Two seminarians receive the Rite of Candidacy

It was very fitting that on August 4, the feast day of St. John Vianney, two seminarians of the Diocese of Syracuse would receive the Rite of Candidacy on their journey to the priesthood. 

Benjamin Schrantz and Pawel Zmija received the rite at St. Mary-St. Peter Church in Rome at a liturgy presided by Bishop Douglas J. Lucia. It was not a coincidence that the event was held on St. Vianney’s feast day as he is the patron saint of parish priests.

“They are a blessing,” said Bishop Lucia. “It’s a great privilege when a bishop can stand and already know that, even before he ordains them, he has great blessings to share with his local church.”  Bishop added that, trusting in the Lord’s call, both men “say with the prophet: ‘Here I am; send me.’” 

For Benjamin, the rite carried an extra measure of grace as the liturgy took place in his home parish, surrounded by family and friends. “It’s exciting,” he said. “After five years of study, it’s reaffirming that the Diocese is stepping along with me on this journey, one step closer to priesthood. It’s an affirmation from God!”

Pawel’s family was also present, but via livestream from his native Poland. His journey to the rite has been somewhat longer, both in time and distance, having started his formation in Poland. “I have a good experience of two churches, the church in Poland and the church in the United States,” he told us. “I really appreciate that the Bishop accepted me to the diocese and that I am able to receive this rite of candidacy. I am thinking about my future, about the priesthood.”

Both men are hopeful candidates for ordination as transitional deacons next year with anticipation of receiving Holy Orders to the priesthood in 2024. 

“Our best wishes as you now continue, not only to complete your studies, but to respond to His call,” said Bishop Lucia. “We are very grateful to you both and just know of our continued prayers.”


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