Every day, our Mission Family is privileged to hear the stories of many people from the missions. One that struck a chord with us is that of Harrison Banda, a student at Saint Dominic Seminary in Zambia. Harrison is the second of seven children. He describes his family as "staunch Catholics ... peasant farmers who depend on the Providence of God."
Harrison goes on to say, "It becomes heart breaking to parents when they see their child choose to follow Christ as a priest."
Their strong reaction to Harrison's choice of vocation comes from the sad knowledge that his family is unable to help him achieve his goal of serving God's people. Their poverty and the inability of their diocese to pay Harrison's seminary fees means that, unfortunately, they may see their son say "no" to God's calling.
Families of mission seminarians around the world, like Harrison's, thank God for donors to The Society of St. Peter Apostle. You make it possible for every student to receive a yearly grant of $750. This covers roughly half his tuition, room, and board.
This past year has been very hard on mission seminaries. Father Guy Bognon, PSS, Vatican International Secretary General for The Society of St. Peter Apostle, recently noted, "It is clear to everyone that this pandemic has had repercussions on our General Solidarity Fund." Father continued, "Most of the seminaries had to close for several months; some organized distance training courses but were not able to achieve their objectives, since priestly formation is not limited to the intellectual dimension."
Many seminarians could not participate in online courses because of a lack of internet connections at home. They were also unable to engage in local pastoral ministry because of parish closures.
Because of a drastic decrease in funds last year, The Society of St. Peter Apostle has been unable to respond positively to all requests for scholarships and subsidies. Your help is desperately needed.
For about $2 a day over the course of a year, your prayerful generosity allows families in the missions, like Harrison's, to celebrate the good news of their sons' vocation, even during a pandemic.
A month's tuition for a mission seminarian is just $83. If $51 makes sense for your budget, you will provide a seminary student with a textbook; $27 purchases much needed notebooks and pens.
Donate to The Society of St. Peter Apostle today at www.propfaithboston.org and help men answer the call to the priesthood in the missions. Please consider making a monthly pledge towards that goal.
Young men are waiting to say "Yes!" to God.
- Maureen Crowley Heil is Director of Programs and Development for the Pontifical Mission Societies, Boston.
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