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Many dioceses around the country have brought about special programs—often called 'Adopt a Seminarian' or some derivation thereof—to accomplish the aim of supporting priests-in-training at the parish level.
These programs vary in their operational specifics; however, one rather common format involves dioceses asking their respective parishes to encourage their families and schools to pick a seminarian from their diocese for whom to pray and with whom to correspond on a regular basis.
Adopt a Seminarian programs are not necessarily limited to spiritual support for priests-in-training. In some cases, Adopt a Seminarian programs include means of supporting seminarians both spiritually (prayer) and materially (such basic living needs as toiletries and laundry items). In other cases, similar programs even provide financial assistance to seminarians.
Serrans could be relied upon for such things as purchasing toiletries and laundry items to be sent to seminarians.
Prayer for seminarians is important and volunteers should be solicited for prayer commitments.
Encouraging men who are studying for the priesthood is a key component of supporting vocations. Many dioceses around the country have brought about special programs, often called 'Adopt a Seminarian'—or some derivation thereof—to accomplish this aim.
Adopt a Seminarian programs vary in scope and specifics of operation, but one relatively common way of proceeding in these programs can be seen in the example provided by the Archdiocese of Saint Louis (MO), which encourages all families—and also its parochial elementary schools and secondary schools—to choose a seminarian whom they will “spiritually adopt” and pray for (and also correspond with) on a regular basis.
In tying its 'Adopt a Seminarian' program into its similarly structured 'Adopt a Priest' program, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis (MO) writes the following basic instructions for use in local Catholic schools:
Choose a seminarian and/or priest for each classroom
Adopt a Seminarian programs are not necessarily limited to spiritual support for priests-in-training. The program at one particular parish within the Ft. Wayne-South Bend (IN) diocese, for example, provides both spiritual and material bolstering for diocesan seminarians. Interested parishioners would, after attending Mass, receive information sheets for each diocesan seminarian—sheets which would, among other things, list that person's housing-related needs, such as laundry and toiletry items; parishioners could then send the items along to their 'adopted' seminarian at the seminary. In another case, at a parish in Louisiana, the lay faithful invite seminarians into their homes for meals, games, and Christian fellowship. These expansions of the Adopt a Seminarian concept have been warmly received by both the laity and the seminarians of the dioceses involved.
Article from The Catholic Connection, the monthly publication of the Diocese of Shreveport (LA); the article contains an inset PDF document (just click on it, and it will appear full-screen) which pictures all 8 of the diocese's seminarians from a recent academic year AND their home parishes, seminary of attendance, and other information for parish correspondence purposes; could be a good best-practice idea for a document to distribute in your parish as part of a new Adopt a Priest program:
PowerPoint presentation (in PDF form) from the Diocese of St. Petersburg (FL) focusing on 'Creating a Culture of Vocations' at the parish level; includes a slide regarding adopting seminarians; could be a good resource for overall vocations promotion at the parish level:
Page from the Diocese of Oakland (CA) with a list of seminarians—their names are all linked to prayer cards designed specifically for each of them; these cards were distributed within the Diocese for use in its Adopt a Seminarian effort:
Article from the National Catholic Register about the Adopt a Seminarian program's success in a large archdiocese:
Adopt a Seminarian page from the website of the Catholic Women's Group of Charlotte (NC) with directions for school participation:
Adopt a Seminarian page from the website of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, which contains ideas on how the laity can support seminarians:
SPARK: Built by Serrans for Vocation Directors.
A service of Serra International, United States Council, in collaboration with the NCDVD.