Catholic education is the future

by luke eggleston
SUN staff writer

Christopher Seibt heard the call to priesthood early in life. While just a fourth grader at St. Daniel School, the Syracuse native felt the initial tug. When his Catholic education proceeded apace at Bishop Grimes Junior/Senior High School, he knew he was ready to advance into the ranks of those who have heeded the call.

After attending Le Moyne College for two years, Seibt enrolled at Catholic University and was accepted into the Basselin program, a scholarship for students of philosophy. Now in his third year at Catholic University, the Syracuse Diocese seminarian had an opportunity to meet Pope Benedict XVI in person shortly after the pontiff’s arrival in Washington, D.C. During a Wednesday evening prayer service, Seibt acted as server and was formally introduced to the pope.

Seibt was given even more access to the Holy Father during his address to Catholic educators Thursday after placing second in an essay contest sponsored by Catholic University. Seibt’s essay, entitled “Let the children come to me,” was concerned with the value of Catholic education.

“It was a very moving experience to be in the presence of the Holy Father and to hear the words of the Holy Father,” Seibt said, noting that the meeting with Catholic schools’ administrators was a particular highlight. “It was an affirmation of my belief in the importance of Catholic education not only for the church but also for society as whole in terms of evangelization but also in developing good leaders and just good people.”

Seibt credits his Catholic education for putting him in the position he now enjoys at the seminary. He added that he continues to be inspired by the prayers of the parishioners at St. Daniel as well as the priest of his childhood, Msgr. Eugene Yennock. He added that his family and his fellow seminarians from Syracuse also provide him with constant support in his endeavors.

Seibt reiterated that the thoughts on Catholic education espoused in his essay are very important to him and he hopes to one day help the Syracuse Diocese in its schools system in some capacity.

“I certainly believe in the importance of Catholic education and the importance of continuing it,” he said. “I think that [the Syracuse Diocesan schools] are doing a good job of continuing that. By combining schools, they’re strengthening them. I hope I can be a part of that someday in my ministry.”

In addition to the special events Seibt participated in while the pope was in Washington, D.C., he also attended both the Youth Rally in Yonkers on Saturday and the Mass at Yankees Stadium on Sunday.

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