Bishop communicates joy to seminarians

Written by Father Adam Cichoski

Bishop Sullivan with seminarians at the Assumption Mass.

This year, after the Feast of the Assumption Mass and Wedding of the Sea in Wildwood, we held our annual dinner with the seminarians, their families and Bishop Sullivan.

During the dinner, a visiting priest remarked, “It took years after my ordination before I ever had the chance to sit down with my bishop!” Fortunately, for all of us who have gone through formation for the priesthood in the last six years, we have had many opportunities to be with our bishop and to talk to him as our spiritual father.

Bishop Sullivan has made it a point to know our seminarians, and to make sure they understand what it means to be a Camden seminarian and to represent our Catholic faith.

Bishop Sullivan has such a great love and respect for our seminarians. He knows them, where we came from and what our stories were that led us into the seminary. He is someone who was very interested in the men that will one day be his brother priests, and he wants to be sure that they know they have his support on their journeys through formation. He knows the struggles that come with formation, and how important their time in the seminary is for their future ministry.

As a spiritual father to all of our men in formation, Bishop Sullivan is a constant presence in their lives, even as they are away in seminary. As I begin my time as vocation director, I see this even more. His thoughtfulness and love for seminarians has only grown since his arrival in our diocese. I think this comes from his own love of the priesthood, and the joy he experienced as a parish priest. Now as a bishop, he helps to bring this joy into the lives of many others as he ordains them and helps them to start their lives as priests of Jesus Christ.

I always enjoyed my time as a seminarian for our diocese. I have had many wonderful experiences here and received the greatest gift of my life when I became a priest. This gift was given to me through the hands of our bishop, Bishop Dennis Sullivan. As he celebrates 15 years as a bishop, I can’t help but think of the number of men he must have encouraged in their own discernment, and how this is something still so close to his heart.

May God continue to bless our bishop with many more years of service to our church. We thank him for his ministry here with us, and for all the support he has shown us. May his dedication and love to the priesthood inspire many more men to discern this vocation and to follow God’s call of service.

 

Father Adam Cichoski is director of Vocations for the Diocese of Camden.