Summer Apostolate in Virginia 2014

Source: St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary

Every summer, seminarians spend a month of their vacation on “apostolate.” Usually the term denotes an undertaking whose end is to convert or sanctify others. But the apostolate for seminarians is aimed at their own formation as well. When a seminarian assists with priory work or a boys’ camp, he learns much from working with others. He uses the experience to develop his own intellectual and moral virtues.

The seminarians that are sent on apostolate in Virginia—mostly the first and second year students—are looking primarily to this latter end. Engaged in manual labor on the grounds of the future seminary, they are alone with each other, with the red hard clay, and with God. The sun beats down on them as they dig, paint, or spread straw on fresh grass seed.

Three crews succeed one another over the course of the summer, one picking up where the other left off. One seminarian is selected for each group to organize the work and act as the Rector’s representative for the apostolate. A seminary professor is present as chaplain. The daily schedule maintains the spiritual exercises of the academic year but substitutes field work for studies.

The seminarian in charge of the first Virginia apostolate has taken much care to ensure that the spirit of charity prevails. In the morning meetings he frequently reminds the crew to focus, not so much on the external productivity of the work, as on its internal value, which is the accomplishment of God’s holy Will. If the work is done with generosity and a pure intention, it will have an eternal reward, whether or not it secures its temporal object in the time foreseen.

As the seminarians prepare the grounds of the new seminary, their own souls are being cultivated as the soil in which their vocations are to flower.