Changing the Future of Our Church One Seminarian at a Time

Amid social unrest around the world, many future Church leaders are dedicating their lives to serving their communities in need -- one of them is Nilan, a 21-year-old seminarian from Sri Lanka.

Raised along with two brothers and a family member with a disability, Nilan saw at a young age what it was like for someone to be left on society's margins because of their life challenges. This early lesson in compassion drew Nilan closer to his family and his faith.

Amid an economic collapse, his island country is currently plagued by political unrest. Nilan has witnessed the effects of this tumult on his family, neighbors, and his fellow citizens. It has made him more determined than ever to make a difference in their lives by saying "Yes!" to God's call to the priesthood. He has entered formation at Saint Aloysius Seminary in the capital city of Colombo.

With the support of The Society of St. Peter Apostle, one of our four Pontifical Mission Societies, Nilan and his classmates have remained dedicated to their studies despite fuel and food shortages. According to the rector of the seminary, this means that they are sometimes carrying on without instructors who have no fuel for transport or electricity for online classes.

Nilan hopes that through his dedication to God, he can help serve the needs of his com¬munity. He says, "I wish to help them overcome their struggles and to sufficiently fulfill their a priest, one day I hope that I should approach them and lead them to Jesus."

As Nilan and his brother seminarians persevere, their country's hardships increase. According to The World Bank, Sri Lanka's poverty level has doubled -- from 13.1 percent of the population to 25.6 percent in just one year. This increases the number of people living in poverty by 2.7 million.

The support from The Society of St. Peter Apostle, sent to crisis spots like this through¬out the missions, is critical for current and future seminarians to serve their communities as clergy, particularly when it is needed most.

Please commit to praying for Nilan, and thousands of mission seminarians who rely on the blessing of your support and are sustained by your prayers. Perhaps, dedicate the intentions of one Mass a month to them. Your material generosity will be of great help during this crucial time in the lives of the eventual leaders of our Church. Consider investing $4,200 to support a seminarian for the full six years of his formation -- a $700 a year scholarship.

Your gift, at any level, will help to change the future of our Church.

- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.