Last year the diocese of Grodno celebrated the 25th anniversary of its foundation. The seminary had been completed a year earlier than that, in fact, when the Soviet Union was still in existence. In the seminary itself the jubilee of the diocese was celebrated on 3rd June, in the presence of the bishop. The very next day three young men were ordained to the priesthood and another to the diaconate. This too was an occasion of great joy. Father Roman Ratchko, the rector of the seminary, has written to thje Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) to say, "On this day of thanksgiving we were united with you in prayer and we asked Godís blessing on our friends, benefactors and on all those kind-hearted people who have helped us and remembered us in their prayers. Dear friends, we were thinking of you because you have done so much good for us over the course of many years.Ē
(Formation assistance for the seminarians of the Major Seminary in Grodno © Aid to the Church in Need)
Every year, right from the start, ACN has supported the training of the seminarians in Grodno. In July, the young priests who were ordained last year were already able to start their ministry in the parishes. But all these young men are also very open to the needs of the universal Church and many have offered themselves for service in the missions around the world. Two of them, who have already been ordained to the diaconate, have in fact gone for a year to Cameroon and Brazil respectively, to work there as missionaries. Another has asked to help in the pastoral ministry in the smaller communities in the archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev, in Belarus.
In the training of the candidates for the priesthood, the seminary attaches particular importance to raising their awareness of the needs of the people. Every month the seminarians go out to the retirement homes, orphanages and a home for handicapped children in the diocese. "Thanks to your help, we can now pursue a wide range of projects aimed at better preparing our students for the priesthood", writes the rector. This year ACN is helping once again - with a contribution of $20,000 - so that the 26 seminarians currently studying here can continue with their training.
The vital work of Catholic charities like Aid to the Church In Need provide a lifeline to the Church wherever she is poor, persecuted or threatened. Please help our work by donating online or send your donation to Aid to the Church in Need, PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153. Ph: (02) 9679-1929
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