April 2016

How to Support Your Seminarians


Seminarians deal with the same difficulties and setbacks in life as anyone: they have car problems, they struggle with moral choices, they have to work hard at study and prayer, they have trouble with family members. They also have some difficulties which are particular to their status as seminarians: they don't have regular paid jobs, and their vocational discernment isn't always well accepted by family and friends.

Unless you're close to seminarians, you may not know their needs and the best ways to support them. But the need for support of various types is real, and it is important that, as a diocese, we are doing everything we can to help the men who are studying today to be our priests tomorrow.

Here are some of the best ways that you can give real support to your seminarians:


Praying for seminarians may be the most obvious means of support, and is definitely the most important. If you don't already have one (or a few) specific seminarians to pray for, choose one and pray for him daily. You can see all of our seminarians on the annual seminarian poster at your parish or on our website.

Remember that seminarians are preparing to bring Jesus to the world for the rest of their lives – and the devil will do whatever he can to prevent a man from following through with that goal! Our seminarians need as much prayer as we can give them. Please remember them daily in your prayers!

Personal Contact and Encouragement

It may be difficult to relate to seminarians if it seems like they live in such a separate world. But remember, because these men are giving up their own personal goals in order to live their lives for Jesus and His people, we should be giving them a lot of respect and attention. While we shouldn't place them on a pedestal as if they are in some way better than others, we should be careful not to ignore them or shy away from them. They need personal contact and encouragement from all members of the Church whom they may one day be serving as priests!

A practical way of encouragement is a warm reception when they return home or are assigned to your parish. Even a handshake and mention of your prayers can go a long way.

If you know a seminarian personally, a great way to support him is to send an occasional letter or card while he's studying at the seminary. These little points of contact can do a lot to encourage a seminarian!


Are you aware that seminarians aren't able to have regular jobs? Seminary schedules just don't allow time for seminarians to work because they are concerned with formation of the whole man. Unlike regular university students, most of a seminarian's day is occupied, leaving no opportunity for a job. Sure, some are able to work during the summer, or have limited jobs around the seminary, but what little they earn must last the whole year!

Think how difficult it can be for a man who does not come to seminary with a large savings to keep up with the basics – car costs, clothing, school books, and any personal things must be paid for by the seminarian himself. If he has to worry too much about these things, it can distract him from his priestly formation.

Anyone who is interested in helping support seminarians financially can contact my office. Donations can be put toward personal needs or toward the general seminarian fund to help pay for the costs of education.

God Cannot Be Outdone In Generosity

Whatever ways you are able to help support your seminarians, remember that God rewards those who are generous, and will not be outdone in generosity - especially toward those who are generous to the men who are responding directly to His call to discern the priesthood!

“Vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life are first and foremost the fruit of constant contact with the living God and insistent prayer lifted up to the ‘Lord of the harvest’, whether in parish communities, in Christian families or in groups specifically devoted to prayer for vocations.”

- Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the 48th World Day of Pray for Vocations, May 15, 2011


Prayer, Participation and Promotion The Vocations Summit

The Vocations Summit is only three weeks away and your prayers are needed for the success of the Vocations Summit. Along with your prayers we need your participation by attending the Vocations Summit. Through your prayers and participation you will become a promoter of vocations in the Diocese of Albany. Your prayers, participation and promotion of the Vocations Summit on May 7, 2016 at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville is a tangible way that you can support our Seminarians.

You are probably asking yourself how is my support of the Vocations Summit providing support for our Seminarians? Your attendance lends success to the Vocations Summit. This means our goal to create a Culture of Vocations can be achieved because by your presence we can provide you with inspiration, resources and support to create Parish and School based Vocations Committees to help encourage Vocations in our Diocese.

The success of the Vocations Summit can encourage stronger faith throughout our diocese. A stronger faith means stronger relationships with Christ which means stronger relationships with Christ means stronger relationships among all God’s people. This then translates into strong marriages in our diocese. Strong marriages mean stronger families. Stronger families mean greater support for children and youth to discern God’s call in their lives. Greater discernment for Families, children and youth to discern God’s call means we have created the culture of Vocations which allows us all to live out our Christian Vocation.

This is why your prayers, participation and promotion of the Vocations Summit helps support our Seminarians. You are telling our 15 Seminarians that you care. We all need encouragement and your being there encourages not only our Seminarians but also encourages our more the 90 discerners to step out in faith and say yes to God’s call to serve Christ and the Church. So if you thought that it was not important for you to attend the Vocations Summit, think again! Your attendance can help a man or woman have the courage to say yes to God’s Call.

Please pray for the success of the Vocations Summit. Please participate in the Vocations Summit by going to www.albanyvocations.org and promote the Vocations Summit by helping us to get the word out to everyone about the Vocations Summit. We know social media is powerful and we have experienced its benefits first hand. Whenever we YouTube, Facebook or tweet an upcoming event we get a tremendous response. We would like help by asking you to Facebook and tweet the information for the Vocations Summit. Encourage your family and friends to go to our websites to learn more about the Vocations Summit and Vocations in general. Just forward our website addresses, www.rcda.org or www.albanyvocations.org.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Anthony Ligato
Vicar for Vocations
Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany

Diocese of Albany Vocations Summit

Saturday, May 7, 2016
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Shrine of the North American Martyrs, Auriesville, N.Y.

“Conversion and vocation are two sides of the same coin.” ~Pope Francis


An Invitation From Bishop Scharfenberger

Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany

40 North Main Avenue, Albany, New York 12203


March 7, 2016

Dear Disciples of Christ,

In Jesus’ commissioning of the Apostles he said , “Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:18- 20)

The Apostles and Disciples responded to Jesus’ command to go out and make disciples of all nations. We are called as well by virtue of our baptism and by the anointing of the Holy Spirit to share in the threefold ministry of Jesus Christ as Priest, Prophet and King. Our baptismal call as disciples invites us to respond by forming disciples for the mission. You may be asking yourself, how we even begin to go about forming disciples for the mission. Through the living out of our baptismal call, by sharing in the common priesthood of Jesus Christ which asks us to be as holy as our God is Holy. Also, we are called to become the living word of God by embracing our prophetic ministry; and if we are able to live holy lives and become the presence of God’s sacred word, we then will be able to understand the Kingship of Christ. The Kingship of Christ calls us to be servants of the Lord, leading others to Salvation. If we are able to fulfill this baptismal call, then we will be able to create a Culture of Vocations.

To help us create this Culture of Vocations, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany is sponsoring the Vocations Summit to be held on May 7, 2016 at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs in Auriesville, New York from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Vocations Summit is for Catholics interested in helping to promote vocations. In our baptism we each are given a vocation and we are called to discern that calling. We may have a vocation to marriage, family, single life, consecrated life, priesthood or the diaconate. Whatever calling you have, the Vocations Summit is for you.

The Vocations Summit will provide an opportunity for Catholics throughout the diocese of Albany to come together and discern how this calling can be lived out in their families, parishes, schools, and the work place. Our hope is that flowing from the Vocations Summit parishes, schools, church organizations, and societies will form Vocations Committees to encourage a Culture of Vocations throughout the Diocese of Albany.

From this Culture of Vocations will come the future Ministers and Leaders of the Church, those who are called to Lay Leadership, Consecrated Life and Ordained Ministry. I am asking for your support, as Church leaders of today, to help plant the seeds to create a Culture of Vocations. I ask for your support for the Vocations Summit by your own attendance and/or the attendance of at least five members of your community who would be interested in helping us create this Culture of Vocation by helping to create Parish Vocations Committees. Of course attendance is not limited to five members of your parish, as this Summit is calling all Catholics of the Diocese.

You can register for the Vocations Summit by simply going on line to either www.rcda.org or www.albanyvocations.org. We have also included registration forms and flyers to distribute to those you are asking to attend. Let us join together as a diocese and make disciples of all nations. Yours sincerely in Christ,

Edward B. Scharfenberger
Bishop of Albany

W e are God’s people sharing a responsibility to witness God’s unconditional love and to bring Christ’s healing presence to our world.



Register online now:


Save the Date: May 7, 2016 - Diocesan Vocations Summit

A Celebration of Vocations with the Parishes and Schools of the Diocese of Albany 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Shrine of the North American Martyrs - Auriesville, NY



Daily Vocational Prayer

Loving God,
Life is your gift to us.
Through Baptism you invite us to share
the gift of our life in service to others.
Be with us as we choose each day to show
Your presence in our world.
Give us courage and generosity to respond to your love,...to your call.
We pray especially for those who serve you as
Priests, Deacons, Religious Brothers and Sisters
throughout the Diocese of Albany. We pray also
for the Seminarians, Aspirants and Discerners
of the Diocese of Albany, that they may not be afraid
to answer God’s call to serve his Church. Open the minds
and hearts of many other men and women, that they
may accept Your challenge to build the Kingdom, Amen.


2015-2016 Seminarians and Aspirants

Seminarians attending: University of St. Mary’s of the Lake Mundelein Seminary Mundelein, IL

  1. Deacon Brian Kelly - Fourth Theology
  2. Zach Chichester - Second Theology

Seminarians Attending: Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary

  1. John Cronin - Third Theology
  2. Deacon Steve Matthews - Fourth Theology
  3. Deacon Patrick Rice - Fourth Theology

Seminarians Attending: St. Mary’s Seminary and University Baltimore, MD

  1. Matthew Houle - First Theology
  2. Kyle Gorenski - Pre Theology

Seminarians Attending:Theological College / Catholic University Washington D.C.

  1. Francis Vivacqua - Fourth Theology

Seminarians Attending: St. Joseph’s Dunwoodie Yonkers, NY

  1. Samuel Bellafiore - First Theology
  2. Kyle Eads - First Theology
  3. Robert Palyo - First Theology

Seminarians/Discerners: St. Isaac Jogues House of Discernment Watervliet, NY

  1. Daniel McHale - Pre Theology
  2. Michael DiSiena - entrance spring 2016
  3. Matthew Duclos - entrance spring 2016
  4. Stephen Yusko - Pre Theology


Priesthood Vocations Office Upcoming Events


Vocations Summit - May 7, 2016
Shrine of the North American Martyrs, Auriesville, NY
9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Register online at www.albanyvocations.org

Diaconate Ordination Vespers Service (for John Cronin) - May 27, 2016
All Saints Church, Albany
7:00 PM
A light reception will follow.


Diaconate Ordination (John Cronin) - May 28, 2016
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Albany
11:00 AM

Priesthood Ordination Vespers Service (for Deacons Brian Kelly, Steve Matthews, Patrick Rice, Francis Vivacqua) - June 17, 2016
Christ the King Church, Westmere
7:00 PM
A light reception will follow.


Priesthood Ordination (Deacons Brian Kelly, Steve Matthews, Patrick Rice, Francis Vivacqua) - June 18, 2016
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
11:00 AM

Seminarian and Aspirants Retreat at Pyramid Lake - June 23-25, 2016
Retreat begins on June 23 at 12:00 noon and concludes on June 25 at 12:00 noon.
This retreat is open to Aspirants and all serious discerners.


Seminarian Drop In at All Saints - July 12, 2016
All Saints Catholic Church on the Hudson Mechanicville/ Stillwater.
The Drop In begins with evening prayer at 5:00 pm and dinner will follow.

Seminarian Drop In at St. Theresa - July 26, 2016
St. Theresa of the Child Jesus in Windham.
The Drop In begins with evening prayer at 5:00 pm and dinner will follow.


Candidacy and the Rite of Sending - August 7, 2016
St. Ambrose Church Latham.
4:00 PM
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger will be presiding.
There will be a light reception following the Liturgy.

Concert for Vocations - August 9, 2016

St. Edward the Confessor Church Clifton Park

6:00 pm Holy Hour Adoration and Benediction, Presider Bishop Edward Scharfenberger

7:00 pm Concert for Vocations presented by the Priests and Seminarians of the Diocese of Albany.


Other Upcoming Vocations Events

Vocations Awareness Council

Run for Vocations - October 29, 2016
Sponsored by the Vocations Awareness Council

At The Crossing in Colonie


Diocese of Albany - Office of Vocations