California Catholic Daily exclusive.
On September 9, St. Patrick’s Seminary will hold its annual Four Pillars Gala. The event is the sole yearly fundraiser for the seminary, which serves the Archdiocese of San Francisco, most of the other dioceses of California, as well as the dioceses of Honolulu, Reno, and Spokane. The seminary is currently forming 64 men for the priesthood, and this year’s class includes seminarians from as far away as Korea.
Each year at the gala the seminary honors a person or organization who has contributed greatly to the mission of the Church. Past honorees include the Knights of Columbus and the Serra Club. This year, the seminary honors San Francisco’s Walk for Life West Coast, the second largest pro-life event in the country. Accepting the honor for the Walk will be two of the Walk’s co-founders, who are also the Walk’s co-chairs, Dolores Meehan and Eva Muntean.
Eva Muntean told CalCatholic: “I’m beyond elated…this is a dream come true. If you had told me in 2005 that we would be honored by the Seminary, a place where the young men who are the future of the Church are being formed, I would not have believed it. And you know, one of our great joys at the Walk every year is the presence of so many seminarians. It’s great for them and it’s great for all the lay people, especially the young, to see them there, standing for the little defenseless lives. This is more than I ever hoped for.”
The ‘four pillars’ of the seminary are human formation, spiritual formation, intellectual formation, and pastoral formation. The evening’s program describes each pillar as necessary to the final mission “through human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral development (the seminary) enables Christ-centered men to grow and excel as collaborative, culturally-aware pastoral leaders committed to Jesus and His Church.”
In July Fr. George Schultze, SJ, the seminary’s new rector, echoed the ‘culturally-aware’ theme. He told Catholic San Francisco: “We are at the point in our society … where we should be more vocal. We should share what we believe rather than simply conceding or retreating. Prudence requires courage. Prudence requires saying we know at times it’s hard for others to hear but we’re doing this out of love of charity and we’re going to do this in a peaceful, generous and good way as fruits of the Holy Spirit.”
Prudence, courage, and the sharing of what might be hard for others to hear “in a peaceful, generous and good way” has been a hallmark of the Walk for Life West Coast since 2005. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are evident. While the Walk is first and foremost an event to show solidarity with the victims of abortion, both unborn children and women, it has also become a powerful weekend of Catholic evangelization in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
The presence of so many young people at the Walk, some from as far away as Washington, New Mexico, even Oklahoma has encouraged San Francisco parishes to open their doors and offer lodging to the young pilgrims. Some of the churches offer special Masses (Ordinary and Extraordinary Form); others offer dedicated Holy Hours and all-night adoration. The Archdiocese offers youth rallies led by the Sisters of Life and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and for the past four years the Students for Life of America has hosted a west coast conference at St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Each year the majority of St. Patrick’s men attend the Walk. The Walk also sees many religious order novices, both men and women, and, in 2016, 40 young men from the Benedictine Mt. Angel Abbey came all the way from Oregon to attend. As Ms. Muntean indicated, a mutually positive action occurs: the young seminarians experience the incredibly supportive atmosphere of tens of thousands of people who love and respect them for choosing the priestly vocation, and the tens of thousands of lay people are energized and heartened by the presence of the impressive young men who are following the call of God.
To learn more about St. Patrick’s Seminary’s Four Pillars Gala honoring the Walk for Life West Coast, and to order tickets or make a donation, click here.