Cross Catholic Outreach Takes Vision of Helping the Poor to U.S. Seminaries

Cross Catholic Outreach depends greatly on the openness of pastors throughout the country to host an Outreach Priest at their parishes, thereby inviting parishioners to unite with its mission partners through their prayers and financial support. These parish visits are crucial to the ability of Cross Catholic Outreach to carry out its fundamental mission and ministry.

In order to ensure the continuity of this aspect of the ministry, Cross Catholic Outreach endeavors to educate the men currently in priestly formation about the history, mission and work of the organization. Two seminary visits recently took place.

At the invitation of Reverend Gladstone Stevens, PSS,

Vice Rector and Academic Dean of St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland, about 50 seminarians learned of the mission and ministry of Cross Catholic Outreach in a presentation by Fr. Bernard Olszewski, a full-time Outreach Priest and an associate in the Clergy Diocesan Relations office. This was incorporated into the daily schedule of the seminarians as part of their spiritual formation program.

Fr. Olszewski also traveled to Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon recently at the invitation Msgr. Joseph Betschart, Rector, and Rev. Terrence Tompkins, Vice Rector. He spoke with about 60 seminarians during a day the seminary had devoted to spiritual/human formation. The presentation traced the history of the development of the concept of charity in recent papal encyclicals and showed how the work of Cross Catholic Outreach aligns with that vision.

In the minds of these seminary leaders, presentations such as these are crucial to the overall spiritual formation of the future leaders of parish communities in the Church. According to the description contained in the Mount Angel Seminary catalog, it is crucial to provide ministerial experiences, pastoral skills training and opportunities for theological reflection for seminarians so that they can become effective pastoral ministers who model and live servant leadership. Fr. Tompkins stressed to the seminarians in the chapel that it is not enough simply to know the theological framework of the concept of charity. It is also crucial to see how that concept relates to real situations of the people of God throughout the world and the concrete response of Catholic organizations such as Cross Catholic Outreach.