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Proudly Making Their Oath

by MOSAIC Editorial Team

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Celebrating the Mass of the Holy Spirit, which solemnly marks the opening of a new academic year, is an important ritual at the seminary. The entire Sacred Heart community attends the Mass and afterward shares a luncheon in common.

This longstanding custom continued on Wednesday, September 7, as seminarians, faculty members, lay staff, resident priests, and administrators joined main celebrant Msgr. Todd Lajiness, Sacred Heart's rector, in asking the Father to send down his Spirit upon the seminary and its students and to bless the endeavors of the coming year.

Within the celebration of this annual Mass, another longstanding and moving ritual takes place. After Monsignor's homily, three new faculty members approached the altar and stood before the congregation. Fr. Peter Ryan, SJ, Patricia Chase, and Michael King placed their hands on the Book of the Gospels offered to them by Monsignor and made a Profession of Faith followed by an Oath of Fidelity. The Holy See requires both pledges to be made by those who teach theology and philosophy in a seminary and teachers in any universities whatsoever who teach disciplines pertaining to faith or morals, in keeping with Canon Law 833 and the 1989 directives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Father Ryan joins the full-time faculty this year as professor of theology. He had been serving the U.S. bishops as the executive director of their Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs. Previously, he was director of spiritual formation and professor of moral theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Missouri.

The new part-time faculty members are Ms. Chase, a regional coordinator in the Office of Catechetics for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and Mr. King, director of parish evangelization for Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. Both will work together in the formation of commuter students studying for a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degree.

The Profession of Faith is an expanded version of the Nicene Creed, wherein a faculty member accepts everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals, while giving religious submission to the authority of the pope and College of Bishops. The Oath of Fidelity asks of a person assuming on office to be exercised in the name of the Church to always preserve communion with the Catholic Church and to hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety.

MOSAIC Editorial Team

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.