Seminarians for the Diocese of Superior are pictured with Bishop James P. Powers at a historical gathering in La Crosse from Aug. 2-4. From left to right, Daniel Tracy, Theology I; Isaiah Schick, Theology I and Dcn. Joseph Stefancin, Theology IV; all study at St. Francis de Sales Seminary near Milwaukee. Benjamin Schmitt, College I and Noah Roe, College I, recently began their first year of study at Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minnesota. (Submitted photo)

Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

Seminarians from across the state of Wisconsin gathered during the first weekend of August in La Crosse. In total, seven bishops were present, seven vocations directors and 97 seminarians.

“It is the first time that anybody can remember that all of the bishops and seminarians from the province gathered in one space,” Bishop James P. Powers said.

“More than anything, it was a social gathering to help get to know everybody, spend some time together, share faith stories, and pray together.”

The men were bussed back and forth between where they were staying and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe for fellowship events and joint prayer, as well as Mass. Saturday afternoon included a bishop’s forum, where questions that had been presented by the seminarians were addressed.

It was an opportunity for those who are just entering and those beginning their fourth year of theology to gather together as brother seminarians discerning the priesthood.

Seminarian Daniel Tracy said, “The gathering was really a remarkable experience for me to recognize and appreciate that there is a very visible and dynamic unity that has been fostered among the bishops of our state. This unity has had and will continue to have an impact on both clergy and laity throughout the state for many years to come.”

Bishop Powers commented on how important it was for the Diocese of Superior men to have the chance to see “the cup being half full rather than half empty.”

A van was rented for the Superior group, and Bishop Powers drove. While Fr. Thomas Thompson was unable to attend due to continued storm clean-up at his mother’s home, “We were all together on the way down and back. It was great to just be able to spend time together.”

More information about vocations to the priesthood for the Diocese of Superior can be found at

Two fall seminary visits are planned. The first, Nov. 9-11, is to Immaculate Heart of Mary College Seminary in Winona. The second is Dec. 20-22 to St. Francis de Sales Seminary, St. Francis, for a young men’s silent priestly discernment retreat.
New seminarian Noah Roe, who is just starting his first year of college seminary, shared his experience.

“I was extremely impressed by each seminarian I met. They each had a sense of deep love for our blessed Lord and a real desire to serve his church. I have much hope in my generation, which is rising up in these troubling times.”