Seminarians on the Go

If you were looking for a college seminarian during spring break, you would not have found them on the beach or vacationing far from home. Instead, you would have found them in the classrooms of elementary and high schools across the Archdiocese of St. Louis speaking about vocations and encouraging the young men and women in our Catholic schools to open their hearts to the call of Christ.

In a spirit of generosity the seminarians of Cardinal Glennon College Seminary returned to the seminary three days early to prepare themselves for Vocation Days, an opportunity to take the invitation of Christ directly to the students in the classroom. The idea, created by Msgr. Timothy Cronin, Rector of Cardinal Glennon College Seminary, allowed the seminarians to reflect on their own vocation story and share it with students in the classroom. It also allowed the seminarians to plant the seeds of a vocation in the hearts of hundreds of young men and women.

Msgr. Edward Rice, Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of St. Louis was overwhelmed by the response from principals and DRE's. "I just started calling the different parishes I have not been able to visit this year and within two days I had twenty-four schools on board. We had to juggle some schedules, but everyone was so cooperative." And the results were outstanding. "I had principals calling me before the seminarians were back asking to be put on the list for next year", said Msgr. Rice. "I thought, 'Next year! We have to finish the program for this year first!'"

Principal Nancy Haselhorst from St. Michael in Shrewbury, some six blocks from the seminary, was thrilled with the visit from the seminarians. "They did an outstanding job. They were articulate, outgoing and made a great impression on the students." Principal Kathy Anger, St. John the Baptist in south St. Louis was equally pleased with the seminarians. "It was good for our students to see young men saying "yes" to the priesthood."

And the seminarians themelves found the experience rewarding as well. Conor Sullivan, a junior in the college program, spent two days at St. Francis Borgia in Washington, his alma mater. "It was exhausting to be in the classroom all day. I came away with a deep appreciation for our Catholic teachers. And, at the same time, I was so energized to see the openess of the students. Who knows, maybe by asking the students to open their hearts to the call of Christ, we planted some seeds for future priests and religious."

Will Vocation Days become an annual event? "The seminarians were excited by the positive reaction of the students, the principals were pleased and we were able to speak directly to an estimated 600 students. It was a win-win situation for everyone. I think Vocation Days will be back next year," said Msgr. Rice.