Fernando and Josefina Camou are the parents of Fr. Fernando Camou.
Parish: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Glendale
As parents of a recently ordained priest, what have you seen is the impact of seminarian support?
Fernando: When our son started talking about filling out the application [to enter seminary], he had finished college with an associate’s degree and was transferring to Arizona State University engineering, and he had a little change of direction.
We thought, “How are we going to be paying for a new university out of state and his room and board?” I thought it would be impossible. Luckily, through the support that the diocese provided him, we could help him with the rest. Without it, we would not have a new priest right now.
But it is lot more complex than room and board. That is where the campaign really helps the seminarians so they don’t have to worry about getting a loan. We wish that people realize how important that is for our seminarians.
In what ways can we support seminarians?
Josefina: The little things really make a difference, like prayers in the community. With my son, it was [parishioners taking] a personal interest in a seminarian. Being mindful and sending letters to him. For us it was very amazing to see our parish and our pastor welcome him and adopt him as a son. I know for my son it gave him the connection with the people in the diocese.
How does this campaign speak to evangelization and discipleship?
Fernando: The seminarians come from the community, are sponsored by the community and are living their priesthood right here. It is a cycle that people need to understand. The New Evangelization is going to come from the parishes that are on fire. The evangelization is the priority to learn how much God loves us and the Church. In my parish with the campaign, I feel we have a new renewal to the dedication with the Lord. I love seeing what the campaign is doing in the diocese and how important it is. Through young people at Catholic schools and with the Newman Centers we are going to see more and more vocations through the New Evangelization.