Rev. Andrew LaFramboise, S.T.L. ‘19
In 2017, I was sent to study for the S.T.L. at the Institute. This was a blessed time in my life as a priest. I graduated in 2019 and was named Vocation Director and also a Pastor in my home diocese of Saginaw. I also assist in marriage preparation classes at the Diocese, teaching the portion on the Sacrament of Marriage. I have also taught seminars on Christian Anthropology for those in our lay ministry and diaconate formation programs. The bulk of my time and energy is spent pastoring the people of my parish. I write an article for our diocesan FAITH magazine entitled Kindling for the Fire. John Paul II saw the family as both the subject and the object of the New Evangelization. I see the family as kindling in the Church. We all want to spread fire on the earth. We want the Church to be renewed. The family is the kindling for that fire. It is small, but when lit, it spreads piece by piece until there is a fire giving off warmth and light. That is the image I have for Catholic families in the life of the Church. We priests receive so much from their joy, their sacrifice, their gratitude for our ministry, and their fraternity in our lives.
How has the Institute helped me as a priest? First of all, I think it has helped me understand more deeply that each person is a gift from God. Every person that the Lord sends my way to serve has been entrusted to me in some way by him. If God entrusts a person to me, that means he also sends what I need to care for the person he entrusts to me. In addition, the Institute enkindled in me a love for teaching the faith. All of the classes were a gift. The Institute helps us recover the giftedness of creation. The studies do not just help us learn; they help us see. We are immersed in what the Word of God has to tell us about the beauty of the family and the sacrament of marriage. We are blessed to study great theologians like Henri De Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, John Paul II, and Pope Benedict, along with many others. Through my experience at the Institute, the munus docendi was strengthened and my passion for the beauty of the faith was deepened. It helped me see the importance of wonder in teaching the faith. It is not only about passing on what we believe. It is also about helping people ask the right questions, helping them appreciate the mystery. Introducing them to a sense of wonder, to the beautiful. Jesus is an inexhaustible treasure.
The more we find, the more we discover there is more to find. The more we pass on the treasure, the more we receive the treasure back. St. John Paul II said, “It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.” All catechesis is about finding Jesus anew, sharing him anew, and desiring to find him anew. I am grateful for my time at the Institute for deepening this love for learning the faith and teaching it to others.