The priesthood requires the ability to talk to people from all walks of life and see the humanity within them. For the Diocese of Phoenix Seminarians at Nazareth House, volunteering with the veterans experiencing homelessness at Catholic Charities MANA (Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force) House has been both humbling and enlightening.
Nazareth House Seminarians
Nazareth House is a two-year, college-level seminary fostering vocations and supporting formation in a community where young men may eventually minister. It provides a communal environment where they share prayer, meals, household responsibilities, and volunteer together. Seminarians study at Phoenix College before transitioning to St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, CO.
Staff and clients at MANA House take notice of the Seminarians’ enthusiasm and positive attitudes. “It’s been a blessing working with the Seminarians. The humbleness, commitment and love shown to our vulnerable population prove that they are walking with God,” said Rachel Masch, Community Engagement Coordinator.
Meeting the Most Vulnerable Where They Are
They got to hear directly from people experiencing homelessness by helping with outreach on the Human Services Campus and surrounding streets. They supplied those they encountered with water, hygiene kits, socks and snacks.
The Seminarians were moved when they saw that people who had so little had so much love to give. “I felt humbled, and I saw them as brothers and sisters. Their gratitude and humility inspired me,” said Justin Sand.
No Act of Service Too Small
With MANA House relying on help from volunteers, there are always odd tasks to be done. Whether it’s cleaning the kitchen, putting up holiday decorations, or sorting and loading up donations, the Seminarians are ready to do the work with smiles on their faces.
The Seminarians have also extended their service to other Catholic Charities programs. Recently, they have worked with Care Campus, My Sisters’ Place, and Foster Care and Adoption.
Volunteering with Catholic Charities has allowed the Seminarians to become more in touch with people in their community and the hardships they experience. “We became aware of the needs of the Phoenix community. As priests, we can contribute to those needs because of our experience this year,” said Jose Muñoz.
Learn more about serving in your community by becoming a volunteer.