Come to meet and honour the Ordinandi
at St. Augustine’s Seminary and Redemptoris Mater Seminary
who with God’s grace
will be ordained to the priesthood this coming Spring.

After a two year pandemic hiatus in which the Ordinandi Dinner had been held virtually, we were grateful to be able to return to an in-person event and once again continued the tradition of honouring our Ordinandi in the Archdiocese of Toronto. Under the patronage of St. Augustine’s Seminary and the Archdiocese of Toronto the 33rd Annual Ordinandi Dinner was held on March 9, 2023.

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The Ordinandi Class of 2023 was made up of eight men, from St. Augustine’s Seminary and Redemptoris Mater Seminary, dedicating themselves to the service of church and community and selecting as their theme, “Serve the Lord with gladness, come before him singing for joy.” These powerful words of commitment to service were, under the prayerful watch of St. Junipero Serra, loudly proclaimed to the 1,538 supporters from the Archdiocese of Toronto gathered at the Pearson Center in Brampton to celebrate the vocation journey of these committed servants of our Lord.

St. Augustine’s Seminary has recently assumed responsibility for the event which continues to be held under the auspices of the Toronto Central Serra Club with the support of the other Serra Clubs in the Archdiocese of Toronto (including the Vocations Office and Office of Catholic Youth) and our Catholic educators.

The 2023 Ordinandi Dinner continued the wonderful tradition of support for vocations to priestly and religious life dating back to 1991. The Archdiocese of Toronto Pastoral Plan, under the leadership of Cardinal Thomas Collins urges us all to adopt, support and encourage a “culture of vocations”. The Ordinandi Dinner has become an important component of instilling and encouraging that culture of vocations in our Archdiocese. In addition, this event permits the faithful to show in a demonstrative way their support and affection for the men embarking on a life of service to God’s church and His people. The vocation stories of the Ordinandi are the highlight of the evening both informing and inspiring the assembled faithful.

We were proud to honour His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins for the unwavering support he has shown for the Ordinandi Dinner and to Serra during his sixteen years as Archbishop of Toronto. We wish him well in his retirement. We look forward to continuing this wonderful expression of support for our clergy under the guidance of His Grace, Archbishop Francis Leo, our new Archbishop in the Archdiocese of Toronto

The Ordinandi Dinner is internationally recognized as an incredible show of support and encouragement from a grateful Catholic community for those about to embark on a life of consecrated service to our Lord and to their fellow human beings. On two previous occasions (1994 and 2012) the Ordinandi Dinner has been recognized by Serra International with the Junipero Serra Award for the amazing effort in promulgating vocations awareness and support.

The day is also marked by the Ordinandi Youth Event held the morning of the Ordinandi Dinner and attended by high school students from across the Archdiocese of Toronto. The 2023 Ordinandi Youth Event was the first time since 2019 that our Catholic youth have been able to gather in person for this vocation awareness experience. We are grateful to our Catholic teachers, chaplains and educators for the

efforts in helping us to bring together 732 high school students to hear the vocation stories of one of our Ordinandi and that of a religious consecrated nun.

We continue to receive welcome encouragement from our Catholic educators. Students from the Toronto, Dufferin-Peel, Durham, Simcoe, French Catholic and York Region Catholic School Boards as well as Catholic independent schools attended, accompanied by teachers, chaplains and staff from their respective Boards and schools. We are blessed by this support.

Also noteworthy is the attendance by 240 university-age young adults as a result of our Vocations Awareness program including those associated with Serra House, Office of Catholic Youth and with Fr. Mathew McCarthy, the Archdiocesan Director of Vocations. We are grateful to the Chaplains who accompanied these young adults including representatives from the Office of Catholic Youth, the Newman Centre and the Vocations Office of the Diocese of Peterborough.

There are many to thank for this outstanding show of vocations support. In addition to the unceasing support from the Serrans, it would have been impossible to host this event without the help and encouragement from both the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Women’s League. The organizing team is very grateful to them. Many of our diocesan parishes participated and many brought altar servers and potential vocation prospects.

Lastly, the support of our two main sponsors was much appreciated. Novalis, the largest Catholic publishing house in Canada and Catholic Cemeteries & Funeral Services – Archdiocese of Toronto who both provided much appreciated support for the evening event.

The Ordinandi Dinner continues to receive the support and encouragement of Serra International and we have been honoured to host the Presidents of Serra International who have travelled from far away places globally to witness firsthand these well-known vocations phenomena in Serra and to offer congratulations to both the Ordinandi and their parents. This year, the President of Serra International, Greg Schwietz from Omaha, Nebraska attended and spoke to the gathering about the importance of prayer for vocations. We were pleased to welcome past presidents of Serra International Michael Bragg (Toledo, Ohio) Dennis Lieber (Grand Rapids, Michigan), Dan Grady (Grand Rapids, Michigan), John Gennaro (Toronto, Ontario) and Mario Biscardi (Toronto, Ontario) all of whom honoured us with their presence.

The Ordinandi Dinner is an event intended to raise awareness and not necessarily to raise funds. A modest surplus of approximately $25,000 was achieved and this was distributed toSt. Augustine’s Seminary, Redemptoris Mater Seminary, the Office of Catholic Youth and the Office of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Toronto.

The Ordinandi Dinner and Youth Event are both hallmarks of the vocation awareness effort within the Archdiocese of Toronto and provide a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and thank our Ordinandi as well as exposing our Catholic youth to the true meaning of a religious vocation.

We are grateful for the support and encouragement received from Cardinal Collins, our Auxiliary Bishops Boissonneau, Nguyen, Kasun and Camilleri as well as everyone within the Archdiocese. We extend our appreciation to St. Augustine’s Seminary, Redemptoris Mater Seminary, Serra House, the Office of Catholic Youth, the Office of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Toronto the Newman Centre and to the many faithful, some young and some not so young, who, every year, show their support and encouragement for vocations to religious life by attending.

We look forward to March 19, 2024 when we will be hosting the 34th Annual Ordinandi Dinner and the 10th Annual Ordinandi Youth Event under the continuing guidance and protection of our patron saint, St. Junipero Serra and our Blessed Mother.