Local Catholics support vocations overseas

by Kara Hansen

Leawood — Father Benjamin Shahzad has a problem many would love to have: He has so many young men applying for the seminary he has to turn some away.

The rector of St. Pius X Minor Seminary in Karachi, Pakistan, has filled his current seminary building with five bedrooms to a maximum capacity of 24 seminarians — up from the eight who were there when Father Shahzad was first appointed rector six years ago.

With financial help and spiritual support from parishioners at Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood, Father Shahzad is realizing his dream of a new, larger seminary with enough space to accommodate 45-50 seminarians.

“Our people have responded well in the past and we have practically built the new seminary ourselves,” said Msgr. Charles McGlinn, pastor of Curé of Ars. “We want to do the best we can for them.”

Each summer, Father Shahzad spends time at Curé of Ars. He lives in the rectory, celebrates Masses, and attends parish functions. He also shares the progress and goals of the seminary in Pakistan, updating parishioners on how their support is being used.

“Pakistan is an anti-Christian place and can be very hostile toward Christians,” said Msgr. McGlinn. “If something happens in the world that is contrary to Islam, there is often a backlash of violence toward Christians. The fact that there are so many young men wanting to become Catholic priests in this environment really says something, and they deserve all the attention and help we can give them.”

Now, Father Shahzad is requesting support to furnish the nearly completed seminary building with necessities. Items include chairs, tables, cupboards and classroom items, as well as other necessities.

In response, Curé of Ars is hosting a Christmas party in July in the parish vestibule after Masses the weekend of July 24 and 25. There, parishioners and visitors will have the opportunity to review the list of needs at the seminary and assist by becoming an “angel for Karachi.”

For more information, call the Curé of Ars rectory at (913) 649-1337.

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