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Help educate future priests

Contribute to the Burse Fund collection this weekend at your parish, or throughout August online

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Erich De Jesus Vazquez, seminarian from St. Dominic Parish, Miami

Photographer: FILE

Erich De Jesus Vazquez, seminarian from St. Dominic Parish, Miami

MIAMI | Erich De Jesus Vazquez wants to be a father. But his family will be very large and very spread out.

“I want to be a priest because I recognize the calling of God the Father to share in his fatherhood through Jesus Christ his Son and our Lord,” said the St. Dominic, Miami, parishioner who will begin his second year of pre-theology in August at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami.

He and two other Miami seminarians who shared their thoughts with the Florida Catholic are three of the reasons Archbishop Thomas Wenski is asking Catholics throughout the archdiocese to contribute generously to the Seminary Burse Fund collection, which will take place the weekend of July 31 and Aug. 1 in all the parishes.

Fritz Anacreon, seminarian from St. Clement Parish, Fort Lauderdale

Photographer: FILE

Fritz Anacreon, seminarian from St. Clement Parish, Fort Lauderdale

The Seminary Burse Fund supports “the work of the seminary and the seminarians, our future priests,” Archbishop Wenski said. Currently, 47 seminarians are studying for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Miami.

The archbishop noted that Pope Francis has designated this the Year of St. Joseph, who “found happiness not in mere self-sacrifice but in self-gift,” as the pope wrote in his letter, Patris Corde.

“In the seminary the future priests learn what it means to be a self-gift. Through the dimensions of formation (human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral) the call from the Lord begins to mature. It is in this maturity where the young men begin to be fathers after the heart of St. Joseph, learning how to trust the one that has placed the call in their hearts,” Archbishop Wenski said. “Your contribution to the annual Seminary Burse Fund will continue the work the seminarians have begun to give of themselves as a gift.”

De Jesus Vasquez echoed the archbishop’s words: “Just as a father provides, protects, and guides his family so too does a priest do the same with his family, the Church. Like a good father, a priest puts food on the table for his family, but this food is the Eucharist, and this table is the altar. Like a good father, a priest also hears the complaints and confessions of his children through the sacrament of reconciliation. I want to be a priest because I want to be a good father.”

The sacrament of confession was uppermost in the mind of John Buonocore, a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Miami who will begin his pastoral year this August — that means he will pause his classroom learning at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach to experience life in a parish.

John Buonocore, seminarian from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Miami

Photographer: FILE

John Buonocore, seminarian from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Miami

“One of the main reasons why I want to be a priest is so that I can celebrate the sacraments,” Buonocore said. “Ever since I was a child, I have felt the Lord calling me to the priesthood through the celebration of the sacraments. I have felt this calling particularly strongly after receiving the sacrament of confession."

Fritz Anacreon, a member of St. Clement Parish in Fort Lauderdale who will enter St. Vincent de Paul Seminary for his first year of theology, said he considers the priesthood “a privilege. A privilege to hold the body and the blood of Christ. He who is the one who invited me to follow him in everything I do. All my childhood I was an altar server, and I had a passion for the service that I provided which has led me to discern the priesthood of Jesus Christ.”

In his letter, Archbishop Wenski asked local Catholics to give generously to the collection and to “commend the seminarians of the archdiocese to the intercession of St. John Vianney and St. Joseph, that they may be good shepherds and good fathers, the very best priests ready to give of themselves to you, their family, as a gift.”

In addition to taking place throughout archdiocesan parishes this weekend, the collection will continue online throughout the month of August. Click here

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