What did you do this summer, and how was it?

Anthony Carosone: For the past two months I have been assigned to the small, yet wonderful community of St. Francis of Assisi in Cartersville. Being in a small country parish and due to many limitations regarding social events fcaused by the pandemic, I spent most of the summer being a secretary and serving at the Altar. When I wasn’t doing my parish responsibilities I was learning as much as I could from Fr. Juan Anzora (pastor and only priest at St. Francis of Assisi) about parish life and priesthood.

When I wasn’t in the office, or safely visiting with families, I made sure that I was keeping myself healthy by being physically active. I decided to go on hikes in the mountains and, being a Yankee city kid from the concrete jungle of Brooklyn, New York, I got to experience the beauty of God’s creation on a much more frequent basis than I had in the past. All in all, even though I didn’t get to know the parish in the way I had hoped, I was as present as I could be to the people and I had a fulfilling, restful, and affirming summer. 

Joseph Carter: This summer I was assigned to the wonderful and friendly parish of St. Mary Magdalene in Newnan. As it was my first summer assignment, I didn’t know much of what to expect going into the summer other than that it was going to be slower than usual because of the COVID pandemic. Overall, it was a quiet and relaxing summer which was a sharp contrast to the fast-paced school year at seminary and the more suburban Marietta I grew up in. I enjoyed the extra time to dive deeper in spiritual readings, The Devotion to the Sacred Heart and The Way of the Pilgrim, and experiencing living at a parish for an extended period of time.

Jonathan Webster: This summer I was assigned to Saint Joseph’s in Athens; it has been a very unique experience. The Priests at St. Joes are assigned to two Parishes, so I have had the opportunity to work with St. Josephs and St. Catherine Laboure in Jefferson. At both of the parishes I have been able to serve at weekday and Sunday Masses as well as help out in the office. Alongside this, I also have been volunteering at a St. Vincent De Paul thrift store in Commerce, which has been a lot of fun and a great way to be able to get to know the people of the parish at St. Catherine’s. I also had the privilege of accompanying Father Michael to Life Teen’s Camp Covecrest which was a great experience.

David DesPres: This summer I was supposed to go to Antigua, Guatemala to study Spanish. However, because of the pandemic, I’m doing so in Sandy Springs. I have classes Monday through Thursday and go to a Hispanic mission on weekends for Mass. It has been challenging to study Spanish while still being in the U.S., because everyone around you is speaking English. However, it has been fantastic to remain close to family & friends, as well as LA Fitness, this summer.

What’s been a favorite moment from this summer?

Anthony Carosone: I think one of the most powerful moments I had during the summer was when I reached the top of Pine Mountain after hiking up a steep pathway for almost an hour. This was my first time hiking alone and it was one of the toughest hikes I’ve ever done. When I reached the summit overlook I was awed by the sheer beauty of God’s creation and the vastness of land before my eyes. Before, I looked at hiking as something that was overrated and had to be done socially to enjoy. However, that sweet moment of reaching the overlook made me realize just how much I enjoyed hiking and, considering how tired I was, I can imagine how tired Peter, James, and John must have been when Jesus took them up Mount Tabor for his Transfiguration. However, they were definitely in much better shape than I am.

Joseph Carter: Some of my favorite moments this summer have come from helping the church staff inside the church offices. In the case of the staff at St. Mary Magdalene, they are all incredibly kind women who share the same mission of keeping the church running smoothly so that the priest can continue to work on his own priestly duties. The staff are always willing to explain parts of their job to me and how it affects the church.

More so, a major project that the church was wrapping up this summer was an addition of a new pre-k building. The building project brought forth plenty of opportunities to sit down with the church staff to learn about the business administration side of being a pastor at a parish. It may not seem like it would be an exciting part of my summer – let alone my favorite – but working alongside the parish staff was always a privilege no matter the occasion

Jonathan Webster: I think my favorite moment from this summer was going to Camp Covecrest for a week in the beginning of July. It was a great experience, though a little awkward with social distancing and wearing masks. It is an absolutely beautiful and peaceful place, surrounded by mountains and forest, and with fantastic sunrises; I’m going to try and paint a picture of it in my spare time. I also really enjoyed being able to reach out to the teens and share the faith with them. This was particularly encouraging for me because I had previously greatly doubted my ability to connect with teens.

David DesPres: My favorite time during this summer was actually when we had to quarantine after being exposed to someone with Coronavirus (thankfully though, none of us got it). Because we had to stay in the house, we had a lot of time for fraternity. We watched Independence Day and the West Wing, cooked and ate together, and simply had fun. Even though the cabin fever was real, the growth in friendship made it both not awful and in fact quite enjoyable.

Anthony Carosone is going into his third year of college seminary at St. Joseph College Seminary in Louisiana. Voted most likely to sleep in his cassock, Anthony is super-friendly and outgoing, and he enjoys cooking, playing guitar and recently, photography. See his photos on his Instagram @anthony_carosone or Flickr.

Joseph Carter is going into his second year of college seminary at St. Joseph College Seminary. Adopted as a child and a talented dancer in high school, Joseph has a great love for Mary who has providentially been present his whole life. Read more about Joseph Carter.

Jonathan Webster is also going into his second year of college seminary at St. Joseph College Seminary. Jonathan is a convert to Catholicism and the youngest of eight children. His hobbies include: hiking, singing, painting, as well as writing poetry and short stories. 

David DesPres is going into Theology II at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. David grew up with the SOLT community in Covington, has four siblings, and is skilled in martial arts, musical instruments, and puns. Read more about David DesPres.