The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows. (Sacrosanctum Concilium #10) Priestly identity and ministry flow from the Eucharist. In the sacrifice of the Mass, priests act in a special way in the person of Christ, Who gave Himself as a victim to sanctify others. Priests are invited to imitate what they handle (Presbyterorum Ordinis # 13). Each seminarian should seek to deepen this reality in his own life. The daily celebration of the Eucharist is essential. It is this sacramental celebration of Christ’s presence in the midst of the Christian community that the priest is called to bring and make present each day for the People of God.
The Liturgy of the Hours
The Liturgy of the Hours is central to our communal prayer at St. Mary’s. We celebrate Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers) in common. Each seminarian is expected to join the community for both of these and is encouraged to pray the other Hours (Office of the Readings, Midday Prayer and Compline) as well. By the time a seminarian is accepted for Candidacy (in Third Theology), he should have acquired the four volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours and be in the habit of praying all five Hours each day.
The centrality of the Eucharist should be apparent not only in the worthy celebration of the Sacrifice, but also in the proper adoration of the Sacrament. A special time of Eucharistic adoration could be during the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, which constitutes a true prolongation, during the day, of the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving which has the Holy Mass as its sacramental centre and source. (Congregation for the Clergy, Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests, #50). Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction are a weekly part of the community devotion at St. Mary’s. During the yearly seminarians’ retreat there is all night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The last Day of Recollection is devoted to all night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as prayer for the deacons who are to be ordained to the priesthood that year. A way to deepen the Paschal Mystery in a person’s own life and to grow in intimate relationship with Christ is through regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament (Eucharisticum Mysterium, n.49, 50). Each seminarian is strongly encouraged to develop the practice of visiting the Lord in the Eucharist outside of the Liturgy of the Eucharist
Sacrament of Penance
Those who are preparing to be priests should regularly avail themselves of the sacrament of Penance. Confessions are heard throughout the week in the chapel. Monthly or bi-monthly reception of this sacrament is recommended. Each seminarian is asked to discuss the practice of confession with his spiritual director and make the reception of the grace of forgiveness a means for his spiritual development. Frequent confession is not a mere ritualistic repetition nor some kind of psychological exercise, but it is the careful work of perfecting the grace of Baptism so that while we carry in our bodies the death of Jesus Christ, we allow the life of Jesus more and more to be manifested in us (Rite of Penance, Introduction, n.7). A communal Penance service is offered each semester, at which each seminarian attends. Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick and Communion for the Sick
When requested by a seminarian who is to undergo an operation or to be hospitalized, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick may be administered and celebrated in the Community Chapel at a Mass or in private. If a seminarian is sick he should advise his Formation Director, directly or through a fellow seminarian of his desire to receive Communion. The person responsible (Deacon or Eucharistic Minister) is to receive the consecrated host at Communion time in a pyx to bring to the sick seminarian.