The CNS blog has two posts and links to seminarians spending summers in parishes. Dioceses like Phoenix and St Petersburg are typical. I’ve enjoyed many friendships and colleagues from twenty years in parish ministry. But it got me wondering.
Why just summers? A few seminarians I know had an entire year to serve a parish–it was part of their formation. And that got me wondering a bit more.
Maybe the seminary academic year is bass ackward.
It’s relatively easy to be a parish minister in the summer. Sure, you spend lots of time planning, and you get the occasional crush of misfortune, like five funerals in four days followed up with a wedding or two thrown in with a weekend of Masses.
But think about it, especially you seminary rectors out there …
Why do we train seminarians during a secular academic year? Why wouldn’t they attend classes May through November, and get an annual parish assignment for Advent through Pentecost? Large dioceses with universities could enroll seminarians part-time in a class or two during the parish assignments. Perhaps to study business administration or music or other electives useful to priest formation. The parishes would get help when they need it the most. Children and teens would interact with seminarians when they are the most busy in parish life. And the students would see how parishes really function, not when liturgy and other activities get minimal for the summer months.
What do the lay people think?