By Seth Gonzales
The Texas Catholic
A crowd of supporters filled the Hilton Anatole ballroom on Sept. 19 for the newly re-named Spes Gregis Dinner, in support of Holy Trinity Seminary.
It was the 11th year for the fundraiser, which featured Little Rock’s Msgr. Francis Malone as the keynote speaker. Msgr. Malone’s parish has generated attention for producing 13 vocations to the religious life in 13 years.
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell thanked those in attendance for their support of the seminary, which is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.
“The most important work in the Diocese of Dallas is the seminary because all the other activities, events, churches would be empty buildings were it not for the priests,” Bishop Farrell said. “So I always ask you to remember your priests.”
As the seminary marks its 50th year, Bishop Farrell said its facilities need to be updated and new buildings constructed to accommodate more seminarians. For the first time in years, Holy Trinity Seminary is completely full with 59 seminarians discerning for the priesthood.
Holy Trinity Seminary rector Father James Swift said he and his staff are committed to providing the diocese with holy, educated, zealous and compassionate priests, but reminded the laity that they have a role to play as well.
“Jesus Christ never fails to provide worthy ministers for his church, but we have to do our part as well,” Father Swift said.
Seminarians greeted supporters and sat with them before singing and praying with them.
Msgr. Malone congratulated the seminary and, echoing Father Swift’s call, encouraged the laity to be more pro-active in helping young people discern a call to the religious life.
“When it comes to religious vocations, it’s all about tuning our ears to the voice of God,” Msgr. Malone said. “We want our young people to be attuned to the voice of the Lord”
Msgr. Malone said that 13 years ago, his parish had no history of producing any men or women religious, despite a plethora of good pastors, deacons, and a well-developed faith formation program. It was only after the parish established perpetual adoration that things began to change, he said.
“It cannot be coincidence that 13 vocations have been produced at the same time that Eucharistic adoration began,” Msgr. Malone said.