April 3, 2017
His Excellency Bishop Kagan, an alumnus of the college, was the celebrant of the Mass in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception of the North American College on Feb. 26. He is the first bishop of our diocese to be the principal celebrant of such a Mass.
Diocesan seminarians, Gregory Crane and Brandon Wolf, were among 63 men to receive the ministry of acolyte during this Mass.
Bishop Kagan said the experience was a tremendous privilege and honor. “Celebrating Mass in the Main Chapel, dedicated to Our Lady under Her title of the Immaculate Conception, brought back so many memories for me, especially my own ordination to the Transitional Diaconate in May 1974, when my parents were able to be with me for that wonderful day.”
Concelebrating were diocesan priests Fathers Austin Vetter, Josh Ehli, Nick Schneider, Chris Kadrmas, David Richter and Jared Johnson. “What made it even more special for me was the presence of our own Bismarck priests who concelebrated. Along with them, my classmate and long-time friend Cardinal James Harvey concelebrated. Many of our high school pilgrims from the last few years would remember him since he has been so kind to our groups in giving them a tour of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.”
During his homily at the Mass, celebrated on the Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Bishop Kagan reminded the second-year seminarians that their new responsibility of serving at the altar, their second-to-last step before being ordained priests, is one to be taken on with a spirit of humility. “Remember that your service is never to be about you….for the people
of God whom you will serve look to you to model fidelity, devotion and humble joy in your service to Almighty God, and what a privilege you have in this vocation.”
Crane and Wolf have two additional years of theological studies and spiritual formation before being ordained to the priesthood for our diocese.
As part of the rite, the Bishop placed the paten, which contains the hosts for the celebration of Mass, in the hands of each candidate and said, “Take this vessel with bread for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.”
“To be able to institute two of our own seminarians as Acolytes of the Church at that Mass was wonderful, but all our seminarians had a part in the Mass which was a source of great joy and pride for me,” Bishop Kagan commented when talking about his trip. “All of our men are doing so very well and clearly they are growing in that identity to Jesus and His Heart that priestly formation develops in every seminarian.
Diocesan Seminarians Deacon Jordan Dosch, Christian Smith, Jarad Wolf and Dominic Bouck, are also in Rome studying for the diocese at the Pontifical North American College.
Bishop Kagan added, “I ask that everyone continue to pray for vocations, but in a special way I ask all to continue to pray for each of our seminarians now in priestly formation. That is a vital and tremendous gift we give to them.”
The Pontifical North American College serves as the American seminary in Rome. Founded in 1859 by Blessed Pius IX, the college has formed over 5,000 priests near the heart of the Church for service in dioceses around the United States, Canada, and Australia. The College strengthens the bonds between Rome and local Churches worldwide, and it allows its students to study the Church’s rich religious and cultural heritage at close range.
—Information provided by Pontifical North American College