Posts Tagged ‘seminary’


The USCCB just released a feature page on the Priesthood Ordination Class of 2008. Their list is incomplete, (for example, neither of the new Dominicans are mentioned, nor the two new priests ordained 17 May at Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Denver), but it is interesting to look at who our new priests are.

One intriguing article in the USCCB collection is a list of quotes from the new ordinands. The whole list is a MS-Word doc (link below). After reading the article, I picked out a few interesting tidbits about these new priests:

People might be surprised to know that I…

Did not like to go to Mass as an adolescent because I found it boring.

Was always interested in the priesthood, but took a circuitous route by becoming a Low Vision Specialist in Optometry first.

As a small child I played Mass everyday with all the neighborhood kids yet often times I was the only Catholic who was present.

Was a marching band director and a driving instructor.

Played college football and was a quarterback.

Love to perform magic and juggling, and have been doing magic and juggling since I was 7 years old.

Have an identical twin who is an Anglican minister.

Served in the 3rd Infantry Division, Alpha Company 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry.

Was a restless kid, very active in sports, always had a girlfriend, and didn’t consider the priesthood as a possibility for me until about a year before entering the seminary.

Was an underground diocesan seminarian for 7 years in Vietnam before I came to the U.S.

Served as a Naval Officer and helicopter pilot for ten years before entering the seminary.

Have a lifelong goal of backpacking the entire Appalachian Trail.

Attribute my vocation to many years serving at the altar in my home parish.

Congratulations to the Class of 2008!


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This past weekend, the Bettingers made a flying trip out to St. Louis. On Pentecost, our good friend, former coworker and Peet’s godfather Kevin Stephens was ordained a priest of the Order of Friars Preachers (Ordo Praedicatorum) a.k.a. the Dominicans. Readers might have noticed many recent Dominican reference on this blog.

The Dominicans were founded in the 13th Century by St. Dominic Guzman. Their mission is expressed in their motto Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare, meaning “To praise, to bless and to preach.” As Wikipedia says, “Their identification as Dominicans gave rise to the pun that they were the Domini canes, or Hounds of the Lord. The reference to “hounds” draws on the tradition that St. Dominic’s mother, while pregnant with him, had a vision of a black and white dog with a torch in its mouth; wherever the dog went, it set fire to the earth. It was explained that the vision was fulfilled when Dominic and his followers went forth, clad in black and white, setting fire to the earth with the Gospel.”

The ordination was held at St. Francis Xavier College Church, which sits on the corner of the St. Louis University campus. St. Francis is a beautiful, hundred year old church in the Gothic revival style.

Conveniently, the church is around the corner from the Dominican’s house of study, the Aquinas Institute of Theology, and across the street from the building housing St. Dominic’s Priory. (Yes, SLU is a Jesuit school. The Dominicans have been sharing space with them for years.) Aquinas Institute is the seminary for all brothers of the Central Dominican Province of Albert the Great.

This was our first ordination, and we were struck by the solemn beauty of the rite. Above, the two candidates lie prostrate before the altar as the schola chanted the Litany of Supplication.

After the ceremony, the principals gathered in front of the church. From left to right: Father Simon Felix Micahlski, O.P., The Most Reverend Thomas Cajetan Kelly, O.P. Archbishop Emeritus of Louisville, Kentucky, Father Kevin John Henry Newman Stephens, O.P. and Father Michael A. Mascari, O.P., Prior Provincial.

(Trivia: In his retirement, Archbishop Kelly is in residence at Holy Trinity Parish in Louisville, Kentucky.)

The newly ordained was mobbed by Bettingers after his reception. The good Father’s godson was hoisted out of the way of trouble. We wish Father Kevin the best in his new life.

A special thanks to Br. Joseph M. Minuth, O.P. for his great images of the ceremony. See the full set of Brother Joseph’s images on his Ordination of Brothers Kevin and Simon page on Picasa.

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But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what HAVE the Romans ever done for us?

Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Romanesque is the “Roman style” of architecture. Heavily influenced by the building technology of the time, Romanesque style features straight lines, long narrow naves, massive thick walls, round arches and small windows. This style evolved in the 7th century from the Roman basilica style with influences from the Carolingian style (Charlemagne) and became the pattern for churches and monestaries across Europe.

Defining features include the circular “Roman” arch, as compared to the pointed arch of the Gothic style. This arch often carried over to the ceiling, producing a barrel vault. Romanesque tends to have the height of the apex of the roof closer to the height of the walls, producing a flatter roof line. Look for pointed roofs on towers and lanterns, not domes.

The Arch

When someone says the word “arch”, the Roman arch is the shape most people think about. The Roman arch is semicircular, and built from an odd number of arch stones. The middle stone, the keystone, makes it work. This arch is found on the Flavian Amphitheatre (a.k.a the Roman Colosseum), the aqueducts in Tarragona, Spain and Pont du Gard, France, and later in the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The Church

One stunning example of Romanesque architecture is the Church of St. Ambrose (Sant Ambrosio) in Milan. Founded in 386 by St. Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan, it was renovated in the 10th and 11th centuries.

The Elevation/Cross Section of the Nave

Sant\'Ambrosio Cross Section

The Floorplan

Typical of many Romanesque churches, the nave is the primary architectural feature. Note the lack of transepts. The 9th Century Plan of St. Gall, one of the oldest plans in existence, also shows a similar layout in the church. Sant’Ambrosio has these features:

A. Facade, which wasn’t finished until the 1800s. The Milanese like to take time building their churches.
B. Atrium or forecourt with colonades (note the Roman arches). Old St. Peter’s in Rome had a similar atrium.
C. Portico with a double loggia (two galleries) of Roman Arches
D. North Bell tower Torre dei Canonici (“of the Canons”) built in 1144, the last two floors added in 1889
E. South bell tower Torre dei Monaci (“of the Monks”) built in the 9th century
F. Nave. Note the symmetry – each of square in the nave is equal to four of the squares of the aisles.
G. The gilded main altar, which sits under a 9th century cyborium. The windows in the octagonal tower over the altar provide most of the light in the building.
H. Apse, containing a 13th Century mosaic portraying Christ Pantokrator.

For More Information

Other examples of Romanesque:

Royce Hall, University of California Los Angeles (technically, Romanesque Revival style, modeled on Sant Ambrogio):

St. Aloysius, Olivia, Minnesota (more here):

St. John Vianney Seminary, Denver:

Exterior SJV

Denver South High School, near Washington Park:

Denver South High School

The Romanesque style continued for centuries. Some Romanesque buildings are contemporaries of structures built in the later Gothic style.

For More Information on Romanesque Architecture

UPDATE: More Architecture 101 here:

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Our Lady of New Life by Humberto Maestas of San Luis Colorado
Bronze Sculpture
St. John Vianney Seminary, Denver, Colorado
Photograph by Allan Eckert

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