August 20, 2010

Seminarians increase in number, come from a variety of places

By Sean Gallagher

The visit that archdiocesan seminarians made to several programs of Catholic Charities Indianapolis on Aug. 11 came at the end of a three-day convocation at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis. (For more, see our story: Seminarians learn about Catholic Charities programs)

During that time, the seminarians spent time in prayer, listening to spiritual conferences from Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein and the archdiocesan vocations director, Father Eric Johnson, and socializing with one another.

“Being with the seminarians is always life-giving,” said Archbishop Buechlein.

At the start of this academic year, the archdiocese has 29 seminarians, an increase of three from the start of last year. Nine of this year’s seminarians have entered the affiliation process with the archdiocese since the beginning of 2010.

This year’s seminarians come from 17 parishes and seven deaneries across the archdiocese. They are enrolled at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis, Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, and the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

Vincent Jansen is a new seminarian. A member of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, he is a freshman at Bishop Bruté.

“It’s been good just getting to know the other guys,” he said. “It’s very cool to realize that we all come from widespread parts of the archdiocese. But we all come together and are [unified] in prayer. It’s all good fun, good faith and happy times.”

Josh Isaacs is joining Jansen in the freshman class at Bishop Bruté. A member of St. Mary-of-the-Knobs Parish in Floyd County in the New Albany Deanery, he is looking forward to his first year in the seminary.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be a great time,” Isaacs said. “I’ve met a whole bunch of the guys here at the convocation. I can’t wait.”

Most of the archdiocese’s seminarians have lived most of their lives in central and southern Indiana.

Seminarian John Kamwendo, 41, was born in Tanzania in eastern Africa.

Kamwendo, a member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington, had been a seminarian for his home diocese there, but later disaffiliated and came to Indiana University in Bloomington to do graduate studies in special education. It was there that he discerned that God might still be calling him to the priesthood.

He said he enjoyed getting to know his new seminarian brothers.

“They’re very good,” Kamwendo said. “They’re very kind, especially the archbishop. He’s very kind. And Father Eric is very good. Father Bill Stumpf, my parish priest, has done a good job to accommodate me.” †

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