Seminarians deal with the same difficulties and setbacks in life as anyone: they have car problems, they struggle with moral choices, they have to work hard at study and prayer, they have trouble with family members. They also have some difficulties which are particular to their status as seminarians: they don't have regular paid jobs, and their vocational discernment isn't always well accepted by family and friends.
Unless you're close to seminarians, you may not know their needs and the best ways to support them. But the need for support of various types is real, and it is important that, as a diocese, we are doing everything we can to help the men who are studying today to be our priests tomorrow.
Here are some of the best ways that you can give real support to your seminarians:
Praying for seminarians may be the most obvious means of support, and is definitely the most important. If you don't already have one (or a few) specific seminarians to pray for, choose one and pray for him daily. You can see all of our seminarians or on our website.
Remember that seminarians are preparing to bring Jesus to the world for the rest of their lives – and the devil will do whatever he can to prevent a man from following through with that goal! Our seminarians need as much prayer as we can give them. Please remember them daily in your prayers!
Personal Contact and Encouragement
It may be difficult to relate to seminarians if it seems like they live in such a separate world. But remember, because these men are giving up their own personal goals in order to live their lives for Jesus and His people, we should be giving them a lot of respect and attention. While we shouldn't place them on a pedestal as if they are in some way better than others, we should be careful not to ignore them or shy away from them. They need personal contact and encouragement from all members of the Church whom they may one day be serving as priests!
A practical way of encouragement is a warm reception when they return home or are assigned to your parish. Even a handshake and mention of your prayers can go a long way.
If you know a seminarian personally, a great way to support him is to send an occasional letter or card while he's studying at the seminary. These little points of contact can do a lot to encourage a seminarian!
Are you aware that seminarians aren't able to have regular jobs? Seminary schedules just don't allow time for seminarians to work because they are concerned with formation of the whole man. Unlike regular university students, most of a seminarian's day is occupied, leaving no opportunity for a job. Sure, some are able to work during the summer, or have limited jobs around the seminary, but what little they earn must last the whole year!
Think how difficult it can be for a man who does not come to seminary with a large savings to keep up with the basics – car costs, clothing, school books, and any personal things must be paid for by the seminarian himself. If he has to worry too much about these things, it can distract him from his priestly formation.
Anyone who is interested in helping support seminarians financially can contact my office. Donations can be put toward personal needs or toward the general seminarian fund to help pay for the costs of education.
God Cannot Be Outdone In Generosity
Whatever ways you are able to help support your seminarians, remember that God rewards those who are generous, and will not be outdone in generosity - especially toward those who are generous to the men who are responding directly to His call to discern the priesthood!
Calling all discerning men...
Learn about the priesthood...
Vespers at 5pm followed by dinner with Bishop LaValley.
Thank you for helping promote vocations in the Diocese of Ogdensburg! Your work and prayers are greatly appreciated. ________
If you know a young man who is interested in the priesthood, please encourage him to contact us. Likewise, if you are aware of a young woman or man who is discerning religious life, please send them our way. We'll help connect them with respective religious communities. And of course, let us keep praying for each other and for all holy vocations in the Church.