By KATIE BORKOWSKI
For the second year, the Diocese of Sioux City Seminarian Appeal is seeking support for the shepherds of the 21st century.
“This appeal seeks support for the St. Joseph Education Society Fund, of which the seminarians are one beneficiary as it also supports the on-going education of our priests and the formation of our permanent deacons,” explained Father Shane Deman, vocations director for the diocese. “The appeal was begun at the request of the St. Joseph Education Society in order to help increase funds for the ongoing education and formation of our clergy.”
The Seminarian Appeal began last year and enjoyed great success with more than 700 donors participating, the priest pointed out.
“I am sincerely grateful for their generosity as we could not continue our formation efforts without such support,” said Father Deman in the brochure sent to parishioners. “As we begin this year’s Seminarian Appeal know of my gratitude for your generosity and your continued prayers of our current and future clergy. Your contributions help us form worthy shepherds for the people of northwest Iowa.”
The goal of the Seminarian Appeal is $150,000. Parishioners should have received a brochure from the diocese about the appeal including a tear-off portion to mail into the diocese.
Father Deman encouraged diocesan parishioners to participate because “an investment in our clergy formation is a gift that will extend well beyond one’s lifetime, as the fruits of future ministry can reach generations of Catholics to come.”
There are currently 10 seminarians studying for the diocese, including two new seminarians – Jack Waters of Spirit Lake St. Mary and Elliot McLarty of Sioux City Holy Cross. The vocations director commented the seminarians have been involved in parish assignments or language studies this summer.
“Those working in parishes are able to begin pastoral ministry on a limited basis and come to understand how parishes are administered,” said Father Shane.
Donations to the Seminarian Appeal may be mailed to the Diocese of Sioux City, or can be made online through www.scdiocese.org.
For the second summer, seminarians took part in the Quo Vadis Discernment Retreat. High school and college age men are invited from across the diocese to attend the discernment retreat “to deepen their understanding of their own vocation,” said Father Deman.
Held at West Lake Okoboji, both at the Vianney House and at St. Joseph Parish in Milford, anyone who wants to attend is invited to the retreat that was held the first weekend in August. Throughout the retreat, there are prayer opportunities, discernment talks, small group discussions, outdoor games and activities and evening bonfires. Bishop Walker Nickless attended for the closing Mass on Sunday.
The main purpose of the retreat, noted Father Deman, is “to help men discern their vocations through shared fraternity and mutual prayer. Our lives are often so busy, retreats are necessary to step away and give God time in silence.”
“I hope these men were able to develop skills to listen more closely to the voice of the Lord and recognize that in coming together, they are not alone discerning a potential religious vocation,” said the priest. “They were also invited to join our diocesan discernment group as a follow-up to this retreat experience.”
Those wishing to follow the progress of the seminarians can do so through the vocations social media accounts – Diocese of Sioux City Office of Vocations on Facebook and @PadreSh