For the sixth straight year, Catholic Social Services hosted 38 seminarians from St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., during their winter break to assist CSS with home repair projects in Mobile County.
Accompanied by the Rev. John Bauer, Spiritual Director at the Seminary, the group began their break with a two-day spiritual retreat at Visitation Monastery where they resided during the visit. The remaining three days were devoted to providing home repairs for pre-selected low-income families.
Each work group was supervised by skilled adult volunteers who assisted the young men in learning and utilizing their repair skills to help others. The volunteer supervisors, led by Frank Calagaz and John Wilson, included Paul David, Michael Dillaber, Lee Eilers, Deacon Ron Marin, John Prince, Jack Randall, Louis Seiter and the Tuesday Group.
CSS provided all materials for the 11 projects that were selected from the many submitted. Work on the homes included painting, door restoration, picket fence and porch repairs, as well as yard clean-up.
Staff members of the Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor prepared lunches which were delivered on-site by volunteers Ray and Janie Carney, and CSS staff member MK Sullivan.
During their brief Southern visit, the men toured the USS Alabama Battleship, attended a Mardi Gras parade, were breakfast guests of the Men of St. Joseph at Corpus Christi and Archbishop Rodi, and shared meals with Christ the King, Our Savior, and St. Pius X parishioners. Four of the seminarians were invited to be interviewed on Archangel Radio.
CSS looks forward to the next group arriving in late January 2017.
At one location, the seminarians made repairs to the kitchen belonging to Mrs. Katie Derks. They also repaired her fence, cut down a tree in front of her house and trimmed other shrubbery around the yard. Shown on the front porch after completing the work are, from left: Seminarian David Maslow from the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minn.; Seminarian Luke Miller from the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Seminarian William Kratt from the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis; Deacon Ron Martin of Little Flower Parish; Mrs. Derks; and Seminarian Jared Clemens, from the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin.