Name, Hometown & Home Parish, Year in seminary?
Stephen Moening, St. Kenneth Parish in Plymouth Michigan, Entering T1
What is your favorite class?
Sacred Art with Dr. Deborah Kawsky. Since I didn’t have a bachelor’s degree before entering seminary, I had to take general education classes, one of which was art. This was my favorite class because it allowed me to see what makes sacred art beautiful and to experience a plethora of beautiful architecture and pieces of art. This is a great way to see some tremendous works that artists have created to show the beauty of God.
Has the pandemic impacted the way you view the role of your vocation?
This pandemic has been extremely challenging and sad for many people, but God still is working during this time. Personally, I have been able to live with some priests during the pandemic, which has been a great grace for me. I have seen pastors get creative with how they are dealing with this pandemic, from funny videos, like those from St. Frances Cabrini in Allen Park, to ways that they can provide the sacraments to their parishioners. This pandemic has allowed me to see that we never know how our day will go as a priest, but we do know that we always do it by the grace of God. I have grown to realize that I need to become more dependent on God rather than myself.
What do you miss about being in class at the seminary?
I miss being with my brother seminarians. The fraternity that a seminarian experiences at the seminary is a great gift. In some cases, the brothers are the only reason I have made it through some of my classes! We have done our best to keep fraternity up during this time, from class Zoom meetings to one-on-one check-ins and phone calls, but it has been tough. I miss the seminary staff, too. We have a great community that is very supportive of all of us seminarians. I am greatly anticipating the day when we can fill the refectory with laughter and conversation again!
How are you practicing “spiritual closeness” during “social distancing”?
Since I have been living with priests during this time I have been able to attend daily Mass in private. This has been a great gift, one that I realize that I am lucky to have. During each Mass I pray for those who are hungry for the Eucharist and for those that do not hunger for Jesus in their lives at this time. My daily rosary has been for those that have contracted this virus and for those that are assisting them, and I’ve also been praying the Memorare daily at Archbishop Vigneron’s suggestion.Using this prayer to implore Our Blessed Mother for assistance has allowed me to feel a special connection with all of us here in the Archdiocese and especially with our Archbishop.