“May your life be filled with love, hope, and happiness as you continue your training. Thank you for your service, and good luck.”This message, addressed to a seminarian named Christopher, is signed by a student named Rachel and includes a drawing of a church.
It’s one of thousands of messages written by Catholic School children as part of the Seminarian Letter Project and sponsored by the New Jersey State Council of the Knights of Columbus.
ABOUT THE SEMINARIAN LETTER PROJECT
Founded in 2000 by John Tirado, the project provides inspiration to seminarians studying throughout the United States and in Rome. It also promotes vocations to the priesthood and strengthens students’ appreciation for the work and study undertaken by those answering the call.
Tirado is a recent recipient of the President’s Award from the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA). In describing the founding of the project, he noted the admiration he has held for priests since childhood and his desire to acknowledge the sacrifice they make on behalf of the Church. The seeds of the project quickly blossomed into a statewide effort. Tirado’s NCEA award has now given the project national exposure and is sure to inspire other Catholic school principals and teachers to adopt something similar.
One of the striking aspects of the project is the hand-to-paper exercise it entails. One seminarian who received letters while on a pastoral assignment described the delightful inclusion of colorful drawings that made the messages all the more inspiring. Each one provided encouragement and was sent with love and gratitude.
We often talk about the importance of pursuing our own vocations but often don’t give much thought to others doing the same. The Seminarian Letter Project is a wonderful show of gratitude for those who have discerned and answered a call to serve others through Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Download a support article about the Seminarian Letter Project to share with catechists and teachers. Article includes examples of letters children have written to seminarians.
LETTER WRITING IDEAS FOR STUDENTS
Taking this same concept, teachers and catechists might encourage their students to write letters to others who are serving out their vocations in various ways. Here are just a few possibilities for writing to…:
… each member of the school faculty or parish staff, acknowledging the commitment they have made to building a community of faith.
… the local bishop and his staff and naming specific ways in which the diocese is supporting the work of Catholic schools and parishes.
… the local Catholic Charities staff in order to thank them for the services they extend to those in need of food, shelter, clothing and counsel.
… a community of women religious who minister in hospitals, schools, retreat centers, and other institutions that provide care, knowledge, and spiritual guidance.
… the parish or diocesan director for ministry to engaged couples, offering prayers and support for those about to enter into a lifelong commitment of love and devotion.
…For teachers and catechists. Find more ways to promote and support vocations with children and their families.
May 7th is the Worldwide Day of Prayer for Vocations. Download my Prayer for Vocations and share it in your parish, school, and households.
Download an article about the Seminarian Letter Project to share with catechists and teachers. This download includes samples of letters written by children to seminarians.
Hundreds of Catholic school and religious education students penned (and crayoned) letters to seminarians around the country to offer their support and prayers for their ministry. Photo courtesy of John Tirado