stayed at a Jesuit retreat center in Oinoi, about an hour's bus ride from Athens. At Corinth, Athens, and Delphi, monasteries and prayer combine to give one the opportunity to be spoken to by ancient history and philosophy, biblical sites, and beautiful mountains and coastlines. With the Catholics and Orthodox entering Holy Week and Easter at the same time, the Triduum became the focus as the group went with Paul into the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. A short walk down the street from the retreat center was an Orthodox church where pilgrims went to experience the rich liturgies of the Greek Church. The Greeks are a people indebted to St. Paul and his kerygma, which still resounds through their local traditions. For example, after Easter, one greets another with "Christ is risen!" and the response follows, "Truly he is risen!" A journey with St. Paul also leads one to Ephesus and to the ancient ruins of a city where he wrote and preached, so we journeyed there by boat. If the traditions are correct, then one thinks that Paul might have been here when Mary and John were here and a meditation of potential conversations about Jesus quickly rises to the mind. Mary's house, being close to ancient Ephesus, was included in the trip. How providential that one should close a pilgrimage with St. Paul at the house of the Woman whose "yes" made it all possible. Theodore Lange ‘09 (Portland) spends a few moments in prayer, reading the writings of St. Paul.

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PIAZZA DI SPAGNA by Michael Novajosky ‘10

Diocese of Bridgeport


here are numerous places in Rome that may be avoided by one who lives in the city for a significant length of time. The crowds may be too large, the scene too frantic, or the reputation too ritzy. Piazza di Spagna is one of these areas for some, although I find no problem paying a visit to this wonderful location. The home to the Spanish embassy since the 17th century was once known as Piazza di Francia in tribute to the French kings who had financed the church overlooking the piazza. However, as time passed the Spanish title surpassed the French one leading to the name Piazza di Spagna. The piazza possesses great symbolism - intended or not - in terms of its history if one only looks for it. To fully appreciate this wonderful piazza one must approach it from the west by the Via Condotti. The road is named after the conduits built by Pope Gregory XIII in the sixteenth century to bring water to the lower part of Rome. Today this path brings numerous visitors from the other major areas of the city. This road provides a spectacular view of the Spanish Steps that lead up to the top of the hill, a magnificent spot

from which to view St. Peter's and the Roman skyline. In front of the steps is the fountain of the Barcaccia, or "Old Barge." It is here that I am struck by the wonderful meaning found in the piazza. Built by Bernini, the fountain is in the shape of a boat. The fountain sits nearly submerged in the water and below the ground, necessary in order to overcome the low water pressure. There are two important markings on the fountain alluding to Pope Urban VIII who commissioned the work: a sun and the papal crest of Urban. This leads me to think of the ancient symbol of the Church as the barque of Peter, for it is through her that man is saved, led on earth by the Holy Father.

The ship points in the direction of another landmark of the piazza, the column with the Blessed Virgin Mary raised in exaltation over the entire piazza. Blessed Pope Pius IX erected this column in 1857 in honor of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception proclaimed just three years prior. Each year as the Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, the Holy Father visits the column to honor Mary and has a wreath placed upon her outstretched arm. December 8 is truly a feast day for those of us at the College. Not only is Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception the patroness of the United States, but also the College was officially inaugurated in 1859 on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. We are reminded by this architectural structure to always set our sights upon the Blessed Virgin, for she will never cease to help and guide us. Where does she guide us? Her right arm upon which is lain the wreath points in the direction Spectators surround the fountain of the “old barge” at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. of Sanctissima Trinità dei Monti,

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NEIGHBORHOOD PROFILE the church atop the Steps.

similar: baroque and strikingly beautiful. Originally entrusted to the Order of the Sacred Heart, in recent years a community founded only a few decades ago has taken possession of it, the Fraternitè Monastique de Jerusalem. Certainly a Roman rite community, there are hints of Eastern influence that leave the humble pilgrim breathless at the beauty of their prayer. This monastery within a bustling city has assisted in my worship and that of many other pilgrims fortunate enough to visit during a liturgy. In this church atop a hill in the eternal city, one is able to enter into praise and contemplation of the Most Holy Trinity.

Following her gesture, I return to that area. The Piazza was known as the "ghetto of the English" because of all the English visitors that would live in this area while in Rome. In fact, the poet John Keats died in the building just to the right of the Spanish Steps. In late spring, flowers engulf the staircase while the rest of the year one needs to look beyond the sea of tourists, pilgrims and ragazzi, or Italian youth, that find the steps an ideal location to recline. Some days are easier than others to climb the staircase, but the threetiered structure reminds us of the ascent's goal, the Holy Trinity. The papal barque, the Blessed Mother, the spiritual ascent and arrival at the First and Last is made tangiTrinitĂ dei Monti was constructed in part from the gen- ble and formed in the structures of marble and metal, erous gifts of various French kings. The exterior, with but only truly takes shape upon the heart of a believer. its twin belfries, is a contrast from most the other A piazza that appears like many others at a quick churches in Rome, although the interior remains very glance reveals her beauty and truth to whoever asks to

Tourists flock to Piazza di Spagna to walk to the Church of TrinitĂ dei Monti or to sit on the Spanish steps.

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Fr. Steve Doktorczyk ‘05, C’07 (Orange in California) stands in the courtyard of the Casa.

by Rev. Stephen Doktorczyk ‘05, C’07 Diocese of Orange in California


hen a man comes to the North American College for his seminary formation, he can

plan on spending four years studying theology before he is ordained a priest. This is not unique; in fact, Canon Law requires this of all seminarians. What is unique in Rome, however, is that a seminarian earns a bachelor's degree in theology after three years of pretty intense study. So what happens that fourth year? Well, that depends on a number of factors, the largest being the man's field of study and the wishes of his bishop. Some students will spend their fourth year earning a master's degree in theology and then return immediately to their diocese. Others, however, will begin a license program which can take from between 2 and 4 years to complete depending upon the subject matter, with the majority requiring two years. Students completing a two year license degree will remain at the North American College for their last year of studies as a "fifth-year priest." However, those pursuing a field of study requiring more time are faced with the decision of whether to stay at the NAC or move down to the Casa Santa Maria, the house for priests. I fall into this second camp as a canon law student. The canon law license takes three years to complete. It was during my fourth year at the North American College that I needed to decide where to spend my final two years after priesthood ordination. It was not an easy decision to make, and I spent much time in prayer asking the Lord to help me make the right choice. In the end, I decided to move to the Casa Santa Maria in the fall of 2005, and it has turned out quite well. One benefit is living with priests who have worked in a parish environment, some for a number of years. There is much focus on study and prayer, and it is the responsibility of each priest to be accountable for himself. By design, the seminary is more structured as its goal is to prepare men for parish life. Initially, it was difficult for me to adjust to this lessened activity at the Casa. For example, it is an exciting time at the NAC during the week of diaconate ordination. One cannot help but be part of the excitement and joy exuding throughout the seminary the days before the diaconate, both from the deacons themselves, from their families, and from the entire student body. After four years of participating in some way in these activities, I felt a type of emptiness knowing what I was missing as a result of changing residences. As time passed, however, the adjustment became easier and easier. Having more time to study is a blessing, and anyone studying for an advanced degree will tell you the importance of knowing one's subject matter well. We are indeed fortunate to have the time to properly prepare ourselves for our future ministries. To be sure, we do more than simply study. A number of priests from the Casa Santa Maria are involved in outside apostolic activities (such as celebrating Mass for different religious orders, hearing confessions, teaching and giving spiritual direction, to name a few). One can participate in the Lenten "Station Church Pilgrimage," which many priests, seminarians, and lay people make part of their daily routine. I thank God regularly for the six years I've spent in Rome. It is said that one can learn theology anywhere, which is true enough. But when you experience beautiful churches, walk in the footsteps of the early martyrs, visit museums (including one practically next door to the Casa), meet people from all parts of the world, and are part of the Italian culture, you cannot help but be enriched. That is, by "making Rome your classroom" you realize that studying theology involves more than attending classes and doing homework. Rather, by also immersing yourself into the culture of Rome, the experience becomes more complete. I pray that this experience will truly help me as a preacher, teacher, and believer.

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A Sabbatical in by Rev. Bernard CamirĂŠ, S.S.S.

Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament


was pleasantly surprised, that bright morning of February 6th, at how quickly and smoothly my arrival at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport went. I zipped through Passport Control, briskly claimed my baggage, and began my journey to the North American College. The day after my arrival was an orientation day for the priests of the Institute for Continuing Theological Education, a time to familiarize ourselves with the many facilities of the Institute program and of the North American College. We numbered thirty-five and constituted a very diverse group from dioceses and religious communities across the United States and three from English-speaking Canada. Our ages ranged from thirty-four to seventy-eight, and though I was the fourth oldest in the group, I was second in number of years ordained. That evening we had a "get acquainted" session that allowed us to share some information about our background, our present ministry, and the expectations of our Rome sabbatical. Our first week was a time of frequent introductions to members of the student body (a hundred and sixty-one strong) and of the faculty, all of whom extended a cordial welcome and a warm friendliness and helpfulness during our stay. Gradually we familiarized ourselves with the essential locations within the College: chapels, dining room, library, lounge, lecture hall, etc. One of my favorite spots was the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, a quiet, out-of-the-way, and beautifully designed space, where one could pray intimately with the Eucharistic Christ. This was also a favorite location for many of the students who could frequently be found there at prayer. Also, on a daily basis the College provided exposition of the Blessed Sacrament that concluded with Benediction and Evening Prayer. I retain only favorable impressions of the NAC liturgies, which were celebrated unfailingly with great care and reverence, an inducement to prayer and a source of edification. On weekends the Institute priests were free to organize their days as they chose. These were occasions for a good number of us to visit not only the historic cities and places of interest within the Italian peninsula but also countries as far away as England, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Lithuania. Saturdays and Sundays were for me opportunities to visit numerous basilicas, churches and chapels, as well as museums, fountains and ancient ruins. A highlight of Sundays was the solemn concelebrated Mass in the College's main chapel, at which the full corps of faculty, students, Institute priests and staff members was present. The Institute program, during the first week and a half, gently eased us into a routine of spending several hours a day in a classroom by offering us lectures by art experts on the history (medieval, Renaissance, baroque) of Italian art and architecture. These were complemented by guided tours to places like St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums and the Villa Borghese. After these very pleasant and digestible appetizers, our group was served, in the following weeks, very substantial fare: lectures on liturgy, Christology, Scripture, ethics, canon law, spirituality, Islamic studies, and a number of other interesting subjects. Our presenters were drawn from the universities of Rome, as well as from departments of the Vatican Curia. The presenters were engaging and thought provoking and, as can be imagined in a group of priests with very diverse backgrounds and experiences, some topics did not fail to spark quite animated discussions. As the days of the Institute program drew to a close, I started to feel a strange tugging at the heart. I soon enough discovered that I was not alone in experiencing this. Why did a tinge of sadness color our concluding celebrations of liturgy, our last meals together and our final ventures into the Vatican and the City of Rome? After reflecting with several Institute priests, it became apparent that the answer was to be found in the fact that the three months of our living, praying, and reflecting together had transformed us from a group of clerical strangers into a real community of spiritual brothers. It was to be found, also, in the fact that our daily sharing of life with the NAC students evoked in us, perhaps with some nostalgia, the idealism of our own youth. It was to be found, finally, in our not yet having partaken, to our full satisfaction, in the spiritual and cultural feast that Rome so generously offers. Arrivederci Roma!

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L e g i o n We e ke n d

by James Melnick ‘09

Diocese of Little Rock


he first weekend in May is traditionally Legionaries' Weekend here at the college. The men of the North American College and the Legionaries of Christ team up for a day of prayer, sports, and fraternity. After Sunday Mass at the college, we all head outside to the Kardos Sports Field for recreation in which we face-off in several sports. This year, along side the annual favorites of seven-inning softball and the high-intensity basketball game, the NAC being victorious in both, we added a new sport that is growing in popularity throughout the world: Ultimate Frisbee. This game is played similar to football, except without tackling and, of course, with a Frisbee. Ultimate Frisbee, or "Ultimate" as it's usually called, is a sport that the Legionaries frequently play at their college and has become increasingly popular for us here. Even with the bouts of rain and the defeat in Ultimate, the game gave an opportunity for more men of the college to compete and play hard. Overall, the weekend gave us a chance to know our brothers better, both the Legionaries and our brothers in the house. We came away from the weekend promising prayers for each other and united in the desire to zealously serve the people of the God.

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Perhaps now more than ever in our country, priestly fraternity is a necessity. It is my hope that these types of relationships with other national colleges and religious communities, relationships rooted in prayer, sports or conversation, will encourage our men to reach out to do the same types of things when they get home as priests in their dioceses, and hence offer encouragement and priestly support to one another in living out our vocations. It's also a lot of fun as for the last few years, we've won two of the three games! - Msgr. James Checchio

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with contributions from Jaime Rivera '07 (Atlanta) and Celso Batista '09 (Brooklyn)


he next academic year will begin without the familiar faces of four faculty members. Departing the College this year are Fr. Peter McGuine, Msgr. David Bohr, Fr. Ross Shecterle, and Fr. Dennis Gill.

Fr. Peter McGuine, '90, is concluding his assignment here at the College after serving for four years as the Vice Rector for Seminary Life to return to the Diocese of San Diego as pastor of Santa Sophia Church in Spring Valley. Msgr. David Bohr is from the Diocese of Scranton and came to the College in 2004 with many years of experience in priestly formation, having served as Rector of the Saint Pius X Seminary in his home diocese. Msgr. Bohr departs this College this summer after having served as the College's Academic Dean and as a formation advisor for three years. Fr. Ross Shecterle is leaving the college after four years as Director of Counseling Services to begin his first of five years as the Rector-President of the American College of the Immaculate Conception in Louvain Belgium. He will become the 16th Rector in the history of the American College. Fr. Dennis Gill served for the past five years as the College's Director of Liturgy and additionally as a formation advisor. A priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he returns there to serve in parish ministry.

Msgr. David Bohr

Fr. 32 Pontifical North American College


Fr. Dennis Gill

Fr. Ross Shecterle



very year the College not only joyfully witnesses the ordinations of her student deacons and priests, but also her students' reception of the ministries of lector and acolyte, once known as the minor orders. These ministries represent important steps on the way to ordained ministry, but are also important in themselves, bestowing the Church's blessing on those who receive the ministry to proclaim God's Word and serve at the altar in the midst of the liturgical assembly. This year, the College was privileged to welcome back her former Rector, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who conferred on the College's first-theologians the ministry of Lector. An equally happy privilege was the visit of George Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, who conferred the ministry of Acolyte on the College's second-theologians. It was a particularly exciting time for the College's Australian seminarians, who this year numbered six.

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DEVELOPMENT by Mary DiDonato

Executive Director of Institutional Advancement

I have wonderful news to share with you! I was recently appointed the Executive Director for Institutional Advancement for the North American College. In this position I will build upon the fundraising momentum created during the recently completed capital campaign, Vision For The Future. Though probably a new name and face to many of you, I actually have been closely associated with the College for about three years. Previously I was a Senior Managing Director with Changing Our World, the philanthropic consulting firm that designed and managed the College's recent capital campaign. As the lead campaign coordinator I had the opportunity to witness the College in action and meet many of its outstanding alumni who currently serve the Church throughout the United States. I also had the opportunity to work alongside many of the College's most supportive laity. Now, I look forward to strengthening these relationships and moving the Office of Institutional Advancement forward in the post-Campaign era. Truly, I am convinced that the College is still the "best kept secret" among laity in the United States and has substantial untapped fundraising potential. So I am eager to work with my new colleagues and the College's community of friends and supporters to spread the word and build upon the College's remarkable legacy.

BENEFACCOME TO Recently a group of campaign benefactors from across the country had the opportunity to enjoy Rome in all of her spring glory! Their visit was carefully planned to not only provide them with an insider's intimate view of the Eternal City, but also to familiarize them firsthand with the work of the College. In addition to guided tours of ancient Rome, St. Peter's, the Vatican Gardens and the Sistine Chapel, to name a few, various other special opportunities were afforded to the visitors. These included a Scavi tour, reserved seating at the Papal audience - which enabled Bert Degheri to have a very special moment with the Holy Father, and a private tour of the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Apostolic Palace.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached via email, or phone, 202-541-5403.

Adequate time was also allotted for members of the group to meet, pray, dine and chat with the rector, Msgr. Checchio, staff and seminarians, while on visits to the main campus on the Hill and the graduate house, the Casa Santa Maria in the heart of downtown Rome. During these visits, the benefactors were delighted to meet men from their home dioceses now studying at the College. Without a doubt, many lasting friendships and bonds were established!

Mary joins the College with nearly 20 years of fundraising experience. She and her husband, Frank, have two children, Peter and Jacqueline. Though a born and raised New Yorker, Mary has re-located to Washington, DC and works at our US office located at 3211 Fourth Street NE, Washington, DC 20017.

After a hectic week, the group departed - perhaps a bit weary - but with wonderful memories and definitely with a deeper appreciation for the College's fine tradition of preparing men for the diocesan priesthood in the United States.

34 Pontifical North American College


Rev. Msgr. Daniel H. Mueggenborg ‘89 Diocese of Tulsa Vice Rector for Administration

ECONOMO’S CORNER The farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the late and early rain.


pring is an inspiring time. We don't have to look far to see signs of hope. This is obviously true in the world of nature but also in the life of the Church. Each spring we celebrate a hope that is the foundation of our faith the Resurrection of Jesus and our hope to share in it. This hope takes a particular form at the Pontifical North American College. We see it in the 4th year deacons returning home for their summers hoping to be ordained priests. We see it in the many New Men hoping to begin their studies in Rome and sending in their completed applications. We also experience hope as we see the facilities and programs of the College being restored and updated. It is a sign that we are a community of faith that is serious about providing the best possible resources and environment for priestly formation. Our hope is not disappointed. Despite the current challenges of a historically low exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Euro, we have continued to improve the life and environment of the seminary. It gives us hope to know that important works are being done that will serve the students, faculty, and staff for years to come. Not all of these improvements are visible. Some are rather hidden -- like the electrical re-wiring of the main floor and the information technology upgrade to our computer system. However, all of these improvements are a sign that we have a very hopeful future and that we are preparing for it in the best possible way. Your hope is not disappointed. You, the community of alumni, benefactors and friends, make possible our ministry. You are hoping for good, holy, and dedicated priests to serve the Catholic Church. You will not be disappointed. Thank you for your support of this ministry and for the encouragement and hope you give us through your generosity and prayer. The devaluation of the dollar this past year has increased our expenses nearly 8%. Because of this devaluation, I ask for your generous support in an even greater way than before. With your help, we can continue to offer the highest quality priestly formation for our students. We are hopeful. Thank you for your support in the past. Your continued generosity is a sound investment in the future of the Catholic Church. - Rev. Msgr. Daniel H. Mueggenborg

SUMMER 2 0 0 7


GOOD WORKS ABOUND The College Thanks George and Annette Strake by Mary DiDonato Executive Director of Institutional Advancement The Strake name is one familiar to many in Rome. The family not only funded the excavation project beneath St. Peter's Basilica to reveal an ancient Roman necropolis and the tomb of St. Peter, known today as the Scavi Tour, they have also been loyal supporters of the North American College for many years. Although George Strake's involvement with the College began through his parents, he and his wife, Annette, have significantly increased their personal involvement over the past six years or so when divine providence paired them with several outstanding seminarians from the College who serve as personal guides for the Scavi Tour. Through their tour experience, George and Annette learned about the outstanding religious and spiritual education that the College provides to seminarians and graduate student priests. During subsequent conversations with their good friend, Archbishop Michael Miller (until recently the secretary for the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome and now newly appointed co-adjutor of Vancouver, Canada), they further discovered that the College is serving a critical role in the building of Catholic faith in the United States. The Strakes, affected by the turmoil the Church has been through in recent years, were delighted to learn that the College is preparing strong and grounded priests who are not apologetic about their faith or about being Catholic. During their visits to the College, George and Annette found a place where bright, enthusiastic men nurture their connection to the faith and develop a deeper appreciation for their vocation and that the Lord has chosen them. George firmly believes that "the seminarians from the North American College are the future of the Catholic Church in the United States." This is why they continue to support the College and, most recently, the Vision For The Future Campaign. In addition to their personal support, in November 2006, George and Annette graciously hosted a Campaign reception at their home in Houston, Texas, to introduce the College and its mission to their wide circle of friends. Over 50 people attended and were moved by George's heartfelt words about the significance of the College in his life and the life of the Church. During those closing remarks, George said, "I don't think there is a donation dollar that will make as much of an effect anywhere as it will at the North American College."

36 Pontifical North American College



Jim & Miriam Mulva

Terry & Barbara Caster

Donald & Darlene Shiley

PATRONS Anonymous (2) Most Rev. Samuel Aquila Kathryn Colachis Dan & Kathleen Denihan James & Dorothy De Nike Archdiocese of Denver L.B. & Bonnie Eckelcamp Mike & Karen Farguson

Deacon James & Dorothy Hamilton Frances Hardart Thomas & Dorothy Leavey Foundation Paul & Susan Meng Colin & Jocelyn O’Brien Pascucci Family Foundation Archdiocese of Milwaukee Support Foundation Asa Whitehead

Thanks to our generous benefactors who support the Pontifical North American College and have helped us to raise $25 million during our Vision for the Future Capital Campaign!

SUMMER 2 0 0 7


The Class of ‘07 enjoys a humorous moment as their class photos are taken.

The Pontifical

North American College 3211 Fourth Street, Northeast Washington DC 20017-1194 For more information about the North American College, or to learn about opportunities for memorial gifts, contact Mary DiDonato at our Washington, DC, Office of Development: Tel: (202) 541-5411 / Fax: (202) 722-8804 Email: or visit our website at


NAC Magazine: Summer 2007

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