ADDRESS - Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, addresses Nebraskan priests and seminarians March 2 at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward. The cardinal was visiting Nebraska for the consecration of Ss. Peter and Paul Chapel at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton March 3. (SNR photo by S.L. Hansen)
SEWARD (SNR) - While visiting Nebraska for the solemn consecration of Saints Peter and Paul Chapel at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, accepted the invitation of Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz to share an afternoon of instruction with priests and seminarians.
Gathering at Saint Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, the seminarians, faculty and staff joined Bishop Bruskewitz in welcoming more than 100 priests of the Archdiocese of Omaha and the dioceses of Lincoln and Grand Island. Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha and Bishop William J. Dendinger of Grand Island were also in attendance. The agenda included lunch, the cardinal’s talk and Mass.
The cardinal spoke to the group for more than an hour regarding homilies based on the Doctrine of the Church. His lecture included practical suggestions and personal anecdotes, gleaned from his nearly 50 years as a priest. A brief question-and-answer session followed.
Afterwards, Cardinal Levada joined the archbishop, the bishops and many other priests in concelebrating Mass in the seminary chapel.
In his homily, the cardinal spoke at length about the priestly ministry of preaching and teaching.
“Effective preaching comes not only from study and careful preparation, but it also is the fruit of prayer,” he said.
In this Year of the Priest, Cardinal Levada recommended the example of Saint John Vianney to the priests and seminarians.
“This was a life so given over to Christ that the truth and beauty of what he was trying to preach shone through his human weakness,” the cardinal said. “Harmony between the truth of the Gospel and the lifestyle of a priest cannot help but touch the hearts of the people.”
Cardinal Levada and Bishop Bruskewitz have known each other for many years, since their seminary days. Later, they each served at the Vatican in different offices for overlapping terms. Cardinal Levada was an official for the Congregation for the Doctrine of faith from 1976 to 1983, while Bishop Bruskewitz was assigned to the Congregation for Catholic Education from 1969 to 1980.
As prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Cardinal Levada is responsible for the functions of the congregation, which was established by Pope Paul III in 1542. The purpose of this congregation is to “promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world; so it has competence in things that touch this matter in any way.”
The work of the congregation is divided into four sections: doctrinal, disciplinary, matrimonial and clerical.
As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI had served as the prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith under Pope John Paul II. He appointed Cardinal Levada as his successor on May 13, 2005, shortly after assuming the pontificate.