STUDENT GROUPS | 2012-2013
Although all students were on campus by 19 August, Hurricane Issac blew our doors shut for almost a week, and things got off to a slower start than usual. Now classes are back on schedule and student activities are off to a new start. The following is an update on four major student organizations.
Student Government Association
The Student Government of Saint Joseph Seminary College is responsible for the organization of the community on a seminarian level. In addition to the Executive Board -- President Garret Twining, Vice President Trey Ange, Secretary Jack Knight, Treasurer Maurice Moon, and Parliamentarian Rene Pellessier, who govern the community as a whole -- there are also six committee chairs: Religious Activities Chair Paul Michael Piega, Athletic Chair Colten Symmes, Hospitality Chair Daniel Hart, Apostolic Chair Phillip Birdsong, Yearbook Chair Quinn Hebert, and Social Life Chair Matt Hebert, who organize particular aspects of community life within the seminary. Every member of the student body participates in one of the committees.
This year, the SGA is facing unique circumstances due to the large number of seminarians. The Hospitality Committee is struggling to find spaces available to house guests, since all of the dormitory rooms are already occupied. The Social Life Committee is charged with finding new, larger spaces to host social events for a greater number of participants. The Apostolic Committee has a larger audience to reach in organizing visits to the seminary by prospective seminarians. Still, each of the seminarians contributes greatly to the community life of the seminary, and the members of the SGA are grateful for the opportunity to lead such a large and diverse group of men pursuing the call to the priesthood.
Abbey Youth Fest
On 9 March 2013, Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College will welcome about 5000 guest to our 13th annual Abbey Youth Festival. This year's theme is "Hidden + Revealed" which is based on the passage, "Christ... by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear." (Gaudium et Spes, 22, Pastoral Constitution by Pope Paul VI).
AYF is a one-day festival complete with dynamic speakers and amazing music. The field has it all, from an adoration chapel and priests hearing confessions, to vocation booths and vendors, to hot food and lots of toilets! Of course, the day is centered around our Lord. Archbishop Gregory Aymond, of New Orleans, will celebrate Holy Mass, participants will chant Vespers (evening prayer) in the monastic tradition, and the day will end with a candlelight adoration of the Blessed Sacrament under the stars! This event has continued to grow over the last 13 years, attracting young people from all parts of the country, but at its heart, it remains a vocational event, encouraging young people to hear their unique vocation call.
For the third consecutive year, the monastic and seminary communities will be working in conjunction with Dumbox Ministries. Brian Butler, director of Dumbox Ministries, Kit Baumann, staff director, and a team of seminarians meet weekly to plan and prepare for this event. Seminarians and their dioceses are John David Matherne of Houma-Thibodaux, Ramiro Regalado of Corpus Christi, John Paul Masterson of Memphis, John Souder of Lake Charles, Payton Bourque of Lafayette, and Bradley Hollingsworth of New Orleans. These students have the responsibility of working on behalf of the seminary to assist in planning, promoting, and organizing this large-scale event. This is also a key component of their pastoral formation as they look to serve the community of the Church in the Southeastern United States.
Covenant 7 is a seminarian Christian rock band, now in its seventh year on campus. Membership in the band changes yearly and is determined through auditions. This year, after a great tryout of gifted students, musicians chosen as the seven core members of the group are: Sammy Merrit, Ben Frederick, Levi Thompson, Tyler Theriot, Bradley Hollingsworth, Preston Losack, and Jacob Rigmaiden. Other members whose talents will be incorporated are: Jeison Cortes, Cody Murphy, Jeremy Winter, Brett Lapeyrouse, Patrick Carlin, and Donald Bernard
The Schola Cantorum at Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College is a choir of seminarians that provides the music of the Abbey's daily liturgy throughout the academic year, that is, the psalms, hymns, and the sung parts of the Mass Ordinary. Special music is performed during Mass every Sunday, and also for every major solemnity of the Abbey's liturgical calendar. Membership in the Schola is by audition, and is open to students of every classification. Members of the Fall 2012 Schola Cantorum, under the direction of Colby McCurdy, Saint Joseph Seminary College's director and professor of music, are: Sam "Trey" Ange III, Patrick Carlin, Joseph Ferrer, Kolbe Fletcher, Ben Frederick, Phillip Gordy, Timothy Grimes, Bradley Hollingsworth, John "Jack" Knight, Brett Lapeyrouse, Samuel Merritt, John Miller, Thuc Nguyen, Rene Pellessier, Paul Michael Piega, Jacob Rigmaiden, Levi Thompson, and Aaron Williams.
The Schola's first off-campus activity will be to sing Vespers at the Baton Rouge Deo Gratias on 7 October. Major liturgical dates for the Fall 2012 Schola include the Mass of the Dedication of the Abbey Church on 4 October, and the Mass of All Saints' Day, 1 November.
The tradition of the Schola Cantorum, or "School of Singers," is one with a long-standing history in the Catholic liturgy. Founded in the late seventh century, the original Schola Cantorum was the choir that sang when the Pope officiated at observances. It is also widely accepted that the Schola Cantorum played a role in standardizing chant texts in the early eighth century. Today, most Catholic seminaries have their own "Scholas" comprised of seminarians and/or faculty and other personnel.