For more than 20 years, the Knights of Columbus Seminarian Letter Project has been an effective communication tool for giving young people insight about men who are preparing for the priesthood.

The project, instituted in 2000 by the New Jersey State Council of the Knights, guides students in Catholic schools and parish religious education programs in sending letters of encouragement to men studying for the priesthood.

Knights of the Rev. Gebhard Braungart Council, Lavallette, have participated in the SLP for six years, reported Past Grand Knight Robert Batta. He and fellow Knight John Paglione, assure that letters from children in Sacred Heart Parish, Bay Head, and St. Junipero Serra, Seaside Park, make their way to Trenton seminarians and Franciscan friars.

“I have the idea that eventually we can build more of a bridge between students and seminarians,” said Batta, who noted 75 letters were generated this year.

Paglione, who is pastoral assistant for catechesis and liturgy in Sacred Heart Parish, added, “My kids are the Confirmation students. I explain to them what they are going through in their studies and what the seminarians are going through. It helps give children respect for them.”

A letter from a student in Sacred Heart Parish addressed to seminarian Jesse Kundrat offered encouragement saying, “I wish you good luck and the very best in your seminary training. I imagine that it takes patience, time, prayer and a big heart to go through the process as well."

The student said that Seminarian Kundrat will be remembered in prayer and hopes that his vocation journey will be fulfilling.

Bernard Sheridan, Grand Knight of the Bordentown Council in Bordentown and seventh grade teacher in the religious education program in Mary, Mother of the Church Parish, Bordentown, said it was the first time he held the projects for his class.

“It fits well into our efforts to support seminarians,” he said, noting his students generated about 50 letters.

“It is definitely something I like doing with the kids,” Sheridan said. “I try to inspire the kids to think in that direction [vocations], and it reinforces the lessons we teach.”