40-year peak in seminary enrollment celebrated at S.O.S. dinner
By Jack Smith
Catholic Key Editor
Abbot Gregory Polan of Conception Abbey led nearly 700 voices in a round of “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” at the Downtown Marriot January 30. “We bless and we thank you Lord for countless blessings,” Abbot Polan prayed as he opened the annual S.O.S. - “Support Our Seminarians” dinner and auction in support of men studying for the priesthood from both sides of State Line Road and for Conception Seminary College.
As he has every year, KMBC-TV anchor Larry Moore served as master of ceremonies at the event which was the brainchild of Moore and his wife Ruth. Recalling the humble beginnings of the effort, Moore said in 1994 there was only one seminarian from the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph. “Things got even worse the next year,” Moore said, when there were none.
This semester, Conception Seminary College has 110 men enrolled – a 40 year record according to Conception Seminary Rector Father Samuel Russell, OSB. Father Russell shared the great news that 26 men are currently in formation for Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph and 21 are studying for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. Not all are studying at Conception, so the great numbers there indicate an increase in vocations from many dioceses.