St. Joseph Seminary Youth Events

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by Kelby Tingle, Diocese of Shreveport Seminarian

Throughout the course of the academic year, there are many exciting events that take place within the seminary community at St. Joseph Seminary College. The spring semester, in particular, is extremely busy with many events that we joyfully look forward to. In March, the seminary hosted Abbey Youth Festival and the Come & See Retreat which has become very special to me throughout my time in formation.

Abbey Youth Festival is planned and organized by the seminarians. The festival is blessed to welcome approximately 3,000 youth and young adults to the seminary campus. During the festival, there are many well-known speakers who tell their personal stories as well as offer ways for those in attendance to deepen their faith. Throughout the festival, there are also bands and musicians who play. The climax of the event is the beautiful Vigil Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. A candle-lit adoration and benediction, which many participants often refer to as the most powerful spiritual moment of the day, is the conclusion of the event. Ultimately, this festival is a special day in which we all gather in Christian stewardship to express our love and longing to live lives dedicated to our Savior.

One week later, the seminary hosted the Come & See Retreat which is a discernment retreat. Over 150 young men from various dioceses of the south, including 13 men from our diocese, came to the seminary in order to see the life of the seminarians. This weekend offers the opportunity for young men to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, attend Mass, interact with the seminarians and priests, listen to mock philosophy lectures, and bond with other men who are also striving to listen to God’s voice in their lives. It is awe inspiring to see the bright future and dedication that these young men have for the Church.

Attendees at the annual Come & See discernment retreat at St. Joseph Seminary College.

One of the best parts of these events was having the opportunity to see many youth groups and parishioners from my home, the Diocese of Shreveport. I always enjoy the opportunity to welcome those from my home diocese to my place of formation. I was thankful to be able to talk with and get to know all of them during these events.

The Abbey Youth Festival and the Come & See events are important to the seminary community as they assist in forming us pastorally. These events generate a great amount of excitement at the seminary as we anticipate them. They revitalize and inspire the community in the months that follow. At the same time, it is our belief that these events assist the youth and young adults of the Church in deepening their authentic relationship with Christ. I thank all of those from the Diocese of Shreveport who supported the seminary by attending the Abbey Youth Festival and Come & See Retreat. In addition, I invite all of the youth from our diocese to consider coming to these events in the coming years. Please continue to pray for all of those discerning God’s call in their lives, especially the seminarians of our diocese and the seminarians at St. Joseph Seminary!

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