Welcome from the President-RectorRev. Mark A. Latcovich, Ph.D.
This year I have chosen the theme, “Receive the Joy of the Gospel” as a focus for the seminary and our theological learning community. As we open our doors this fall for the 166th time, I cannot help but think about the definitive outcome all of us are called to embrace as students and faculty here at the seminary based on a challenge given to us in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangeii Gaudium (2014). As a community engaged in theological study and formation, we should–in an intentional way–become true “hearers” of the Word! If we are called to be stewards of the Word of God and heralds for the New Evangelization, then our focus and task this year should be to allow the Word to be received into our minds and hearts. How do we accomplish this task?
First as a hearer of the word, we listen as disciples to what Christ the Teacher is calling us to hear. Christ speaks his word of life to us in the silence and activity of our daily routine. It may be a text from our scripture reading that stirs and convicts us. We may hear God’s gentle voice from a reading proclaimed at a daily or Sunday Eucharist that a preacher has underscored. Even the words we exchange and share in our daily public and private encounters may offer us exactly words we really need to hear. The next step on our part is to act; this response is the second step!
After we receive God’s word, we act by placing our trust in the message we have heard. We may need to share that with our spiritual director or formation advisor. The word we have received may demand that it become the primary focus of what guides our reading in a specific area of theology; it may be the germinal thought for our writing. In every case, our action that is guided by our reception creates a credible mark within our seminary community because it has in some way transformed our own lives first.
When we receive the joy of the gospel and incorporate that message into our lives, we authenticate that joy through our personal witness as we live the Gospel of Christ. When we allow the gospel and its joy to illuminate our lives, we inspire others. When we inspire others, we give what we have received in a profound way so as to “live a life worthy of the calling received with perfect humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another lovingly (Eph 4:2).”
Rev. Mark A. Latcovich, Ph.D.