The ‘Adopt-a-Seminarian’ program develops a bond between seminarians and parishioners, as they encourage, pray for, and assist with the spiritual and material needs of the seminarians. The parishioners work together to encourage, pray for, and assist with the spiritual and material needs of the seminarians. The “Adopt-a-Seminarian” program is a great way for families to become involved in supporting vocations.

Serra Participation

  • Serrans can correspond with seminarians to give them support and strength to persevere in their vocations.
  • Prayer for seminarians is important and volunteers should be solicited for prayer commitments to individual seminarians.
  • Serrans can help parishes organize “Adopt-a-Seminarian” programs.


The “Adopt-a-Seminarian” program develops a spiritual bond between individuals or families and a seminarian.

Program Outline

Many dioceses around the country have initiated special programs—called “Adopt-a-Seminarian” or a derivation thereof—to accomplish the aim of supporting priests-in-training at the parish level.  Those programs vary in their operational specifics; however, one common format involves dioceses asking their parishes to encourage their families and schools to pick a seminarian from their diocese for whom they will pray for and correspond with on a regular basis.  ‘Adopt-a-Seminarian’ programs are not limited to spiritual support for priests-in-training.

In some cases, “Adopt-a-Seminarian” programs include supporting seminarians both spiritually (prayer) and materially (such basic living needs as toiletries and laundry items).  In other cases, the programs provide financial assistance to seminarians.  This material support should be provided in accordance with the protocols of, and in coordination with, the seminary.

Best in Early Fall

Lead Time 2-3 months

Low Effort

Low Cost

Program History, Development, and Additional Resources

Encouraging men who are studying for the priesthood is a key component of supporting vocation.

‘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 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.

Tying its ‘Adopt-a-Seminarian’ program into its ‘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 hour, 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

‘Adopt-a-Seminarian’ programs are not necessarily limited to spiritual support for priests-in-training.  The program at one particular parish within the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend (IN), 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.

Parish VocationsFrom the National Catholic Register: “St. John Vianney, who served in a small parish in post-revolution France and whom the Holy Father has declared the patron of all priests, sums up the priesthood’s place in the Church so well: “ ‘Without the sacrament of holy orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest — always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest. … After God, the priest is everything! … Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is.’ ”


Reference Materials


Serra Greeting Card for Seminarians Resource from Vianney Vocations

Greeting card for seminarians that expresses encouragement, support, and prayers.

Serra Greeting Card for Seminarians (Set of 5)

greeting card

National Catholic Register

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

Catholic Order of Foresters

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.

Serra SPARK Helpers©

  Coming soon!

“Behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or to the consecrated life there is always the strong and intense prayer of someone: a grandmother, a mother, a father, a community.”

Pope Francis