Ten years ago, I would never have guessed I would be on Facebook. The internet age has provided us a way to communicate with others all over the world. When I first joined Facebook I assumed it would be a way to see family pictures of grandkids and that’s about all, but I have found many fellow Catholics who share my love of our Church on that site. There are also countless pages dedicated to our faith.
It was in February of this year that I saw a post from one of those pages with several comments from others. One comment caught my attention and I “liked” the comment. It was posted by a young seminarian in Uganda, and that day we became friends. We started communicating frequently and I learned a lot within a few weeks.
Uganda is an extremely poor country where the average income is a dollar a day. Very few families have electricity or plumbing in their homes. The country is mostly Catholic, and families raise their children in the faith starting at a very young age. Many vocations to the priesthood are the result of frequent, usually daily, family mass attendance. However, seminary education is about 10 years of formation. It is not free, although very reasonable in cost compared to America. Families struggle to assist their sons, and some cannot pay.
My new friend had been in seminary for several years and “cost sharing” had more than doubled recently. It was doubtful his family would be able to pay the higher cost. I decided to become his sponsor/benefactor. Since that time, I have gotten to know my young friend very well. We have used Skype several times and I was able to see him as well as other seminarians and the seminary where he studies. I have seen his family and talked to them. I have learned some of his language called Luo- just a few phrases but enough that his mother (who speaks no English) could understand me. I am so happy to assist him to reach the priesthood! He will be a fine priest in a few years. I hope to travel to Uganda for his ordination.
I knew there were many more seminarians needing assistance, so I decided to start a page on Facebook called “Adopt a Catholic Seminarian.” I posted pictures and a short description of others needing help. I currently have 7 young men listed, and 3 have received offers of partial assistance. There will be more listed as I know of them. The page just serves as a way to introduce the young men to those who may be able to assist. I suggest getting to know each other first.
The cost sharing amount is $250 per semester which averages less than $50 a month. A sponsor can pay all or part of that- any help is greatly appreciated! Any funds are sent directly to the seminarian or to the rector at his seminary.
Do you wonder what you can do to promote the Catholic faith? This is one way to do just that, and it is very rewarding. Please send a message to the “Adopt a Catholic Seminarian” page and I am glad to answer any questions. https://www.