Summer assignment as an instrument to develop my seminarian formation
We as seminarians have the great opportunity to enter into a Parish community during the summer months. I like to compare this experience to that of a summer internship, in which we shadow the Pastor, participate in the life of the parish and work alongside the parish staff. Different from the seminary life, we get to experience first-hand what parish life will look like and we experience the joys of the parish for which we will one day be a part of. It is also a great opportunity to use some of the tools we have learned at Saint John’s in the Parish. This summer I was assigned to the Christ by the Sea Collaborative, the parishes of Saint Anthony’s and Saint Anne’s in Cohasset and Hull Massachusetts. The assignment consisted of eight weeks. During those eight weeks, I participated in all of the morning Masses at both parishes. This was a great way for me to meet the community and also become a part of the community. Greeting people after Mass was one of the great joys of this assignment. Our people are so supportive of seminarians and make us feel at home when we are out at the parishes.
The Pastor, Fr. Scott Euvrard took me to all of his appointments. Some of them consisted of Parish Council meetings, staff meetings, visits with the sick, hospital visits, wedding consultations, wakes and burials and so much more. In these settings, we can learn how to run a parish from the eyes of a well-seasoned Pastor. I was taught how to properly run finances for a collaborative and how to work with and involve staff in every aspect. I learned how to pastorally care for our people who are sick or who are grieving. I learned how to meet with engaged couples, sharing their joy as they prepare to enter into the sacrament of marriage, and learned how to teach them the truths of our faith in a caring way. It was such a joy to witness Baptisms, Marriages, and First Communions. It was also a learning experience to be able to help those who are grieving at the loss of a loved one.
Two of my projects this summer was to organize a procession for the Feast day of Saint Anthony, the parish patron. It was such a joy to be a part of this celebration with this wonderful community. Another project I had was to recognize Grandparents Day, a new day instituted by Pope Francis. I made a video in which I interviewed some of the grandparents in the parish. This was such a joy and a boost in my own faith life. Hearing stories of grandparents and some of the joys and struggles they have gone through in helping to bring up their grandchildren in the faith.
This assignment was a great fit for me. I learned how to use what I have learned so far at Saint John’s Seminary in the life of the parish, I learned how to run a parish in terms of practical matters. Most importantly, I learned first-hand how to be a well-rounded spiritual father to our people. I learned just how much our people need Jesus Christ and how they rely so much on their Priests to help show them the way to God’s love. I am looking forward to my next year of studies at Saint Johns, where I will be able to continue to incorporate what I learn into the life of a parish to where I will be assigned. I wish to thank our Pastors here in Boston who work so hard in their parishes and are so generous in letting us seminarians learn from them.
Reflection by: Mr. Christopher Letizia
Archdiocese of Boston