How to Organize School Visits by Seminarians

Did you ever consider bringing in a seminarian or religious to your parish school to meet with students?  It’s an idea that can lead to increased vocation discernment within your school.

Serra Participation

  • Coordinating visits with seminary / religious community leaders
  • Providing transportation to and from school for seminarian / religious

Summary

Within a Catholic scholastic environment, seminarian and religious visits can be extremely important in sparking vocations within students.

Among the first steps in organizing such a visit is determining what organization to contact.  Choosing between seminarians from an area diocesan seminary or religious from an area religious order community—or both—is a starting point, as is finding the proper contact person.

Determining the venue and audience are also critical steps in organizing visits.  There are many ways of going about this:  options include all-school assemblies, grouping a few classes or single-classroom presentations/discussions.

Holding such visits during special events within the academic year—such as Vocation Day events—can be an ideal approach.

Bishop Barron visiting a school during Catholic Schools Week.

Program Outline

  • Seminarian and religious visits to Catholic schools can be extremely important to sparking vocations within students
  • Organizing visits
  • Initial steps include whom to reach out to…
    • Religious?
    • Seminarians?
    • Both?
    • …and contact person through whom to extend invitation
  • Venue and audience
    • All-school assembly
    • Single classroom
    • Other
  • Consider holding visits during special academic year events such as Vocation Day

During the School Year

Lead Time 5-6 Months

Low Effort

Low Cost

Program History and Development

For many students, the visits of seminarians to schools are the students’ first in-person meeting with a seminarian.  These visits—and those from members of religious orders—can be extremely important in sparking vocations.

Certainly, the first step in organizing such visits is to decide what organization to call.  There are seminaries and religious orders that have sections of their websites dedicated to the facilitation of such visits (i.e., they list the contact information of one of the institution’s leaders, etc.)—and some dioceses do this on their website such as the Diocese of Green Bay.

There are several ways in which to have the visitors make their presentations to students and answer their questions.  To maximize the time of both visitors and students, it’s a good idea to at least consider holding an all-school assembly or large group presentations.  In this way, the visiting seminarians/religious can present to a large number of students, plus have a general question-and-answer session with the assembled students afterward.  If presentation to a more specific group is what’s required, then the visitors could be invited to a single classroom for a more informal talk with the designated group of students (for example, a theology class at a high school).  These are but two ideas; there are many other ways to go about this.

Planning the visit around special days within a school year can be an ideal approach.  For example, in 2016, a Catholic grade school in suburban Atlanta held a Vocations Day for fifth-grade students from throughout the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and, during that day, area seminarians were on hand to speak to the students.  One of the schools whose students participated went on to ‘spiritually adopt’ the seminarians, sending them items such as letters and cards.

Resources

Reference Materials:

Page from website of the Archdiocese of Miami with coverage of seminarians’ visit with area 5th graders.
Seminarians’ Visit with 5th Graders

Article from The Catholic Connection (LA) with coverage of visits of priest, sisters, and seminarians to area Catholic schools.
The Catholic Connection (LA) Article

““Let us face the vocations challenge with that equanimity and realism which take into account the
effectiveness of prayer,
and which are never devoid of supernatural hope.”

Pope St. John Paul II