The Universal Church: Seminarians Reflection on Summer Programs

By: Fr. Brian Bashista
The photo to the left is of Nicholas Barnes (dark blue shirt) and two other Pontifical North American College (NAC) seminarians along with some workers/volunteers at a leprosarium (leper colony) in Ngai Sai, which is in South China–close to Macao and Hong Kong. The seminarians visited for a day and met some of the patients who live there and experienced the work done to care for them.
Commenting on his participation in a program offered by Maryknoll Missionaries from June 27th until July 31st, Nicholas wrote:
We spent our time in different regions, about two and half weeks in different locations in Mainland China, two weeks in Hong Kong and three days in Taiwan. The objectives were to learn about the work of Maryknoll Missionaries, the work of evangelization and spreading the Gospel, the culture of a non-western country and the specifics of the Church in China. I truly learned a lot and will carry the lessons from this experience with me hopefully into my days as a priest in Arlington. We visited many parishes, seminaries, priests, mission sites, social services centers, historical sites and a variety of individuals. Obviously, language was an issue but we always were with someone who could translate for us if needed. I was able to meet with various Church leaders, including Cardinal Zen, the Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, the diocesan administrator of the Jilin Diocese, two rectors of seminaries and the Chargé d’affairs of the Apostolic Nuniciature in Taiwan, an American priest from Boston. I learned a lot from each of them about the Catholic Church within China. I am very thankful to the Maryknoll Missionaries who hosted us, to Bishop Loverde, the diocese and the North American College for their support and for allowing me to have this opportunity.
Brendan Bartlett, another seminarian studying at the NAC spent time in Great Britain.
I spent my summer doing pastoral work at St. Edmund of Canterbury parish in Loughton, Essex, England, which is a suburb of London. It was a great experience of the universal church, and I found the day-to-day operations of the parish to be very similar to my experiences in the Diocese of Arlington. The real joy of my service in the parish was my interaction with the people of God, who never cease to amaze me with their faithfulness and generosity.

Blog Note: To see this year’s seminarians, visit here.

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