La Prise de Soutane

The taking of the cassock is the climax of the year for the first-year seminarians. It takes place every year on 2 February, the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple and the Purification of Our Lady and is followed by several days of celebration to mark the official first step of the seminarian towards the priesthood.

This year, Mr. Bernard Bevan was among the seminarians of St. Curé D'Ars Seminary, Flavigny, France. He was joined by his entire family, except for his sister Bridget, who is a postulant with the Domincans at Brignoles.

In contrast to the exterior joy that the event occasioned, the feast brings to mind the words of Simeon to Our Lady: "Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted." (Lk 2:34).

Wearing the cassock in the world makes the seminarian or cleric be a sign of contradiction to the world; some will greet him with great joy while others will show their hatred for God. The abandonment of the cassock in the Modern Church is a clear indication of the changing role of the modern clergy; action before prayer, man before God, conformity to the world rather than converting the world to God.

After the Pontifical High Mass, 14 young, newly robed seminarians mingled self-consciously with their families and friends. Hot mulled wine was served to ward off the effects of the damp cold that habitually envelops the seminary and, before long, a splendid meal was announced. Pontifical Vespers and Benediction took place later in the afternoon, such that, by early evening, after the weeks of preparation and the sleepless night before the ceremony, everyone eagerly looked forward to the warm comfort of their beds!

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