Many English-speaking seminarians at Mundelein spend at least one summer studying abroad in a Spanish Immersion program. With an increasing Hispanic population in the majority of US dioceses, our seminarians are answering a call to learn the Spanish language in order to minister and care for all of their parishioners. The cultural immersion takes them to a deeper level of understanding and relationship with their parish community.
Kevin Gregus, a first-year Theologian studying for the Archdiocese of Chicago, spent his summer in Antigua, Guatemala, living with a native family, serving in the community, and experiencing the culture. Every experience required him to communicate in Spanish, but that wasn’t the biggest cultural difference he saw. “The people’s trust in the Providence of God here is incredible,” Gregus said.
Diocese of Tucson seminarian Richard Rivera had a similar experience in Morelos, Mexico, where he spent the months of June and July.
“My immersion provided a great deal more than instruction of the Spanish language, it gave me an invaluable insight into the culture and daily life of our friends living in Central Mexico. The experience of living in a different country helped me to trust in God’s providential care, while revealing a deeper desire to serve the Church as a priest,” Rivera said.
Many other seminarians, both from Mundelein and from other seminaries, spent their summer in Spanish-speaking countries. Oftentimes these men run into each other and find time to get together as brothers for a challenging hike or prayer service.
Brian Geary and Greg Alberts from the Diocese of Joliet spent their summer in Peru. Diocese of Rockford seminarians Jeff Filipski and Connor Orabutt were in El Salvador for two months. Newly-ordained Deacon Robain Lamba ministered and studied in Puebla, Mexico, and Grand Rapids seminarians David Sacha, Michael Baldwin, and Jacob Hahn were in Costa Rica.