Checking in with Campus Seminarians: Q&A with Liam Johnson, Second Year in Old College

Author: Genevieve Redsten


1) Are the Old College seminarians still finding ways to connect virtually? If so, what does that look like, and how does it compare to your typical in-person community time?


The Old Collegians are still connecting with each other virtually as best as we can. We have our normal weekly formation meetings on Fridays over Zoom. There is also optional Evening Prayer over Zoom at 6:15 EDT every day for all who are able to make it. Obviously, it is nowhere near as life-giving and joyful as being able to pray and hang out together in person, but it is as good as we can do in this time of sheltering in place.


2) How has it felt to "social distance" during such an important holy time?


It is disappointing not to be able to celebrate Easter together at Notre Dame, but social distancing has offered an abnormal Lenten sacrifice, and an opportunity to reflect on both seasons of Lent and Easter and meditate on why they are so important in our lives. The season of Lent is marked by repentance and sacrifice, and that is very applicable to the world we live in today. Although it would be great for all of us to be back on campus celebrating together, it is necessary for us to sacrifice this joy in order to protect those around us, and stop the spread of COVID-19. Easter, on the other hand, is marked by Resurrection, rebirth and an overwhelming sense of hope. This Easter season it is especially important to recognize that sense of hope that is marked by Christ’s resurrection.


2a) How are you celebrating the Lenten season and Easter remotely?


I am celebrating the Easter season with my family at home. We were able to livestream the Basilica of the Sacred Heart Easter Vigil Mass, and then celebrate Easter Day with a wonderful family dinner.


3) What do you think Catholic teachings can tell us about this unique historical moment?


Catholic Social Teaching challenges us both in prosperous times and in times of struggle to care for the common good. I think COVID-19 has caused many people to take up a new cross in this unique time. Whether that is our healthcare workers working around the clock in order to help those afflicted by the disease, or if it is simply following the stay-at-home order from our local governments, every person has some sort of new cross they must bear in order for the safety and wellbeing of others. Unfortunately, this will bring about some harsh realities, such as the inability to attend mass in person, but if that means that we are able to stop the spread of this dangerous virus, then it is a cross we must bear.


Are the Moreau Seminarians still on campus or are they also studying remotely?

The Moreau seminarians are currently sheltering in place, studying in Moreau Seminary.


(Photo by Liam Johnson)