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A seminarian from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, studying with the Deaf Apostolate in the Archdiocese of Boston, is finishing up his pastoral year. Paul Zirimenya, who is deaf, studied with Father Michael Medas, director of the apostolate, helping with reconciliation, baptism, anointing of the sick, marriage preparation and funeral preparation.
"My life really revolves around the sacramental life of the Church," he said with Father Medas as interpreter. "That ministry gives me a picture of my calling."
The experience that he received will help him connect third and forth year theology studies with concrete experiences when he heads back to San Francisco next fall, he said.
Zirimenya, who has understandable speech, lived at Holy Family Parish in Concord and communicated with hearing parishioners there. This experience helped him to become a better verbal reader and gave him practical experience with being “a bridge between the hearing and deaf communities,” he said.
Father Tom Daly, the vocation director for San Francisco, called Zirimenya’s opportunity to study in Boston “providential.”
"We could not provide the variant of experience," he said, noting that Zirimenya's experience will help him to enrich the Archdiocese of San Francisco when he returns. "It's a commitment Boston and San Francisco have made to serve the deaf community in a very pastoral way."
"He certainly has given a lot to us," added Father Medas.