The 34th Annual Ordinandi Dinner was held on Tuesday March 19, 2024 at Pearson Convention Center and we once again continued with the tradition of honouring the Ordinandi at St. Augustine’s Seminary and Redemptoris Missionary Seminary in Toronto.

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The Ordinandi Class of 2024 was comprised of eight men, all graduates of St. Augustine’s Seminary and all about to dedicate their lives to the service of our Church and selecting as their theme, Fiat mihi secundum verbuum tuum which translates to “Let it be done to me according to Thy word” (Luke 1:38) 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 1,831 supporters from the Archdiocese of Toronto and surrounding areas who gathered to celebrate the amazing vocation journey messages of these committed servants of our Good Lord.

St. Augustine’s Seminary assumed sponsorship for the event which continues to be hosted under the auspices of the Toronto Central Serra Club with the full support of the other five Serra Clubs in the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Vocations Office, the Office of Catholic Youth and our Catholic educators.

The Archdiocese of Toronto’s Pastoral Plan urges us all to adopt, support and encourage a “culture of vocations” in our community. 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.

This year, we welcomed His Grace Francis Leo, Archbishop of Toronto, who provided a wonderful and inspiring welcoming address to the 1831 patrons of the Dinner.

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 also marked the 12th annual Ordinandi Youth Event held the morning of the Ordinandi Dinner and attended by 828 high school students from 66 Catholic high schools across the Archdiocese of Toronto. We are grateful to our Catholic teachers, chaplains and educators for the efforts in helping us to bring together 828 high school students to hear the vocation stories of one of our Ordinandi and that of a religious consecrated nun. Students from the Toronto, Dufferin-Peel, Durham, Simcoe, French Catholic and York Catholic District School Boards as well as Catholic independent schools attended, accompanied by teachers, chaplains and staff from their respective Boards and schools. Our hope and prayer is that a few of these students will be inspired by the amazing vocation journey messages from the Ordinandi and a consecrated religious nun and will be motivated to take steps to discern a possible vocation to the religious life.

Also noteworthy is the attendance by 260 university-age young adults as a result of our Vocations Awareness program including those associated with Serra House, Office of Catholic Youth and with the Office of Vocations in our Archdiocese. We are grateful to the Chaplaincy Teams who accompanied these young adults including representatives from the Office of Catholic Youth, the Newman Centre and the Vocations Office for the Archdiocese of Toronto and from 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. Additionally, we are very grateful to the amazing support from a record high number of Parishes that.

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 each year to host the President of Serra International. This year, the President of Serra International, Kurt Metyko from Houston, Texas, attended. We were pleased to welcome the Past Presidents of Serra International, Michael Bragg, from Toledo, Ohio, 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 however, through the generosity of our patrons and sponsors who donated about $35,000, a net surplus of $53,000 was achieved and this was distributed to St. Augustine’s Seminary, Redemptoris Mater Seminary, the Office of Catholic Youth and the Office of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Toronto.

We are grateful for the support and encouragement received from Archbishop Francis Leo, 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 Missionary Seminary, Serra House, the Office of Catholic Youth, the Office of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Toronto and Diocese of Peterborough, the 8 Campus Ministry Catholic Chaplaincy Teams that attended, Newman Centre and to the many faithful, 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 18, 2025 when we will be hosting the 35th Annual Ordinandi Dinner and the 13th Annual Ordinandi Youth Event under the continuing guidance and protection of our patron saint, St. Junipero Serra and our Blessed Mother.