Mission Immersion Program Brings Seminarians to Ecuador

During the 2018 Christmas break, seminarians traveled to the village of Chontapunta in Ecuador as part of the Mission Immersion Program. The program sends seminarians to live and work with impoverished communities in Guatemala and Ecuador during their Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mardi Gras breaks. Traveling with the seminarians this year was Assistant Dean of Students Fr. Sam Fontana.

Fr. Sam and the seminarians were hosted by Jonathan and Teresa Kiehl, missionaries with Family Missions Company, who with their six children, have been living and ministering in Peru and Ecuador for a number of years. Their passion for the Gospel and love for their community were truly infectious. Seminarians spent much of the week visiting the smaller villages around Chontapunta, celebrating the Eucharist and sharing their faith.

"The experience of the Church in Amazonian Ecuador was truly eye and heart-opening for the men; it was not the material poverty, but the great spiritual hunger that was most moving. Many people are only able to see a priest a few times a year. The harvest is indeed abundant, but the laborers are too few!," Fr. Sam said.

The trips are made possible by a donation from the Knights of Columbus Louisiana State Council, who for many years have contributed to the program through an annual statewide raffle.