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Bishop Fisher

Bishop Mike meets with seminarians, talk about their role in church today


Bishop Michael W. Fisher traveled to Baltimore to attend the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops general assembly just before Thanksgiving. While there he visited with the Buffalo seminarians attending St. Mary’s Seminary and University and spoke to them about their role in the Church of today.

“What is it that’s giving you that strength and that impetus to move forward in your vocation and your discernment to serve the good people of God?” Bishop Fisher asked.

2021120 – Bishop and Sems – Bishop Michael W. Fisher (center) meets with the Buffalo students studying at St. Mary’s seminary and University in Baltimore. Pictured are Father Peter Santandreu, John Willett, Gregory Zini, Joseph Franz, John Callahan, Jeffrey Donovan, C.J. Wild and Joseph Tokasz. (Photo by Gregory Tucker)

Jeffrey Donovan, who’s studying third year theology, pointed to Jesus Christ. “I think in times like now with such uncertainty in a lot of realms in the world, just knowing Christ is the anchor, faith is the anchor, and being able to bring people to that and to have that solid foundation of truth for themselves, and being able to build something on that, something of joy, something great and be able to live in and with that.”

The bishop agreed that we often find truth and beauty in the Church.

C.J. Wild, first theology student, offered his thoughts. “The Catholic Church is not merely about an organization, not merely about one specific building or group of people,” he said. “First and foremost, it is about Jesus Christ. I think that is what animates our spiritual lives. I think that’s the living person who continues to get us out of bed in the morning. He continues to draw us back to Himself. Of course, there are challenges in the world. The Church has faced challenges for 2,000 years. But anchored in that person of Jesus, I think we have a great point of hope and a great reason to hope.

Bishop Fisher pointed out that even though the seminarians study Scripture and Church history to enrich their faith, “ultimately, it is about a relationship with our Lord.”

On that note, the bishop asked, “How are you nurturing that relationship with the Lord?”

Donovan said there were a couple levels to that.

“Studying theology, it’s (cathartic). You learn about yourself and you learn about Christ and how you’re able to become more like Him. When you’re able to do that, we’re also able to go out and let the world see Christ, not only through us, but in the church, in the sacraments, and really bring them to Him. When the studies start to inform the prayer and the prayer works into the studies there’s just this great balance and equilibrium there.”

Wild added, “I once heard it phrased, something to the effect of, ‘You can’t love someone if you don’t spend any time with them.’ So, spending time with the Lord in the Eucharist every day at the chapel of St. Mary’s has been a great source of strength. I think it has been a great way, not only to start the day, but also to remind ourselves that He is the source and summit of our faith, that He in the Eucharist not only draws us to Himself, but propels us back into the world to carry on His mission.”

Bishop Fisher mentioned that the bishops across the country are beginning a two-year synod right now. He asked the seminarians what they thought their role was in the consulting process?

Wild used the Latin phrase “Ecclesia semper reformanda,” meaning the Church is always called to reform. “I think this is a great step forward to not only revitalize the faith in our local Church in Buffalo, but also revisit some of those things that can draw us together as one universal Church,” he said.

“It’s about listening, right? And service,” added Bishop Fisher. 

The bishop gave a guided tour of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which he has been attending since childhood. The church holds the remains of Cardinal John Carroll, SJ, first bishop and archbishop in the United States.

“A lot of history here. If the walls could talk …” Bishop Fisher said.


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