Seminarian David Madejski enjoys some down time with his grandmother Alina Madejski, nephew Angel Madejski and sisters Jessica and Monica at the picnic on Aug. 5. (See photo gallery by Lenora Sumsky at right)
BLOOMFIELD – Torrential rain on Aug. 5 couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm that members of the Serra Club of Hartford have for seminarians of the Archdiocese of Hartford.
The local chapter of the international organization, which fosters and promotes vocations to the priesthood and religious life, hosts a picnic every summer for seminarians and their families, preferably on dry days.
This year, because of thunder, lightning and heavy rain, the seminarians, their families, Serra members and Archbishop Henry J. Mansell gathered inside the hall at Sacred Heart Parish instead.
No one seemed to mind the rain.
It rains almost every year,” said Marilyn Dumas, a member of Serra and of St. Joseph Cathedral Parish in Hartford. “We always plan to eat indoors.”
“The seminarians are happy to see each other, to talk and enjoy each other’s company,” she said.
Jerry Crotty, a longtime Serran, said, “It is one of only a few opportunities they have to come together and socialize, and it provides an opportunity for them to keep in touch with each other.”
Member Jim Mangan said, “We host the annual picnic to thank the seminarians and to show our appreciation and support for them.
“Many of our seminarians are nowhere near home and need to be encouraged,” he added.
Seminarians at the picnic came from locations across the globe, including from as far away as Seoul, South Korea, and Medellin, Colombia. Others were raised nearby.
The men attend several different schools, including St. John's Seminary in Boston; Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.; and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary near Philadelphia.
Serra Club members “adopt” a seminarian; they pray each day for “their” seminarian and frequently send cards, greetings and sometimes even cookies.
Serra International is named and inspired by Blessed Junipero Serra, a Franciscan missionary who founded missions in California. The organization, which was established in 1935, has chapters in 46 countries. In the United States there are 18,000 members.
Information about the Hartford Chapter of Serra is available from George Dumas, membership chairman, at (860) 678-1016.