Dear Religious Family,

I would like to share with you the wonderful experience we recently had with our minor seminarians of the St. José Sanchez del Río High School Seminary. We went on a road trip to Washington DC to take part in the celebration of the Investiture of Cassocks for twelve novices and the First Profession of Vows for four brothers. Many other seminarians from the Fulton Sheen House of Formation renewed their religious vows during the same Holy Mass.

The following is from my travel journal:

We departed from Mankato, Minnesota on Saturday, November 25th very early in the morning. We drove all day until we arrived in Ohio. Some family friends from El Salvador received us with a delicious dinner of pupusas salvadorenias (a typical Salvadorian dish) and accommodations.

The next day was the Solemnity of Christ, the King of the Universe. We celebrated Holy Mass early in the morning, had breakfast and departed to for Washington DC, and arrived around 7:00pm that evening. Fortunately for us, we were able to join the seminarians for Adoration to of the Blessed Sacrament, Evening Prayer, dinner, and recreation.

On Monday, November 27th, we visited the St. John Paul II National Shrine and Museum in the afternoon. This was the first time many of the minor seminarians visited this newly established shrine.

We had a full day on Tuesday.   We were able to visit our monks at Mount St. Mary (Emmitsburg, MD) and visit the two national shrines that they take care of pastorally: The National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Grotto of Lourdes.  We visited the grounds, celebrated the Holy Mass at St. Elizabeth Seton Shrine and then our monks welcomed us into their little Monastery. The monks gave a short talk informing the seminarians about their contemplative life. Afterwards we all shared in some delicious snacks.

In the evening we were able to have Adoration at the St. Isaac Jogues and Companion Martyrs’ Novitiate. The novices cooked hamburgers for us and sang a few songs after dinner. At the end of our time together, we returned to the seminary.

On Wednesday we had took part in the the Holy Mass at the SSVM Novitiate House in Maryland, and they invited us to stay for breakfast. Each novice introduced herself with her new name (they had just received their religious names on November 21st), then they showed us around the farm where they live.  The farm horses, llamas, pigs, etc., but we had the most fun using the go-karts!

The day continued with sports at the seminary and the a visit to the SSVM Juniorate House of Studies in the afternoon. The sisters received us with tea, coffee and goodies!

The long-awaited day of Investiture of Cassocks and Profession of Vows finally came on was Thursday, November 30, the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. In the morning we helped to prepare the hall for the reception. The Holy Mass took place in the afternoon, preresided by His Eminence, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick. We really enjoyed the ceremony and the reception. There was a joyful family spirit all around!

The following day, Friday, we participated of the Holy Mass at the seminary, together with the novices that had just received their cassocks. After Mass, we took a group picture with all those in formation in our Province of North America. Immediately after breakfast we began our long journey back home.  We spent a night in Columbus, Ohio and arrived Saturday night to Mankato, MN.

In conclusion, I would like to ask for your prayers for the perseverance of our minor seminarians and for an increase in vocations.

Many blessings! Fr. William Valle, IVE



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