I can’t say enough good things about this idea: requiring seminarians to work for the summer in the fields alongside migrants. This is invaluable life experience for anyone going into ministry.
Check out the CNS video below by Chaz Muth:
From the CNS report:
Seminarian John Washington was looking for a summer cultural experience as he prepared to end his academic year at Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary and he found it in an agricultural field in central Washington.
The seminarian from the Archdiocese of Atlanta spent his summer tending to Washington state’s bountiful apple trees, speaking “field Spanish” with Latino migrant workers, learning about life in the migrant camps and bringing the Gospel to the agricultural laborers.“I wanted an adventure this summer,” Washington said with a chuckle as he plunged a shovel into the dark earth while planting a replacement apple tree. “I’d say I got one.”
He looked around and spotted a few other seminarians from the Diocese of Yakima and two Spanish-speaking migrant workers, who showed him how deep he should plant the tree.
The future priest’s summer in the Pacific Northwest’s agrarian fields was part of the Diocese of Yakima’s migrant ministry program, which he learned about from a Mundelein classmate, who is a Yakima seminarian.
All seminarians from the Diocese of Yakima are required to spend their summers working in the fields. It’s part of their formation to work alongside the migrant laborers, to understand their plight, as well as their language, and to bring the faith to the people where they live and work.