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Vatican Archbishop Jorge Patron Wong visits San Antonio

January 21, 2015 | posted by Praveen Lakkisetti

Topics: Vocations

Vatican Archbishop Jorge Patron Wong visits San Antonio

The spring semester at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio began with the visit of Archbishop Jorge C. Patron Wong, Vatican Secretary of Seminaries and Congregation for Clergy, on Jan. 10.

After Christmas break, close to 100 seminarians returned on Jan. 9. Archbishop Patron Wong’s visit to the archdiocese and the seminary came in the context of St. John’s- Assumption Seminary’s yearlong Centennial Celebration, commemorating the beginning of the institution in 1915.

Archbishop Patron presided at eucharistic celebration as the seminarians began the spring semester on Jan. 10. Reflecting on the Scriptures of the day, Archbishop Patron Wong exhorted the seminarians to be rooted in humility and to be persons of truth as the true traits of a seminarian and a priest.

Commenting on the nature of formation offered at Assumption, he expressed appreciation for the efforts of the seminary and the faculty. Referring to the growth of North American vocations to the priesthood, he commended the seminarians for offering their lives to God in priesthood.

With special reference to the centennial celebrations, the archbishop recalled the efforts of the pioneers and thanked God for their heroic courage in carrying out God’s plan in this part of the United States and Texas.

Following the liturgy, Archbishop Patron Wong joined the seminary community for brunch in St. Joseph’s Hall. Father Jeff Pehl, rector of Assumption Seminary, welcomed him and presented a short biography of the archbishop.

In his address, the archbishop highlighted the seriousness of formation to priesthood with an emphasis on cultivating a human heart, a Christian heart and a pastoral heart.

Referring to the amendments made by the Vatican in the guidelinesfor priestly formation, he reiterated the focus of each stage of formation. He identified the focus of formation specifically geared towards cultivating a human heart that is capable of loving and receiving love. Mentioning the importance of a Christian heart, he highlighted personal responsibility and continuing to grow in one’s relationship to Christ during the years of formation to priesthood.

With a special emphasis on the cultivation of a pastoral heart, Archbishop Patron Wong noted the importance of the years of theological formation. While he emphasized the importance of the academic component of formation, he pointed to the necessity of assimilating theological education for the purpose of pastoral ministry.

Addressing some of the questions of the seminarians, the archbishop reiterated the importance of integrating the four pillars of formation:human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral – and giving each its due attention during formation.

Narrating the events of his life from his childhood in Morelia, Mexico, to his present ministry in the Vatican -- Secretary for the Seminaries and Clergy -- he recalled the moments of continually choosing to say a firm “yes” to the call of God. He exhorted the seminarians to be rooted in one’s vocation, as it is the will of God. He welcomed the seminarians to encounter God through personal prayer and study at every moment.

At the end of his talk, he asked to take a photograph individually with the seminarians so as to have a memory by which to pray for each of the seminarians.

On the following day, Archbishop Patron Wong celebrated the Eucharist in Spanish at St Padre Pio Parish in San Antonio. All the seminarians joined the parish community also.Celebrating the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord, the archbishop highlighted the importance of faithfully living baptismal promises.He thanked the Assumption faculty and the parish community for making his visit memorable. Earlier during the week, Archbishop Patron Wong joined the bishops of Region X (Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas) for a fraternal gathering and addressed them on issues regarding seminary formation with Pope Francis. He also had lunch and met with leaders at Oblate School of Theology as part of his visit to San Antonio.

With the beginning of the spring semester at Assumption Seminary, the theology students got into the retreat mode of prayer and reflection, while the college and pre-theology students got busy with their schoolwork.