Saltof Earth - Saint Francis de Sales Seminary

A Saint Francis de Sales Seminary Communication Summer 2020 4 Meet the Ordinandi 6 Chalice Choices 8 Chronicle of a Quarantine The ordination class of 2020 is eager to bring the sacraments to the people of God. PRIESTS FOR OUR TIMES Ready to Serve a World in Need S Salt alt Earth Earth of the

Transcript of Saltof Earth - Saint Francis de Sales Seminary

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A Saint Francis de Sales Seminary Communication Summer 2020

4 Meet the Ordinandi 6 Chalice Choices 8 Chronicle of a Quarantine

The ordination class of 2020 is eager to bring the sacraments to the people of God.

PRIESTS FOR OUR TIMESReady to Serve a World in Need



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Dear Friends,

W elcome to our newly enhanced Salt of the Earth newsletter! We

are delighted to have added extra pages, so that we can share our story with you more completely. I must admit though, as we redesigned the newsletter several months ago, we had no idea then what the story of 2020 was about to become.

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic required critical decisions to be made. Perhaps most significant was our choice to invite our seminarians to remain at the Salesianum, if they wished. While most seminaries closed and sent their men home, we set up a quarantine community of 30 seminarians and eight priests. We followed a two-week period of social distancing upon lockdown, and then the men were able to move about our campus freely.

Because the seminary staff followed safer-at-home restrictions, our seminarians took over the cooking, cleaning and general upkeep of the building, while maintaining their studies. The men continued to meet with formation advisors and spiritual directors, and they carried on the


Seminarians remove the tabernacle from the chapel in Clare Hall before the building is temporarily turned over to the county.

Fr. John speaks at the diaconate ordination.

Clare Hall

A Word from Our RectorLiving in community during the pandemic brought deeper fraternity to the Salesianum.

liturgical life of the Seminary with an extra fervor to pray for our world. One particularly grace-filled consequence of the quarantine was being able to celebrate Holy Week, Easter and a diaconate ordination together. It had been decades since those sacred liturgies were offered in Christ King Chapel.

The pandemic also presented us with a unique opportunity to serve the Milwaukee community in a corporal act of mercy. It was our privilege to offer Clare Hall to the Milwaukee County Health Department for temporary shelter for the homeless during the outbreak. The empty building on the west end of our campus had just recently been vacated by the Sisters of St. Francis of

Assisi. I have been told that vulnerable lives were saved because of the arrangement.

These challenging times have made us ever more grateful for your enduring support that allowed us to continue formation during such a historic crisis. Thank you for your faithfulness to our mission. Please know of my daily prayers for your health and well-being.

Grace and peace,

Father John Hemsing, Rector

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T he pandemic could not stop Milwaukee’s four ordinandi, who joined a sparse procession into an almost empty Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on May 16. There

was a sadness that so many family and friends could not be present, but the joy of the men who had been called by Jesus Christ to be his priests triumphed over all. The radiant faces of Fr. Carlos Londono, Fr. Patrick Magnor, Fr. Edward Sanchez and Fr. Justin Weber witnessed to the truth that God’s grace is enough.

Links to more photographs and a video of the ordination are at

The summer ordinations in La Crosse, Madison and Superior will be featured in our next newsletter.


An Extraordinary OrdinationThe starkness of Milwaukee’s priestly ordination highlighted the beauty and sacredness of Holy Orders.

From left to right: Fr. Justin Weber, Fr. Patrick Magnor, Fr. John Hemsing, Archbishop Listecki, Fr. Luke Strand, Fr. Carlos Londono and Fr. Edward Sanchez revel in the gift of the priesthood.

The men lie prostrate while the socially-distanced crowd prays for them.

The elated new priests beam with joy.Archbishop Jerome Listecki proclaims the Prayer of Ordination.

A Word from Our Rector

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Meet Your New PriestsThis is what their brother seminarians have to say about them.


Fr. Michael Johnson (Madison)• Fr. Michael has great compassion when listening to a hurting soul.• He makes a sincere effort to ask people about things they care about.• Rev. Dr. Johnson is a man of quick wit and amazing intellect! He’s also a published author. Ask him

about his book “Mission Control!”• I always look to him for advice and support. He has a sympathetic ear.• Fr. Michael should probably clean his room.• He is very dedicated to the Church and seeks the greater holiness of those he serves.• “God, Family, Texas A&M Aggies”

Fr. Carlos Londono (Milwaukee)• Fr. Carlos is one of the most generous people I have ever met. He is always willing to share his time

and talents.• Fr. Carlos is a man of profound prayer and sincerity.• His mastery of American slang like “dude,” “bro” and “youbetcha” has been a huge highlight of our

time together in seminary. • If there is a group doing work of any kind, Fr. Carlos will probably appear to ask, “Can I help?”• Fraternity is big with him, but the poor guy always seems to lose his money in Monopoly.• Fr. Carlos is musically gifted with a lovely voice, and he’s a wonderful organist.• He has a big heart and is SO excited to finally be a priest!

Fr. Patrick Magnor (Milwaukee)• Fr. Patrick is a man of great integrity and a servant.• He cares deeply about everything he does. He is an insightful and critical thinker.• You never know what Fr. Patrick is up to! He’s a prankster with unique Photoshop skills.• His loving concern will make him a great priest who challenges you to grow closer to Christ.• Fr. Patrick is hands down the funniest.• The phrase “These hands are made for chalices not calluses” does not apply to him. He enjoys

working as a welder!• Fr. Patrick models a natural way to encounter others with both gentleness and humor. Families will

love having him over to visit.

Fr. Edward Sanchez (Milwaukee)• Fr. Edward is a great leader. He works hard and maintains a positive spirit.• He loves to think and engage in good intellectual (especially mathematical) questions.• My first encounter with him was during a scavenger hunt around town. I learned every Milwaukee

driving habit and trick that night. I’ve never beat more yellow lights.• Fr. Edward is a very humble person. He is incredibly gifted but always uses his gifts for the good of others.• Fr. Edward actively took on the task and privilege of being a spiritual father to many in the house.• Fr. Edward’s intellectual honesty makes him an articulate speaker in discussing matters of faith and morals.• Although the baseline, mid-range jump shot has gone out of fashion in the NBA, the shot has been alive

and well in Miller Gym due to Fr. Edward’s near-automatic accuracy from that spot.

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Meet Your New PriestsThis is what their brother seminarians have to say about them.


Fr. Levi Schmitt (La Crosse)• Fr. Levi is focused on whatever task is before him and works for the glorification of God.• He is a frequent figure late at night in the chapel in front of the Blessed Sacrament.• I don’t know if it is coincidence or fate that a guy named Levi wears jeans and cowboy boots so

much.• He once sent a survey about getting a Seminary therapy pig. In truth, I think that he wanted really

fresh bacon for breakfast, which is therapy in itself.• Fr. Levi is a pleasure to be with. He’s confident, concise and funny.• His dedication to learning as much as possible in order to better serve his future parishioners

shows his love.• If you’ve never heard “The Terminator” movies mentioned in a homily, buckle up!

Fr. Joseph Stefancin (Superior)• Fr. Joe is the friend everyone wants in life! He is fiercely loyal and always willing to talk.• Fr. Joe is a tremendous model of perseverance. He faced many challenges that us “younger

guys” didn’t, yet his faith and trust in God brought him to ordination.• He was the best president of the student council that the Seminary has ever had!• Fr. Joe is a storyteller. I never stopped in his room unless I had at least 30 minutes to spare.• Being a deacon for over 20 years, Fr. Joe was able to really instill in the house a sense of service

to others that only a deacon of several decades could.• His last house job was to be “The Wise One.” Maybe the title should have been “Wise Guy.”• Fr. Joe stepped up during quarantine and really took a leadership role. The Church in Superior

is blessed to have him.

Fr. Justin Weber (Milwaukee)• Fr. Justin is one of the most respected men by all of the classes at the North American College in

Rome.• He has a servant heart and leads by example.• Fr. Justin’s parishioners will have a weatherman, long-distance runner and lover of all things

German.• He is the model gentleman – extremely thoughtful, kind and considerate. He is a man of grace.• Fr. Justin’s modus operandi is listening.• He is a man of consistent generosity, stability and kindness.• Fr. Justin makes you feel like you are special.

Fr. Daniel Williams (La Crosse)• Fr. Daniel is a wonderful man who loves God, the Church, others and the priesthood. • He has a heart for evangelization, art and culture.• Fr. Daniel is the “face of fitness” at the Seminary. It’s an important reminder that the Church

needs healthy priests!• Don’t let his neatly combed hair or his Starbucks cup fool you, Fr. Williams grew up in North

Carolina and knows how to hunt ducks, deer and turkeys.• In one word, I would describe him as “caring.”• Fr. Daniel is able to give you a clear, informative, 30 second update of any political news you care

to know.• Daniel. Rexford. Williams. The Third. Best name in seminary. Period.

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Cups of Blessing


The eight men in this year’s ordination class shared their stories about the purchase of their first chalice that they will use while offering Mass. | By Dan Tracy (Superior)

Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Fr. Carlos LondonoMy chalice belonged to Fr. Frank Sanfelippo, a priest of the archdiocese. Parishioners from Queen of Apostles parish in Pewaukee financed the purchase. It has become a tradition for some of the men ordained priests to inherit a chalice from a deceased priest. As we were looking at chalices, one of my classmates pointed one out to me and said: “Carlos! I bet you would like this one!” Indeed, I liked the chalice, and I decided to take it with me. The central aspects of our faith have been inherited, received. As I celebrate the Mass, it will be important for me to keep in mind that both the priesthood and the chalice I have received are gifts.

Fr. Patrick MagnorMy chalice is used, dating back to 1939. My parents and siblings gifted the chalice to me. I chose the chalice for its gothic design and Celtic decorative features. An emerald cross is on the base and a Celtic pattern surrounds the lower edge. I

wanted a chalice that reflects my Irish heritage. The diamonds from my late grandmother’s wedding ring are placed in the emerald cross to honor my family. I want to acknowledge all the sacrifices they have made for me as I offer the Mass. It is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase and each chalice has a unique style and accompanying history. I took my time finding this one and I am proud to own it and carry on its legacy.

Fr. Edward SanchezMy parents bought this chalice for me from a priest of the archdiocese. This chalice has an Irish cross in it, which is significant because of my mom’s Irish heritage. It was made by Molina, a Spanish company which reflects my dad's Spanish heritage. It meant a lot to receive it from my family who have been really generous my entire life. To know that this chalice will be used for my first Mass, and hopefully for many more Masses is amazing to think about. Also, when I offer Mass with a deacon (maybe one day with my brother Tim, a seminarian), he will hold this chalice during the doxology. It is a beautiful moment to look forward to.

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Fr. Justin WeberI acquired my chalice from the archdiocese. The chalice was restored through the financial contribution of an anonymous donor whose fidelity is truly inspiring. I desired a chalice whose beauty would draw people into the profound mystery of the Eucharist. The chalice is beautiful yet simple. When he died, the former owner Fr. Gerald Hauser and his classmate were the longest serving priests in the archdiocese, each tallying 69 years of priestly ministry. His home parish was St. John's in Rubicon, which is near my home parish of St. Kilian in Hartford, and he was assigned as an assistant at St. Kilian in 1945. These connections have increased my excitement to celebrate Mass with this chalice I inherited from him.

Diocese of Madison

Fr. Michael JohnsonI began looking for a chalice a couple of years ago. I came across a website for a warehouse in Pittsburgh that sells used church goods for good prices, so when I drove out to Philadelphia for a friend's ordination, I figured it was the perfect time. I was looking for something somewhat specific: images of the archangels. Michael, for my name; Raphael, for the patron of the Diocese of Madison; and Gabriel, for the Annunciation (my dad's birthday and the Annunciation window in the Basilica of St. Josaphat is in memory of my great-grandmother). I was able to purchase it and later have it replated at Stemper's through the generosity of my parents and a benefactor at my teaching parish.

Diocese of Superior

Fr. Joseph StefancinThis chalice was purchased by my mom and given to me on behalf of our family: her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and my dad who died in 1979. I chose this

one because it is a miracle cup. The center has two miracles: the Wedding in Cana and the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. This journey for me has been nothing short of a miracle. I am in awe that God has made these gifts possible for me to use as a priest. What a humbling privilege it will be to say the Mass and to receive our Lord’s Body and Blood in these vessels. I am very grateful to my family and to my extended parish family for making these gifts possible.

Diocese of La Crosse

Fr. Daniel WilliamsMy chalice belonged to the pastor in Stanley, Wisconsin, where my home parish is based. My parish is gifting me the chalice, which has been replated and engraved with my name and ordination date. My home parish has shown me great love and support throughout seminary. My pastor, Fr. William Felix, asked me to choose a chalice from the excess chalices the parish had and this one stood out to me. That it belonged to one of the early pastors in the Chippewa Valley makes my connection to this area even stronger. Having this chalice is very meaningful because wherever I may be in the Diocese of La Crosse, I will always have some connection back to my home parish.

Fr. Levi SchmittTwo years ago, some of my classmates were already making plans for their chalices. I've never been much of a "things-guy," so, I prayed to the Lord: “If you want me to get a chalice, you make it happen. I am not putting much more thought into it.” On my last trip to Milwaukee in May, I went to Stemper’s and found a chalice in my price range. It is a sterling gold chalice, crafted in Spain featuring three silver medallions: the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus. The latter medallion sealed the deal for me. Saint Joseph has been coming up often in my prayer and reflection in the last year.

Fr. Michael Johnson Fr. Joseph Stefancin Fr. Daniel Williams Fr. Levi Schmitt

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During my four years at the Seminary, I have learned that many people find the life of a seminarian to be somewhat mysterious. With self-isolation, the aura

of mystery that surrounds us has only seemed to increase. So, allow me to raise the curtain on seminary life and give a brief glimpse of our lives over the past few months.

It is of vital importance that the seminarian’s life revolves around prayer. For this reason, we have maintained daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and Evening Prayer as a seminary community during this time of quarantine. Not only does community prayer nourish the soul of the seminarian, but it also gave us an opportunity to pray for the people of God. Indeed, I felt that during this time the seminarians had a special role to play in offering prayers for those who could not attend Mass and receive the sacraments. Since we could not be physically present to the people of God, we needed to be spiritually present. I hope that all the supporters of the Seminary know that they were continually kept in our prayers. We love the people of God and we desire to serve them in any way that we are able. I should also point out, for those who are health conscious, that we did have to make a few adjustments to how we carried out our community prayer. For example, it is normally the custom that seminarians are only permitted to sit in the front half of the chapel. However, due to social distancing, we were permitted to sit anywhere in the chapel in order to remain six feet apart. I enjoyed this because it meant that I could sit in the very back row of the chapel. As everyone knows, the best Catholics sit in the back row.

Along with prayer, we also needed to have activities to keep us from going insane or becoming frustrated with one another's presence. For this reason, Kevin Durand and I designed an 18-hole mini-golf course. The course began in the dome and winded through the hallowed halls and majestic staircases of the seminary building. At the inaugural ‘Saint Francis de Sales Mini-Golf Invitational,’ the team of Joseph Heit and Brady Gagne took home the flannel jacket by shooting an amazing seven under par. Furthermore, we successfully replaced all of the carpet divots before the rector was able to discover them.

Besides prayer and fun, we also engaged in a fair amount of work. For the safety of the community and those who work at the Seminary, the support staff did not come in for over two months. This meant that the seminarians had to cook their own food and do various other jobs to keep this five-story building running. I was amazed at how the

Holy Week liturgies provide a particularly sacred opportunity to pray for the world.

Scenes from the Salesianum – Quarantine EditionSeminary life during the lockdown involved prayer, work and putters. | By Kevin Harmon (Milwaukee)

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seminarians were willing to contribute to the care of the community and this building. Although a priest’s hands may primarily hold chalices, that does not mean that they should not have calluses from good old fashioned hard work.

As it should be clear, formation for the priesthood never takes a break. Every day, we are called to grow in sacrificial love for the Lord and for others. Even if we are distant from the people of God, we still desire to love them and to serve them. Our daily activities always support our formation to one day be happy, healthy, and holy priests who love the Lord and his people.

Joseph Heit (Milwaukee) and Brady Gagne (Milwaukee) celebrate their mini-golf win.

Indeed, I felt that during this time the seminarians had a special role to play

in offering prayers for those who could not attend Mass and receive the sacraments.

Studies and formation continue unabated.

Tug-of-War is one event in the Olympic games organized by the seminarians.

Meals are prepared by the men themselves.

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In an early accommodation to the safer-at-

home mandate, the Milwaukee diaconate ordination was moved from the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist to the Seminary’s Christ King Chapel. Joining Michael Lawinger and Timothy Schumaker was their classmate, Michael Malucha, who had just finished a two-week quarantine after returning from studies in Rome. The simple ordination was profoundly moving for the few in attendance and the many watching online.

Links to more photographs and a video of the ordination are at

The La Crosse diaconate ordination will be included in our next newsletter.

A Christ King Ordination

There’s no place like home for three Milwaukee men who were ordained to the transitional diaconate in our chapel on April 25.

From left to right: Deacon Michael Lawinger, Fr. John Hemsing, Deacon Michael Malucha, Bishop Jeffrey Haines and Deacon Timothy Schumaker rejoice after the Mass.


The new deacons are vested for the first time.

The men prostrate themselves during the Litany of Supplication.

The men are presented for ordination.

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A Christ King OrdinationHonoring Mothers and Fathers



The Vocation Office extends support to the parents of Milwaukee’s seminarians.

For any who have attended a first Mass of Thanksgiving, you will know of a moving exchange that often occurs after Mass between the newly ordained and his parents. The

newly ordained priest offers to his mother the manutergium, a linen towel that was used to soak up the chrism oil from his hands after they have been anointed by the bishop. To his father he gives the stole worn when hearing his first confession. The tradition goes that when mother and father come before our Lord, He will say: “I have given you life. What have you given me?” And, giving the manutergium and the stole, they say “I have given you my son as a priest.”

This tradition highlights the often-unseen sacrifices that moms and dads make when a son embraces a call to the priesthood. Behind the heroic gift of self that a priest makes, lies the also heroic sacrifices of his parents. Sacrifices made throughout their son’s life which help prepare him to say “Yes” to Christ’s call, and sacrifices that follow when he does. These latter sacrifices begin when a man enters the long and often mysterious process of seminary formation.

For this reason, Fr. Luke Strand and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Vocation Office have specifically focused this year on better supporting the parents of our Milwaukee seminarians. This is done informally through daily prayer for parents and regular contact with the office. However, the office also has been more intentional with concrete events in support of parents. The first was an Advent Celebration in December for Milwaukee seminarians and their

parents hosted at St. Monica’s parish in Whitefish Bay. The evening included vespers, a cocktail reception, and dinner. The second event was a retreat for seminarian mothers in February at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary. The day included Mass, adoration, lunch, grace sharing, and talks by Fr. Luke and Fr. John Burns.

The next event for parents is currently scheduled for Sunday, August 16. Parents are invited for Mass and lunch with Archbishop Listecki at the Seminary, as a kickoff to the Milwaukee Seminarian Gathering.

Milwaukee seminarians and their parents spend time getting to know each other at the Advent Celebration.

Fr. Luke offers words of encouragement and appreciation to parents of seminarians.

Mothers of seminarians pray at Mass during the day of retreat.

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Deo Gratias: The Life of Father Solanus CaseyA new film of hope from Saint Francis de Sales Seminary and Ahava Productions

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For more information or to support the mission of Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, visit our website at us on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest news and photos.

(414) 747-6400

2020 Events

Our Annual Seminary Dinner will proceed on Friday, September 25, 2020 – one way or another! We hope to be at the Wisconsin Center, but if it is deemed too soon for a large gathering, we will host a virtual event online. We promise it will be a memorable and uplifting evening, either way! Please watch for updates in the mail or check

For the first time in 17 years, our Pallium Scholarship Benefit is taking a mulligan. The popular golf outing and dinner auction was canceled out of concern for our guests’ health and safety. Plans are already set for a do-over on Monday, July 26, 2021, so keep swinging away until then!

DEO GRATIAS tells the story of faith, hope and love as it artfully portrays the life of Wisconsin-born Blessed Solanus Casey, a

humble priest who studied at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary and is now on the path to sainthood. The 28-minute film is narrated by Cardinal James Harvey and includes scenes of our seminarians at Solanus’ 2017 beatification Mass. The superb film can be seen at Enjoy it and share it today!