For the past few weeks, Old College has been unusually quiet—the men moved out in May, and Notre Dame Building Services has been busy cleaning each of the rooms and making small repairs to prepare for the summer and coming academic year. Typically, the house remains filled with that unusual quietness throughout the summer months, but this year, something quite special is happening at Old College—the inaugural Summer Seminary Immersion Program sponsored by the Holy Cross Office of Vocations and the Office of Pre-College Programs! When I first heard about this new and exciting program for high school juniors and seniors interested in learning more about discernment and life in Old College, I was filled with excitement, and wanted to learn more about how I might be able to help make it an awesome experience for the young men that have devoted two weeks of their summer to immerse themselves in seminary life. After talking with our vocations staff for a few weeks, I became the Resident Counselor of the program, and just arrived back at Old College to help ready the house for the arrival of the ten young men on Saturday! We have been working diligently to prepare the house for this new program, and are definitely looking forward to the arrival of the participants this weekend.
This week has been filled with meetings, grocery shopping, moving furniture, and preparing packets for the participants, but as we near move-in day, I am getting more and more excited for the program to officially begin. Under the direction of Fr. Jarrod Waugh, CSC, these young men will experience what it is like to be an undergraduate seminarian in the Congregation of Holy Cross—common prayer, common table, daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, recreation, and academic work. Through our daily common prayer, the men will learn how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and will have the opportunity to experience communal Eucharistic Adoration and daily Mass. Through our common table, the men will build community with good discussions and delicious meals, just as the Men of Old College do each day during the school year. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Summer Seminary Immersion Program is the academic portion—these young men will take a course taught by newly minted Ph.D., Fr. Kevin Grove, C.S.C. The two-week program will most definitely be a memorable experience for these ten young men.
My role for the program is that of a sort of resident assistant. I will be living among the participants here at Old College to simply be present to the guys as they grow in their discernment, prayer, and their short but meaningful experience of Old College. Since I was a junior in high school, I have greatly admired every aspect of religious life in Holy Cross, but the thing that really drew me to Holy Cross is our community life. I am looking forward to helping to give the guys a glimpse into our community life in Old College—something that I have immense love and appreciation for as my time in Old College moves towards its conclusion. I have grown in every aspect of my life since entering Old College, and I cannot thank my brothers here at Old College, at Moreau Seminary, the formation staff, and so many other Holy Cross priests and brothers that have had a very deep impact on my life throughout the past two years. I love my Holy Cross family so much, and through this Summer Seminary Immersion Program, I hope to help these young men see my passion and love for Holy Cross—a great band of men that I have come to know, love, and deeply appreciate over the past two years in formation.
I, along with all of my brothers in Holy Cross, were in the shoes of these high school students just a few short years ago, and it is hard to believe that I am entering my third and final year in Old College before moving, God willing, on to Moreau Seminary. I am excited by the opportunity to get to know these young men, and I look forward to an awesome two weeks filled with prayer, learning, and fun. Old College has such a special place in my life, and I cannot wait to welcome the guys on Saturday! Please keep the ten young men of this first-ever Summer Seminary Immersion Program in your prayers as they continue to actively discern where God is calling each of them to make Him known, loved, and served.
Mr. Owen Williams is a junior in the Old College Undergraduate Seminary at the University of Notre Dame. Owen will be serving as a resident assistant for the Summer Seminary Immersion Program, a 2-week academic program being offered by the Congregation of Holy Cross in conjuction with the Notre Dame Summer Scholars Programs. He is originally from Avon, Ohio.