Welcome to the Class of 2019
On Wednesday, August 19, the newest class of seminarians at the North American College arrived for Orientation. The seventy-two men hail from across the United States and around the globe, from Madison and St. Augustine to Melbourne and Sydney. This year’s Orientation introduced the New Men to some of the things that make the College special: its proximity to the St. Peter’s and the Vatican; its close relationship with the Holy Father; and the many College traditions passed down through generations of priests and seminarians since 1859.
The first full day of Orientation, Thursday, August 20, brought the New Men to the Rock upon which the Church is founded: the Tomb of the Apostle Peter. The day began with 7:15 a.m. Mass celebrated in the Grottoes of St. Peter’s Basilica. The liturgy was celebrated by the Rector, Msgr. James Checchio.
On Sunday, August 23, the Class of 2019 met the Holy Father as they gathered in St. Peter’s Square for Pope Francis’ Angelus address and blessing. Afterward, they ventured out into the countryside, where they were treated to an extraordinary tour of the private gardens at the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo. Their tour guide was none other than His Eminence, James Cardinal Harvey C’75. Bishop Kevin Vann C’85, ICTE ’99 and the College faculty also joined the excursion. The group enjoyed lunch overlooking Lake Albano.
Finally, the new seminarians’ connection to tradition was emphasized as the New Men received images of Our Lady of Humility, blessed by College spiritual director Fr. Brendan Hurley, S.J. That image is the same one that graces the chapel in the original home of the College on Via dell’Umiltà — “Humility Street.” Orientation then concluded on August 27 with a banquet al fresco, which was enlivened by the presence of His Eminence, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick.
Including the newest class of 72, in the 2015–2016 year the College will welcome 70 priests at its Institute for Continuing Theological Education (ICTE), host 78 student priests at the Casa Santa Maria, and house 252 priests and seminarians at its main campus on the Janiculum Hill.