Preparing the next generation of priests

Chris Singel, master of ceremonies for the 63rd annual Saint Nicholas Charity Dinner, said many heartfelt words extolling the virtues of seminary life.

But he said you don’t have to take his word for it. “Listen to Mr. (Fred) Rogers. A new book I’m reading talks
about how one of the most positive influences throughout his entire life was his theology professor from (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary). “Fred ended up taking every course he offered. He visited him each week when he was in a nursing home. And he let the insights he learned from this professor strengthen his spirituality throughout his entire life.”

Of course, the same can be said of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, Pa.
“These classes are accessible to anyone. Please consider them. Because once you learn something, it deepens your spirituality and you are changed forever.” The annual dinner, held Dec. 8 at St. John the Baptist Cathedral Center in Munhall, Pa, is co-sponsored by the Greek Catholic Union and the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.

Proceeds benefit the Seminary. “We have a lot of good news to celebrate tonight as the Seminary is again reaching some major milestones,” Singel said. Next year, the Seminary will celebrate the 70th year of its founding. “The Byzantine online program has grown so much that this month, two of its students will become the first graduates ever who have earned their Masters degrees entirely online.”Father Robert Pipta, rector, thanked everyone present.

“The Byzantine Catholic Seminary strives to be worthy of the magnanimous generosity of the GCU. The prayerful and material support represented by all those here present this evening remains a blessing to us throughout the year,” he said. “I am filled with thanksgiving for my life in the Seminary. For being able to work with colleagues and students and the wonderful and surprising ways God takes care of the Seminary through your goodness.”

George Juba, president and chief executive officer, Greek Catholic Union, presented Archbishop William with the fraternal organization’s annual contribution to the Seminary, which this year totaled $110,000. The organization has donated $3.37 million to the Seminary since 1960.

“Here we are gathered in a cozy and warm facility with all the conveniences and amenities anyone could ask for, celebrating the life of St. Nicholas of Myra, who is also the patron saint of the GCU.” He also presented $250
checks funded by the GCU Foundation to this year’s 12 seminarians.

The Foundation was organized in 2007 and makes monetary grants for charitable, educational and religious purposes. Seminarians receiving grants are: Reader Christopher Davel, Subdeacon Timothy Fariss, Luke Iyengar, Reader Robert Jones, Michael Kunitz, Mikhael Naddaf, Nathaniel Tapsak, David Vonderohe, John Welch, Deacon Paul West, Reader Riley Winstead and Reader Kyprian Wojciechowski.

Archbishop William Skurla said he is thankful for the opportunity to come together at the end of the year to give
thanks to St. Nicholas and our Holy Father in Heaven. “The seminarians work very hard to make this a very fine academic institution and a place where we will prepare the next generation of priests.”

The Greek Catholic Union, the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, the Seminary and the St. Nicholas Celebration Committee
thank everyone involved with the 2019 event who helped in any way to ensure its success.