USA Western: "Adopt-A-Seminarian in Beit Jala"
The Adopt- A-Seminarian Project was discussed by the Lieutenancy Council and as the Ecclesiastical Master of Ceremonies, Msgr. Sir Kevin Kostelnik stated at that time, “Whenever we can put a face to a project, such as a seminarian, we are sponsoring a worthwhile project!”
Chancellor Emeritus William Green, KGCHS and his wife Lady Sally Green, LGCHS initiated the program in cooperation with the Seminary and its then rector, Fr. William Shomali. The Greens adopted a seminarian in his first year of the Major Seminary, Issa Hijazeen, who was starting his last four years of formation. The Greens remained close to Issa throughout the following years and attended his ordination in 2009.
Following his ordination, Father Issa wrote to Bill and Sally, saying, “The original vocation lived by the Christians in the first century, when the apostles collected the help from the people of Jerusalem has a theological meaning, describing the love between the Christians. Thank you for what you did, and for what you do, and for what you will do for our diocese.”
The entire annual cost for tuition, room and board is $5,000 per seminarian, making it a wonderful project for the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre. Those who have supported these seminarians financially, spiritually and with regular communication have found this experience truly rewarding.
Bill and Sally Green adopted their second seminarian, now Fr. Baha Stephan and following their example, Nancy Iredale, LGCHS joined the initiative and adopted Fares Siryani, who was ordained in 2014. Nancy describes her experience as if one of her own sons had become a priest. She remains close to Fr. Fares and when his newly assigned parish was in need of funding, he reached out to Nancy, who happily helped.
Members of the Western USA Lieutenancy have “adopted” 12 seminarians: 3 have been ordained and 9 are in formation. Currently all eligible major seminarians are being sponsored. We pray for more vocations! My wife and I had the privilege of having lunch with several of the seminarians in November 2015 at Beit Jala. We are grateful for their generous response to the Lord’s call.
Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate sums up the importance of the program, saying, “Sponsoring a seminarian is not just paying for his scholarship, it is also a human relationship and a spiritual twinship, where prayer and friendship are important factors in the integral growth of the seminarian. Thank you!”.
Michael Scott Feeley
Luogotenente USA Western
(December 18, 2015)