“Beyond My Imagination”

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Newly ordained Bishop Battersby reflects on his time at Sacred Heart.

It was just over ten years ago, on Christmas Eve, that I received a call from Bishop John Quinn, auxiliary bishop of Detroit, that Cardinal Adam Maida requested that I leave my pastorate at St. Christopher Parish in Detroit to serve at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. I had loved my time at Sacred Heart as a seminarian, but I never imagined returning as a member of the faculty. Then a number of things to follow were quite beyond my imagination, as well.

One of the best parts of being on the priest faculty at Sacred Heart and a member of the formation team is that we work together as a team, drawing on each member’s talents and supplementing each member’s areas needing refinement. This is the area of my service of which I am most proud. I was privileged to be part of a team that was bigger than just me; part of a team that loved Jesus and sought to prepare men for the priesthood, men who are willing to live in intimate communion with Christ and to live for Christ alone.

This, I think, is the most significant thing over the last ten years, forming the men who will serve the people of God in the twenty-first century, with a team I deeply respect and from whom I have learned much.

I followed Archbishop Michael Byrnes in the position of vice rector and dean of seminarian formation. Archbishop Byrnes, along with his team, built upon what had gone before both of us. Now I pass the baton to Fr. Stephen Burr, who will build further still.

The accomplishments that we have collectively built include a first-rate intellectual formation program, an enviable spiritual formation program for undergraduate and graduate seminarians, and a human formation program that is well integrated into pastoral formation and that continues to be developed and refined as the needs of the wider community suggest. With God’s continued good favor, we will continue to form men with a pastor’s heart, modelled after the one Good Shepherd.

Leaving Sacred Heart is exciting, though tinged with a bit of anticipatory melancholy. It has been a privilege and blessing to be part of Archbishop Vigneron’s seminary formation team, to play a part in the formation of men whose priestly ministry will touch the lives of so many souls.

The anticipatory melancholy is simply the inevitable part that comes with a change of assignment. Living with a group of people who love Jesus ardently is a rare privilege and I will miss it. I hope to bring that same ardent love I learned at Sacred Heart into my new assignment.

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Bishop Gerard Battersby

Bishop Gerard W. Battersby (college 1994, theology 1998, STL 2009) served as vice rector of the seminary from 2011 to 2016. He was ordained auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit on January 25.

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