Diocesan News

Priest serves in formation of seminarians

Story by Reagan Scott

Wynnewood, Pa. (SNR) - When Father Brian Kane became Dean of Men of the theology division at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 2015, it was with an already impressive résumé.

By the time he moved out to Wynnewood, Pa., Father Kane had already been a priest for 16 years, after graduating from St. Charles Borromeo in 2000.

Father Kane worked as an assistant pastor for five years and served as a military chaplain in the Nebraska Army National Guard, spending two years on tour in Iraq in 2005 and 2010.

Father Kane also taught at Pius X High School in Lincoln before serving as principal and superintendent of Bishop Neumann Junior-Senior High School in Wahoo.

“I use those experiences to help [the seminarians] understand what qualities and skills they need to become a good priest,” Father Kane said.

As the Dean of Men, Father Kane described his job as such, “I am the person who is responsible for coordinating the human formation of seminarians.”

In a practical sense, Father Kane lives in the dormitory building with the young men.

“I am the first person they go to if they have any issues, problems or questions,” Father Kane said. “I help set the tone for the house so that it is conducive to becoming a good, holy priest.”

St. Charles Borromeo is one of two seminaries to which the Lincoln Diocese sends its seminarians after they complete college studies at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward; the other being Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.

St. Charles Borromeo is one seminary with two divisions, philosophy for college and theology for graduate studies. In total, the seminary is home to 160 students with about 80 in each division. Eight of those men come from the Lincoln Diocese.

It is the 80 students in the theology division who Father Kane serves as part of his role as the Dean of Men.

Acting as Dean of Men isn’t Father Kane’s only responsibility at the seminary, however. Father Kane also serves as the vice chair of the Theology Formation Committee and is the moderator of the human formation conference.

Father Kane’s work also includes serving as a formation advisor for 18 seminarians who he meets with every three weeks.

Father Kane said, “I get to know them in one-on-one meetings.”

The topics can range from any questions the young men may have, to discussions on chastity and celibacy.

“I help [the seminarians] understand what it means to be a diocesan priest,” Father Kane said.

As Father Kane gets to know the seminarians he serves, he knows enough to ask for a gift that anyone can give… prayers.

“I think that prayer is one of the greatest gifts people back home can give to seminarians,” Father Kane said.

Every year a pamphlet is released with photos of the seminarians from the Lincoln Diocese. Father Kane recommended that families place the pamphlet somewhere in their homes, where is will be easy to remember to pray for all of the young men going through formation at St. Charles Borromeo, as well as St. Gregory the Great and Mount St. Mary’s.

Father Kane also has another request for the people of the Lincoln Diocese, to support Bishop Conley’s annual Appeal for Vocations.

“[The appeal] is what makes it possible to support our seminarians,” Father Kane said. “We have one of the highest numbers of seminarians per capita, but with that comes an expense.”

With the support of his diocese behind him and his experiences prior to becoming a Dean of Men, Father Kane has been able to support the young men at St. Charles Borromeo to the best of his ability.

“What I love about my job is the dedication the young men have to holiness,” Father Kane said. “They want to get the education and formation they need to go back and serve Nebraska, and they’re excited to do that.”

Father Kane also quoted a document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled “Program of Priestly Formation.”

The document states, “The basic principle of human formation of seminarians is to help form men who will be priests who are a bridge for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ, the redeemer of the human race.”

“That’s what I get to do every day,” Father Kane said.

While Father Kane is temporarily released from the Lincoln Diocese to serve in Pennsylvania, he wants to make an impact on the lives of seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo.

Father Kane said, “The seminary is a place of hope, it’s a place of excitement because young men are saying ‘yes’ every day to the call to serve God’s church.”

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