During an unpredictable time, God faithfully blessed Catholic Charities with seminarians from Nazareth House, a seminary formation house in the Diocese of Phoenix. Their steadfast service has been an essential part of sustaining and advancing our mission while loving our neighbors.
Nazareth House Seminarians volunteer throughout Catholic Charities programs every Saturday from August through May. This partnership, through the Diocese of Phoenix, is now in its third year with each Seminarian averaging 55 hours of service per year.
After meeting the Seminarians, Paul Mulligan, President and CEO of Catholic Charities, was inspired by their work ethic, spirit and teamwork the young men display as they roll-up their sleeves and service the most vulnerable and produce fruit “by the sweat of the brow” (Genesis 3:19).
Nazareth House is a local seminary fostering vocations and supporting formation in a community where young men may eventually minister. It is a two-year, college-level seminary which opened in 2019.
The setting provides a household-style environment where men share daily prayer, meals, household responsibilities and volunteer activities. Nearby Phoenix College enables Seminarians to complete academic studies before transitioning to St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver, CO.
Formator Priests live on-site at Nazareth House to support Seminarians in all aspects of formation and development. Because these men all live together as a family unit, they were able to continue serving throughout the pandemic when other volunteer groups’ services were paused for safety protocols to help care for our volunteers and the most vulnerable.
Malissa Geer, Senior Director of Community, Faith and Volunteer Engagement and Shannon Hill, Volunteer Services Manager along with program leaders, create meaningful engagements throughout Catholic Charities for the seminarians to promote labor, service, faith, family and solidarity. Some of the ways Seminarians contributed to our programs include:
- Preparing and distributing Santa Sacks for Emergency Santa at the CARE Campus, a community center in Mesa
- Cleaning the kitchen and landscaping at MANA House (Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force), our shelter for veterans experiencing homelessness
- Repairing fencing and painting rooms at My Sisters’ Place, a domestic violence shelter for families
- Assisting with food distribution from St. Mary’s Food Bank at our Housing for Hope affordable housing locations, Ironwood Village and Laurel Tree Apartments
- Gardening and loving our neighbors at the 19 North Community Garden
- Cleaning and sorting donations for the most vulnerable with our GCU CityServe partners
“It has been a joy to work with the Nazareth House Seminarians during this third year of partnership. Not only do they work hard to serve the vulnerable in our community doing tasks that are often overlooked, but they are full of joy and enthusiasm that is inspiring to our team members and those we serve,” said Hill.
In total, from August 2021 to May 2022, the Seminarians served 736 hours and are still going! Even when there were no on-site volunteer opportunities available, Seminarians volunteered remotely writing notes of encouragement to Catholic Charities frontline staff.
“The Seminarians are a blessing to each client, family and team member. They continue to walk alongside our mission with dignity, hard work, humor, and servants’ hearts,” stated Geer. Volunteer activities completed by Seminarians have had a broad reach and impact through all the Catholic Charities programs and in forming and educating seminarians through outreach and service activities that foster priestly vocations.
If you are interested in volunteering, please check out our current volunteer opportunities.