Even as classes at the high school drew to a close, my preparations were only beginning. This summer I will return to the Liturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake to resume my studies toward the Licentiate in Sacred Theology.
What follows is the text of a letter that I sent to the parishioners on the Memorial of Saint Catherine of Sienna, 29 April 2006:
I am very much looking forward to my return to studies; I feel I am an academic at heart.
My dear parishioners,
The Lord give you peace! The Lord is risen from the dead! Alleluia, alleluia! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
During my final year of studies and preparation for the priesthood at Mundelein Seminary, I enrolled in the Liturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake and began studies toward a Licentiate in Sacred Theology with an emphasis in sacramental theology (this degree is somewhat higher than a Masters degree). I completed the first year of studies during my final year in the seminary and I now have the second year yet to complete.
With the permission of Bishop Lucas, I have discussed with Msgr. Enlow the possibility of my returning to the Liturgical Institute this summer to resume these studies from June 12th through July 14th, with the aim of completing them in the summer of 2007. Msgr. Enlow has kindly granted me permission to resume these studies this coming June and July.
In my absence, Fr. Carl Schmidt and Fr. Ben Meyer have graciously offered their sacramental ministry to the parish until I return. Please know that my commitments in the parish – particularly weddings – I will keep. As such, I will be back in the parish about every other weekend. Fr. Schmidt and Fr. Meyer will celebrate Masses during the week and on many of the weekends.
I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience my absence may cause, but at the same time I know that these studies will only enhance my future ministry and teaching. I assure you that you will all remain in my prayers while I am away this summer and I ask your continued prayers for me.
As Saint Francis of Assisi encouraged his brothers so I encourage you: Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks to him and serve him with great humility.
Peace and Joy,
The Rev. Daren J. Zehnle