Students deliver gifts to children of incarcerated

By Sam Lucero | The Compass | December 16, 2014

St. Lawrence Seminary students participate in Angel Tree project

On the outskirts of the Diocese of Green Bay sits the village of Mount Calvary, home of St. Lawrence Seminary High School. Located about 20 miles east of Fond du Lac in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, SLS stands high atop a hill, overlooking the majestic farm country below.

Capuchin Fr. John Holly, rector of St. Lawrence Seminary High School, holds a prayer service and offers a blessing over gifts purchased by students. (Submitted photo)
Capuchin Fr. John Holly, rector of St. Lawrence Seminary High School, holds a prayer service and offers a blessing over gifts purchased by students. (Submitted photo)

St. Lawrence dates back to 1860, when the Convent Latin School was opened by two Swiss priests who arrived in Mount Calvary four years earlier. They entered the Capuchin Franciscan religious order and began a Capuchin friary.

St. Lawrence Seminary is the alma mater to many Green Bay diocesan priests, past and present. A handful of local young men continue to study at the seminary.

Because St. Lawrence is not affiliated with the Green Bay Diocese, it does not get a lot of publicity in The Compass. However, the school’s Christmas project deserved some attention and I decided to blog about it.

According to a press release from SLS, the high school participates in Angel Tree, a national program through Prison Ministries Gifts. “Gifts are given to children in the name of their parent who is in prison,” stated the press release. “This ministry is a campus-wide effort here at St. Lawrence Seminary and is organized by (student activities director) Margie Buelow.”

Seniors at St. Lawrence Seminary High School prepare to deliver Christmas gifts to children in the name of parents who are in prison. (Submitted photo)
Seniors at St. Lawrence Seminary High School prepare to deliver Christmas gifts to children in the name of parents who are in prison. (Submitted photo)

All students at St. Lawrence participate in the Angel Tree program.

“The freshman class members write the Christmas cards to the incarcerated parent,” the school explained. “A letter is included with each card telling the parent what they are giving their children for Christmas.

“The juniors do the shopping and sophomores do the wrapping. And on the final Sunday before Christmas break, all of the gifts are placed under the Christmas tree in the chapel,” according to the seminary.

Capuchin Fr. John Holly, rector, then holds a brief prayer service and offers a blessing over the gifts and senior class members and SLS staff deliver the presents. Each family also receives a fruit basket.

This year, SLS students purchased gifts for more than 100 children, spending about $5,000 on clothes and toys. Families benefitting from the Angel Tree program came from many communities in the Green Bay Diocese, including New Holstein, Chilton, Hilbert, Kiel, Brillion, Maribel, Two Rivers and Green Bay.

St. Lawrence Seminary High School students deliver Christmas gifts. (Submitted photo)
St. Lawrence Seminary High School students deliver Christmas gifts. (Submitted photo)

“St. Lawrence Seminary is proud to be able to give back to the local community through this wonderful ministry,” the press release noted. “It is one of the most loved ministries on campus as students feel like Santa’s little helpers making children’s Christmas wishes possible.”

It’s great to see the outstanding service provided by the Capuchins and lay faculty at St. Lawrence Seminary extend into community outreach. Projects like this benefit so many people in need – all while providing a faith based education to Catholic young men. Go Hilltoppers!

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