A sellout crowd of nearly 1,000 people crowded into the ballroom at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights on March 26 for the 39th annual Bishop’s Seminary Brunch. The event raised more than $150,000 to support both the seminarians and the diocesan seminaries – Borromeo (college seminary) and Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology.
Evelyn Allen, who chaired the event for the past five years, was honored for her contributions.
“Due to my many years on the Borromeo Board and now the Bishop’s Seminary Brunch, I have been blessed with a very unique view of the priestly formation process. I have seen first-year Borromeo students grow and mature into young men fully prepared to lead the parishes of our diocese into the next generation and beyond,” Allen said.
(See photo gallery above.)
“Welcome to my intimate living room,” Bishop Edward Malesic quipped as he scanned the room. He expressed his deep gratitude to the brunch committee, for those who have supported the seminaries and seminarians for the past 39 years, to the seminary leadership, faculty and staff and to the men in formation at both seminaries.
“It is truly a joy to see this huge gathering of deeply faithful people. You lift me up, just as you lift up the seminarians who are here today,” the bishop said.
He expressed his gratitude to Father Mark Latcovich, who has served as president/rector of the seminaries for the past 11 years. He also has been a seminary professor for 30 years. Effective July 1, Father Latcovich will become pastor of St. Ladislas Parish in Westlake.
Father Andrew Turner, vice rector of Borromeo and director of field education for Saint Mary Seminary, will replace Father Latcovich as president/rector of both institutions on July 1. For the next few months, they will work together for a smooth transition.
The bishop also offered his appreciation to Father Michael McCandless who served as vocation director until January, when he was named pastor of Holy Family Parish in Stow. Father Eric Garris, who also is pursuing a doctorate in preaching, is the new vocation director.
Earlier in the month, 70 members of the seminary community traveled to Rome for a weeklong pilgrimage highlighted by a private audience with Pope Francis. Brunch attendees saw a video clip of the audience and some photos.
“I can’t adequately share with you the deep joy and awe felt by our entire group as the pope walked into the room. We gave him a standing ovation. After his remarks to us, the Holy Father then took time to personally greet every member of our seminary delegation. How cool is that?” he asked.
He said the pope thanked God for the number of priests formed by the seminary during its 175-year history. “He also noted it continues that mission by ‘responding to present-day needs by educating and training deacons and lay ministers to assist God’s holy people in living their call to be missionary disciples,’” the bishop added.
In addition to preparing men from the Cleveland Diocese for the priesthood, Bishop Malesic said they form men from the Diocese of Youngstown and a few each year from the Archdiocese of Daegu, South Korea as well as men associated with the Capuchins of the St. Augustine Province who are in the college program at Borromeo,
“According to many experts in the field, our seminaries are second to none,” Bishop Malesic said.
Funds raised at the brunch will be used to support seminarians collectively and individually. He said the funds will be used to help with room, board and tuition at John Carroll University for the Borromeo seminarians; to assist with medical expenses; to provide for cultural events; to help defray the cost of car repairs; to aid in human formation, intellectual formation, seminary technology and more.
The bishop also expressed gratitude to attendees who supported the Heart of a Shepherd campaign that raised more than $30 million for much-needed renovations to the seminary buildings, to help support the retirement needs of aging clergy and to ease the tuition debt of newly ordained priests.
“The future of our seminaries is bright. We have so much to be thankful for,” the bishop said.
He also offered his thanks to recently ordained Auxiliary Bishop Michael Woost, who spent eight years in formation at the diocesan seminaries and 22 years as a faculty member. “He is a tremendous help to me and I owe him a great debt of gratitude for his hard work and kindness,” he added.
Three seminarians – Deacon Frederick Schleuter of Youngstown, Brian Peters of St. Raphael Parish in Bay Village, a second-year theology student at Saint Mary, and William Reed of St. Helen Parish in Newbury, a Borromeo senior – offered testimonials about how they came to discern their vocation and their appreciation for those who support the seminarians both through prayer and financially.
In closing, the bishop said it is fitting that Mary is the patroness of the diocese’s major seminary. “She was the first disciple and has much to teach us about following her Son, Jesus. She brought Jesus to the world when she accepted God’s will for her. This is what we are asking of the men at our seminaries – to accept God’s will and bring Jesus to the world,” the bishop said.
Dates to remember:
- 10 a.m. April 15 in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist – transitional diaconate ordination
- 10 a.m. May 20 in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist – priestly ordination
- June 19, Silver Lake Country Club – Borromeo golf outing
- April 14, 2024, place to be determined – 40th annual Bishop’s Seminary Brunch