Showing support for future priests studying in the seminary can be done with a simple dose of hospitality, local faithful say.
Mary Vulcani and her husband, Steve, of St. Joseph Church in Golden want to support the young men studying to serve the Church, even with the most basic of needs, like visiting their home for good company and a warm meal.
“The seminary is very close to my heart. I think forming priests is the most important job out there,” said Mary Vulcani from her Lakewood home. “We just take the seminarians in for a meal and give them a night that feels like they’re at home.”
It’s a kind of “spiritual parenting,” Vulcani said, talking about her and her husband’s supportive role to seminarians.
Other Denver-area couples and families are adopting the same practice, giving seminarians a chance to feel at home and learn what it may be like to visit parishioners’ homes as priests.
Seminarian Adam Bradshaw, originally from Houston, has appreciated the chance to go to several families’ homes for dinner, including the Vulcani family.
“It’s such a great joy,” he said. “It is nice to have families who invite you over. It gets us out of the seminary in a different environment.”
For any seminarian away from home, it’s an opportunity to share their lives, a good laugh and delicious food.
“We relax, we tell stories and it’s fun,” Vulcani said.
Last weekend, six seminarians from the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver arrived at the Vulcani home the evening of Nov. 9 while their meal was being prepared. They sipped on drinks and caught up on the latest news in their lives.
“We talk about how great the night is and how we want to support them,” Vulcani said.
Then they sat down to a decorated table topped with grilled steak, twice-baked potatoes and roasted vegetables.
“Everything is really nicely set up,” Bradshaw said. “It’s just a great time to have conversation and eat good food.”
Their studies or latest efforts are mentioned over dinner, such as learning to hear confessions. And their evening is filled with chatter about everyday life. They end the night around 7 p.m. so they may return in time for evening prayer.
The dinners bring a benefit to not only the seminarians, but to the hosts.
“At the end of the night, I feel nourished,” said Vulcani, who added that their two sons are away for college. “You’re just with these amazing young men who are going to be doing amazing things. It feels like a very spiritually-fulfilling evening.”
She said it isn’t meant to be charity.
“This is another tangible way to support seminarians, and they love it,” she said. “They don’t owe us anything. We’re just making them dinner.”
Support local seminarians
One way to show support for seminarians is through the Annual Seminary Appeal. Seminarians continue to visit parishes across the archdiocese to seek donations that help support the operating funds of the two seminaries: St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary. The appeal is crucial to forming seminarians and ensuring there are priests in the Church to provide the sacraments for future generations.
Donate: By cash, check or credit card
Questions: Call 303-282-3441