June 26, 2022

I am pleased to announce two wonderful opportunities for our diocese to grow in missionary discipleship and holiness.

First, those involved with the formation of seminarians of our diocese have been researching and proposing ways we can assist men in discernment and in discernment and formation for priesthood. This new initiative is being developed because of the Vatican’s request for dioceses to provide a period of time of formation called the Propaedeutic Stage, which includes intellectual, but above all, human and spiritual formation.

This stage of formation is envisioned to occur prior to a man going to the seminary so he can flourish when he does go, and it provides time for those responsible for recommending a man for the seminary to get to better know a man’s readiness and sense of his call to the priesthood.

The types of formation the Church envisions during the Propaedeutic Stage include such things as helping a man develop his prayer life, gain a foundational knowledge of Scripture and the Catechism, and provide for individualized opportunities of personal human growth. This allows them to be able to receive seminary formation more freely, fruitfully and with a clearer and more developed understanding and response to God’s vocational call.

Second, as you may recall, a few months after I was ordained bishop of our diocese, I received a spiritual inspiration in prayer to establish our diocesan vision of Lifelong Catholic Missionary Discipleship Through God’s Love. Since then, I have been inviting people throughout the diocese to discern ways they could enhance living and sharing this vision in their parishes, schools and other Catholic institutions. Several people recommended to me that I should explore inviting additional religious communities to serve in our diocese, especially those who have particular gifts and charisms to assist in Catholic missionary evangelization.

After prayer, outreach and discernment, I invited a few communities to consider serving in our diocese, and God has blessed us by sending us members of the religious community of Pro Ecclesia Sancta (PES), whose name means “for the holiness of the Church.” Their founder felt called to form a community of religious men and women to help people grow in holiness who live and work in the world.

In addition to the priests sent to serve the parishes of Holy Spirit and Holy Family in Mitchell, they also graciously offered to send two religious sisters, at least one more priest, and some men in discernment to help with some of our diocesan Office of Discipleship and Evangelization initiatives to pray for and help people in our diocese to grow in holiness.

They will also be assisting staff of Bishop O’Gorman Junior High and High Schools with the spiritual formation of students, families and staff. I will discern with PES leaders, Discipleship and Evangelization Office and Bishop O’Gorman leaders throughout the year to determine in future years how and where PES may be able to continue to help serve in our diocese.

So, I ask for your prayers and a warm welcome for our brothers and sisters from the Pro Ecclesia Sancta religious community as they can help us continue to grow in holiness, spiritually and humanly, for full flourishing in our journey to heaven together by living our Catholic faith dynamically as Lifelong Catholic Missionary Disciples Through God’s Love.

In the Love of the Lord,

+Bishop DeGrood