By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
Seminarians from throughout Iowa’s four dioceses participated in a convocation earlier this month in the Sioux City Diocese. Cameron Costello of the Diocese of Davenport, a third-year college student at Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo., was among the 60 or so seminarians. He agreed to share his reflections about the convocation held Aug. 10-12 at St. Mary Parish in Storm Lake.
“This was my third year attending the Iowa Seminarian Convocation. The convocation is one of my favorite events in the summer. I love seeing all of the other seminarians from Iowa. Through summer ministries such as Totus Tuus, thinking about priesthood meet-ups and attending Conception Seminary College, I have been able to meet a number of the other seminarians from other dioceses. However, during the year it is very hard to keep up with the guys who are attending different seminaries. The convocation is really amazing in allowing me to be able to see these guys and catch up.
“The speaker for this year was by far my favorite. Father Bill Byrne, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., gave four talks about the 21st century ‘Priest as an Evangelizer.’ The key point that I will take away: as a priest, in order to be able to feed your sheep you must know your sheep! This means that hearing confessions and being present to people are key to feeding a parish at the holy Eucharist. Overall, I was very impressed as I always am with how well the Knights of Columbus treated us and how well the convocation was put together. I am very excited to help do my part next year when our own diocese will host the convocation.”
Father Thom Hennen, co-director of vocations for the Davenport Diocese, shared thoughts about the value of the annual convocation. “Apart from the speaker and the insights we gain from the speaker, seminarians from all over the state have the opportunity to gather and connect with each other. In some cases, they know each other already because they attend the same seminaries. For others, they’re getting to know each other for the first time. For our new seminarians, this may be the first experience for them of not thinking they are alone in discerning a call to the priesthood.”