SOUTH CAROLINA—Six diocesan seminarians have been assigned to serve at parishes during the summer.
In a phone interview with The Miscellany, Father Jeffrey F. Kirby, diocesan vicar for vocations, said the goal of the assignment is to help the men apply what they are learning in a practical way.
“It allows them to see how their studies of theology can take life and be of service to the people of God in a parish,” Father Kirby said.
The assignments are:
Mark Good, rising third year theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., will go to St. Mary Our Lady of Ransom Church in Georgetown.
Matthew Gray, fourth year theology at Mount St. Mary’s, is assigned to St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville.
William Hearne, fourth year theology at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., will go to St. Theresa the Little Flower Church in Summerville.
Roger Morgan, rising second year pre-theology at Mount St. Mary’s, will be sent to St. Michael Church in Garden City.
David Nerbun, fourth year theology at Pontifical North American College in Vatican City State, is assigned to St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton.
Renaurd J. West, rising second year theology at Mount St. Mary’s, will head to St. Mary Help of Christians Church in Aiken.
Five of the six seminarians will be at their assignments from June 1 through Aug. 15. Nerbun will serve June 30 through Aug. 28 because of his academic schedule in Rome.
Father Kirby said Gray, Hearne and Nerbun will be ordained to the transitional diaconate July 16 at St. Joseph Church in Columbia. Candidates for the priesthood must serve at least six months as a deacon before they can be ordained as a priest.
“They’ll start the summer as theology students and finish it as deacons,” he said. “It’s going to be a special time for them.”
Father Kirby said typical summer duties often include helping with adult education, vacation Bible school and Bible studies. Seminarians also frequently visit the sick and the elderly and help with the liturgy.
“They spend time shadowing the pastor and seeking his counsel,” he said. “It’s an important chance to be mentored by the pastor they’re assigned to. Other work can range from Christian formation to pastoral care to social ministry, even things like playing bridge with the senior ladies. It’s a very important assignment because they learn all the aspects of parish life. We can’t allow theology to remain abstract.”
Father Kirby, who is completing studies in Rome, will visit the seminarians during the summer and stay in touch with their assigned pastors. They will meet with him in August to discuss their experiences.
West, a Greenville native, said he is looking forward to his summer in Aiken as a learning experience.
“I want to get to know the people and the area better because it’s the one part of South Carolina I’m really not familiar with,” West said in a phone interview. “I also just want to help in whatever way I can.”