GRAND RAPIDS — Eleven Grand Rapids West Catholic High School students and seven other young men ages 14-22 from across the Grand Rapids Diocese traveled the weekend of May 4-6 to St. Paul, Minn., to visit St. John Vianney College Seminar.
The trip was sponsored by the Office of Priestly Vocations of the Diocese of Grand Rapids and West Catholic High School.
The trip was organized by Fr. Ron Hutchinson, director of Priestly Vocations, along with West Catholic religion teacher Patrick Nugent and campus minister Phil Dolci.
This is the third trip in four years sponsored by West Catholic to allow interested young men to visit the seminary. It is part of a larger vocations promotion program at the school, which includes units on priesthood in 10th- and 12th-grade religion courses, a monthly vocations discernment group, yearly visits by major seminarians to the school and other interactions with seminarians and priests.
The Grand Rapids group was greeted at the seminary by the seven Grand Rapids diocesan seminarians currently enrolled there. The seminarians planned the itinerary for the stay at Vianney and acted as hosts and guides for the weekend.
The group joined the seminary student body for morning prayer, holy hour and Mass on Saturday, followed by a tour of the University of St. Thomas campus. The afternoon activities included football, ultimate Frisbee and basketball. In the evening they traveled to the Cathedral of St. Paul to attend the Saturday Vigil Mass and to tour the church.
“The young men were exhausted by the whirlwind visit but also exhilarated by the joyful and prayerful life they experienced at the seminary,” said Nugent. The trip succeeded in its goal of providing young men with a better understanding of seminary life and the priesthood, he added.
Now celebrating its 50th year, West Catholic High School was founded by the Diocese of Grand Rapids in 1962. It has a current enrollment of 506 students.