During the 36 years of its existence, the major seminary in the Diocese of Ibarra in northern Ecuador has already produced 172 priests. Now, another 46 young men are studying at the seminary, which is dedicated to Our Lady of Good Hope. They, too, hope one day to be able to serve as priests at the altar of the Lord.
These future priests not only train at the seminary and at the local university, but are encouraged from the beginning to engage in pastoral work in the parishes and so get to know the needs of the ordinary people. Already in the first year of their studies they regularly visit homes for the elderly and the children’s homes, as well as prisons.
At the same time, these seminarians help in the parishes in the youth and family apostolate, train the altar servers and give catechetical instruction. Every year they also visit the parishes of the diocese on a “Seminary Open Day” and engage with any young people who might also be contemplating serving God one day as priests.
These meetings and other activities represent a precious contribution to the vocations apostolate in the diocese, since the personal testimony of the seminarians themselves is an excellent way of encouraging other young people to think about their own future vocation and perhaps find the courage to pursue it.
The people of the Diocese of Ibarra are 90% Catholic and deeply rooted in their faith and Catholic traditions. The parishes regularly provide food for the seminary and support it with whatever the local people can spare. Of course this support is nowhere near enough to cover the cost of training the seminarians who, in addition to their board and lodging, also need books and teaching materials, help with travel costs into the parishes, medical care, clothing, electricity and so much more besides.
The seminary rector has turned to us once again for help, as so often in the past, and we have promised $18,200 to support the training of these 46 seminarians for the current academic year.
Will you give to support the training of these future priests in Ecuador? We are sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.
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