By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT – Valentine’s Day greetings made their way to seminarians from the Davenport Diocese and elsewhere through the thoughtfulness of Sacred Heart Cathedral’s youth and adult parishioners.
More than 200 valentines were prepared for delivery by the parish’s eighth-grade religious education.
For about a month before then, parishioners were invited to submit letters, cards, valentines, pictures or prayers to the parish office for a care package to diocesan seminarians and a few other seminarians, said Pastoral Associate Susan Stanforth.
The idea for the valentine package grew from an earlier project, added Stanforth, who has three friends studying in major seminaries for the priesthood across the county. In 2011 she asked the cathedral’s religious education students to do a project for National Vocations Awareness Week in January. The students wrote cards to the diocesan seminarians and her three friends.
“I did not realize how much the cards meant to the seminarians until I received many letters back thanking the children.”
This year she invited the entire parish to participate and began the project around Vocations Awareness Week last month.
“It is my hope to have Sacred Heart do this each year and to get more and more parishioners involved in this multi-generational vocations activity.”
Father Rich Adam, the cathedral’s pastor and rector, also teaches the eighth grade and confirmation class. He began his Feb. 8 class with a talk about St. Valentine. “Valentine’s Day is a Catholic feast day,” he told the students, sharing history about the saint who was a priest, bishop and martyr of the Church.
Fr. Adam passed out a list of seminarians along with a paper heart. He asked each student to select the name of a seminarian and write a note to him.
Students placed their valentines in a large envelope addressed to each seminarian. They added the 200 or so valentine letters, notes and other items from the rest of the parish for delivery to the post office.
Included in this year’s packages were group valentines from the second-grade religious education class and one from the fourth-grade religious education class. Some cards were homemade and others were purchased.
Stanforth hopes to see the packages of greetings grow each year and for the number of seminarian recipients to grow, too.
“It is important to pray for these men who have answered the call from God and said yes to the Catholic Church.”