Seminarians attend a spiritual boot camp in Nebraska

Seminarians attend a spiritual boot camp in Nebraska

seminarians-webPeter Logue and Anthony Infanti, seminarians for the Diocese of Camden, have spent most of the summer at the Institute for Priestly Formation on the Creighton University campus in Omaha. The program is designed to cultivate “a deep interior communion with Christ.”

Some 1,200 miles away from Camden, two young seminarians are studying in Omaha, Neb., hoping to bring back what they have learned to the Camden Diocese and, as future priests, minister effectively to the faithful.

Anthony Infanti, 25, and Peter Logue, 34, have spent the past 10 weeks at the Institute for Priestly Formation on the Creighton University campus in Omaha. Focusing on the teaching of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the program’s mission is to foster the spiritual formation of seminarians and priests. The formation cultivates “a deep interior communion with Christ,” as the mission states.

During these past weeks, Infanti and Logue’s requirements have included four courses, with two hours of class a day; daily prayer; weekly spiritual direction; one hour of personal prayer each day; an eight-day silent retreat; and apostolic ministry, two days a week for six weeks; and lodging in one-bedroom dorm rooms at Creighton.

The four courses are Christian Prayer and Virtue; Christian Spirituality and Sexuality; Spirituality of Diocesan Priesthood; and Mystery of the Liturgy: Receiving in Celebration and in Life.

Infanti, from Gloucester Township, has been in the seminary for seven years, studying for four years at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pa., and beginning his third year at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.

Calling his experience “overwhelmingly fulfilling,” Infanti has met seminarians from dioceses all across the country, from Kansas City and Dallas to Los Angeles and Knoxville, Tenn. “There’s a great sense of unity, brotherhood that is unique,” he said.

In his apostolic work, Infanti, along with nine other seminarians, went twice a week to Holy Cross Parish in Omaha. Working as pastoral assistants, their ministry included teaching baptism and confirmation prep classes; visiting the home-bound and those at nursing homes; and organizing the church festival.

Flying back to Philadelphia this week, Infanti is glad to be home, but has enjoyed his time in Nebraska, and knows it will only help in his journey to the priesthood, hopefully culminating in ordination in 2014.

“I am grateful to be out here,” he said. “I have a stronger spiritual understanding of how the Holy Spirit works.”

Logue, from Absecon, entered the seminary three years ago. He is beginning theological studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary, South Orange, N.J., this fall.

The program in Nebraska is “heavy on cultivating a relationship with God, getting to the core of priestly identity,” he said.

It’s a spiritual boot camp.”

His favorite course is “The Spirituality of Diocesan Priesthood,” which elaborates on five core themes a diocesan priest is called to be: a Beloved Son, Chaste Spouse, Spiritual Father, Spiritual Physician, and Shepherd.

For his apostolic work, he visits a nearby nursing home with five other seminarians, bringing companionship to the residents. In this work, he has already seen the impact he can have on others, and the impact he hopes to have as a priest in the Camden Diocese someday.

Logue recalled meeting an 85 year-old blind man named Art, and going for a walk outside with him.  Art, who couldn’t remember anyone in recent memory bringing such kindness, was “so happy, so excited,” Logue said. “It was the small things I did for him.”

Also coming back into the South Jersey area, Logue, along with Infanti, will have a few weeks to himself before going back to the seminary in September.

In his interactions with Art, with other seminarians, in his coursework, Logue has seen what the Institute of Priestly Formation can do in helping him realize the gifts he has, and use them in bringing God closer to others.

“I’m training to do the Lord’s work,” he said.

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