"[The] community of the School of Theology and Seminary - and the privilege of being part of it."
When I talk about Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary, there are many things that I can - and do - brag about. I mention the privilege of studying at what has been called "the most beautiful place in American Catholicism." I mention the privilege of being in the company of the Benedictine monks whose wisdom, generosity, and spirituality pervade the entire campus. I talk about our stellar and accomplished faculty, and the privilege of learning from and working with people who are, or who are becoming, leaders in their fields.
But what I usually mention first is the community of the School of Theology and Seminary - and the privilege of being part of it. It is a community of people old and young, married, single, and religious, who hail from around the country - and around the world. It is a community of people who have worked in fields as diverse as construction, health care, politics, and accounting. It is the kind of community which gathers in the hallways in the evenings to talk over topics such as the Cross of Christ, or Eucharist, or something you just noticed in the gospel of Mark. It is the kind of community that gathers regularly to cook for one another, enjoys each other's company, and takes care of one another. It is a community that gathers in prayer, humbly coming before God and striving always to be mindful of the people we are called to serve. It's not perfect, by any means, but it is in many ways a good model.
You'll notice that I used the word "privilege" multiple times. It truly is a privilege - and an awesome gift - to be able to be here. We have diverse backgrounds, but few of us have the resources to be able to study here on our own. I, for one, was working as a parish musician, and while I felt rich to be doing work I loved, I could never have afforded to come here on my own. Your support as donors makes this community possible.
But, this community does not exist just for its own sake. This community is a transient one. It exists largely so that many of us will be able to better serve you, the larger Church, and the world. Your support for the School today is an investment in your teachers, church musicians, pastors, and chaplains, now and in the years to come.
This community, of which I feel privileged to be part, is constantly growing - I hope a member of it can help you or your loved ones soon. Thank you again for making this experience possible.
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