Thursday, 04 August 2011 14:04
Six young men get a couple of weeks of vacation before returning to their seminary
By Christopher M. Riggs
Pittsburg might seem like an odd choice for seminarians to participate in an intensive Spanish language program, but the Southeast Kansas city has a long history of associating itself with many cultures.
Father Michael Simone, director of Vocations for the Diocese of Wichita, said, “the people of Pittsburg have been welcoming the migrant worker since its founding. In fact, during the time of the coal mining, it was said that up to 57 languages were spoken there.”
Being able to immerse the seminarians in such a welcoming atmosphere is helping form their hearts, he said. “The entire city of Pittsburg, and especially the parish, should be proud of the way they not only remember their roots but are continuing to welcome migrants to their community today.”
Fr. Simone said the parish has also been a good location for the seminarians to interact with the migrant population because many of those in the area’s Hispanic community have been living in in the United States for less than a decade.
“The new population – and even the Hispanic ministry – is in some ways in its infancy in this parish,” he said. “With the help of the Missionary Catechists of the Poor and the parish community, who are so welcoming, we also have a perfect environment where the men are able to come into contact with various families, both in the Hispanic community and the Anglo community. It’s really a joint effort, if you will.”
Another reason the program was so successful, Fr. Simone said, was because the university was so open to adapting classes to fit the needs of the seminarians.
“Our men came in with various levels of Spanish and Pittsburg State, being a small regional college, has a limited number of classes that they are able to offer during the summer, but they were eager to welcome our six students and were able to accommodate their needs,” he said. “So it’s been a great fit for them this summer.”
On Wednesday, July 27, the Spanish faculty department hosted a luncheon for the seminarians who completed their work on Friday, July 29. The men will get a couple of weeks of vacation before hitting their theology books back at the seminary around Aug. 15.