by Perrin Atisha
Here at Sacred Heart, we are blessed to have seminarians from all over the United States. Some of our seminarians have never been to Detroit until move-in day in August.
One of the common worries is the safety of living in an urban area. This notion is quickly dismissed because of the many opportunities the seminary presents to seminarians as a means to understand, help, and be united with the community outside of our gates. Among those opportunities is the Halloween in the Neighborhood Outreach.
Ben Rivard, seminarian from the Diocese of Marquette, has been in Detroit for three years. He explains his experience.
Moving to a large city made me a little nervous, especially because I was coming from the Upper Peninsula. The Halloween outreach helped me see the beautiful communal life of Detroit, and that even in a large city, people can come together in a community event and have a great time.
The Halloween outreach has been a tradition of joy for over forty years, as we open our front doors to our neighbors on Halloween night. With our vestibule decorated and seminarians dressed in wacky costumes, it truly is a night of fun. Halloween in the Neighborhood is a way to evangelize our community, as well, while providing a safe and fun trick-or-treat experience for the children. The seminarians welcomed an estimated two thousand children, young people, and adult chaperones this Halloween. At peak period, a line of trick-or-treaters extended out of the seminary gates and down the city sidewalk.
One can get easily equate the success of our event with the number of people who show up, but Adam Nowak, seminarian for the Archdiocese of Detroit, offers an interesting insight.
It's not about how many people come through the doors for candy, Adam maintains. It's about how many people leave knowing more truly the love of Christ and how many of us have been transformed by meeting Christ in our neighbor.
The seminarians work hard throughout the year preparing for the evening. We receive great help through generous donations of candy and other goods from parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit and beyond. But the night is more than just passing out candy. There are different stations throughout our property. We have games set up and a food station with donuts, hot chocolate, and coffee. An important station is the prayer station, where our neighbors are given the opportunity to open up and receive intercession.
The chair this year of the Halloween outreach is Detroit seminarian Ryan Eggenberger. He explains how the night affects us all.
For the seminary community, the blessing is in the serving and in every encounter with each person who comes to our doors. Saint Francis was correct when he said, 'It is in giving that we receive.'
Would you like to help out to make next year's Halloween in the Neighborhood Outreach a success? First keep us in your prayers and then keep your eyes open at your local parish for a bin collecting candy donations!
Perrin AtishaPerrin Atisha is a third-year theologian studying for the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle.