GUEST COLUMNIST | In gratitude for a decade of service and communion

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For the past 11 years, I have been blessed to walk in pilgrimage with the Archdiocese of St. Louis. As I prepare for my new assignment in Rome, I can only thank the Lord for all the wonderful people I have met during this time.

One of the outstanding features of the Archdiocese of St. Louis is its support to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in the mission of forming priests for the Church throughout the region.

Kenrick-Glennon is among the best — if not the best — seminaries in the country. Having been part of this community has granted me joy and the opportunity to grow and serve the future priests that are being formed here.

My heart goes out to Archbishop Robert J. Carlson for allowing this to happen, and to the clergy and laity of the archdiocese. It has been an honor to serve with you and serve you.

I am deeply grateful for the seminary administration, faculty and staff. From them I learned the importance of teamwork — known in ecclesial language as "communion." Together, we have come to a deeper articulation of how all of our work is rooted in and directed toward communion with Christ, the High Priest. He's the reason for the seminary's existence.

Collaborating closely with the administration, our faculty has achieved important milestones in the history of this institution. During my time here, we have had our accreditation renewed twice by national governing bodies. We have been approved by the Gregorian University in Rome and the Congregation for Clergy to grant a bachelor of sacred theology degree and are working toward offering a licentiate of sacred theology. We have reformed our curriculum, set up new standards of evaluation of students in all the dimensions of their formation and have created a wonderful collaboration with the student body. They learn to live as "men of communion and sacrifice" as Father James Mason, the seminary's rector, often says.

The quality of the Kenrick-Glennon seminarians is inspiring. I have watched almost three generations of priests go through our program and have seen more than 150 priests be ordained in the last 10 years. God has blessed each of them with many talents to edify His Church. Each and every one of them has inspired in me a sense of humility and gratitude. They have been the reason for my joys ... and for my gray hair! Their ministry is a sign of God's blessing on the work of the seminary.

As I go to Rome to my assignment at the Pontifical North American College, I pledge that I will be praying for you every day at the foot of Our Lady of Humility and from the heart of Christendom. I can but thank the Lord for having met you all. Please pray for me. May God bless you in all you do.

Since 2006, Father Randy Soto has been a faculty member at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, where he has taught New Testament and classical languages and has helped in the formation of seminarians. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of San Jose in Costa Rica. Father Soto has been appointed as a spiritual director at the Pontifical North American College and a professor at the Gregorian University in Rome. 

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