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serra international logoSerra Promotion And Resource Kit
For Vocation Directors and Vocation Promoters


#01 Adopt A Seminarian

Watch Video Introduction


Many dioceses around the country have brought about special programs—often called ‘Adopt a Seminarian’ or some derivation thereof—to accomplish the aim of supporting priests-in-training at the parish level.

These programs vary in their operational specifics; however, one rather common format involves dioceses asking their respective parishes to encourage their families and schools to pick a seminarian from their diocese for whom to pray and with whom to correspond on a regular basis.

Adopt a Seminarian programs are not necessarily limited to spiritual support for priests-in-training.  In some cases, Adopt a Seminarian programs include means of supporting seminarians both spiritually (prayer) and materially (such basic living needs as toiletries and laundry items).  In other cases, similar programs even provide financial assistance to seminarians.

Program Outline

  • Adopt-a-Seminarian
    • Parish-level programs
      • Designed to support priests-in-training
  • Programs vary in operational details
    • One common format is as follows:
      • Having parish families and schools pick a seminarian and pray for them and correspond with them
  • Programs not necessarily limited to spiritual support
    • Some programs support seminarians with material needs and even provide financial assistance


01 adopt a seminarian implement graphic

Using Serrans / Volunteers

Serrans could be relied upon for such things as purchasing toiletries and laundry items to be sent to seminarians.

Prayer for seminarians is important and volunteers should be solicited for prayer commitments.

Program History, Development, and Additional Resources

Encouraging men who are studying for the priesthood is a key component of supporting vocations.  Many dioceses around the country have brought about special programs, often called ‘Adopt a Seminarian’—or some derivation thereof—to accomplish this aim.

Adopt a Seminarian programs vary in scope and specifics of operation, but one relatively common way of proceeding in these programs can be seen in the example provided by the Archdiocese of Saint Louis (MO), which encourages all families—and also its parochial elementary schools and secondary schools—to choose a seminarian whom they will “spiritually adopt” and pray for (and also correspond with) on a regular basis.

In tying its ‘Adopt a Seminarian’ program into its similarly structured ‘Adopt a Priest’ program, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis (MO) writes the following basic instructions for use in local Catholic schools:

Choose a seminarian and/or priest for each classroom

  • Pray daily for your seminarian and for seminarians throughout the world (Mass, rosary, [Holy] our,
    Adoration, our own words, etc.)
  • Send a note, picture, or card on special feast days or holidays
  • Pray about and ponder your own personal vocational call

Adopt a Seminarian programs are not necessarily limited to spiritual support for priests-in-training.  The program at one particular parish within the Ft. Wayne-South Bend (IN) diocese, for example, provides both spiritual and material bolstering for diocesan seminarians.  Interested parishioners would, after attending Mass, receive information sheets for each diocesan seminarian—sheets which would, among other things, list that person’s housing-related needs, such as laundry and toiletry items; parishioners could then send the items along to their ‘adopted’ seminarian at the seminary.  In another case, at a parish in Louisiana, the lay faithful invite seminarians into their homes for meals, games, and Christian fellowship.  These expansions of the Adopt a Seminarian concept have been warmly received by both the laity and the seminarians of the dioceses involved.

Other Resources

Resource from Vianney Vocations

Article from the National Catholic Register about the Adopt a Seminarian program’s success in a large archdiocese:

Every summer, St. Catherine of Siena in Ft. Thomas, Ky., hosts a seminarian while he is on break. This gives him an opportunity to interact with the parish and work with the clergy staff.

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