Let The Bell Ring Again!

By Ross Engel


We all have our own roles here at the Jagged Word. Some might say we wear labels at times. One of my tasks as the Dean of Awesome, a difficult label to live up to, is to seek out solid seminarians in need for the Jagged Word’s “Bell Ringer Fund.”

Many of you recall last February we began this noble undertaking of finding a seminarian during the Symposia. We take him under our wings, and then offer you, our intrepid readers, the chance to “adopt-a-seminarian” (and by adopt, we do mean, buy him a drink and some books).  We call this “adopt-a-seminarian” fund “The Bell Ringer’s Fund”.

Now I’d like to point out that thus far, the seminarian doesn’t know he’s being interviewed, doesn’t have a clue why he’s being dragged out by the Jagged Word crew for drinks and being grilled about life, theology, and more. Hopefully as this grows, seminarians from both campuses will seek us out, hoping to be deemed “Jagged Word” material.


Last year, we selected  2nd year Ft. Wayne seminarian Greg Bauch. He is on vicarage this year and doing very well with his wife and little boy. With the $300 raised by our gracious readers, Greg was able to buy a round of drinks for his classmates and picked up a few books. As he put it, “The fruits of the Bell Ringer fund = one dead orthodox [author], one higher critic, and one CPH embarrassment, along with a number of Old Rasputin’s for me and my sem. pals.”


This past September, as the Jagged Word participated in the St. Louis Symposium, I had the joyous task of meeting and selecting the next Bell Ringer recipient. The young man chosen to be our St. Louis seminary Bell Ringer was a most obvious choice. He is a stand-up, hard-working,  friendly man named Robert Bailey. You can see him, here, teaching a brother seminarian how to do a long pour of beer.


We actually met Robert a year ago. He was serving food and drinks at the Seminary’s Gemuchlichkeit (which is a German word that I struggle to pronounce but seems to connote some sort of festive gathering around food and drink).  Robert was able to join us one evening for beverages at the Fox and Hound Tavern. He is in his second year and preparing to head out on his vicarage at the end of this school year. Robert works 4 jobs on campus. He works the mailroom as a supervisor, he works at the food bank, he is an entertaining all well versed campus tour guide, and he tends bar for the many campus social functions that take place. In addition to that, he is well liked by his brother classmates and serves as the Vice President of the Student Association. He takes very seriously his role in advocating and helping the seminary community. He also plays on the seminary golf team and basketball team. He preached his first sermon at his Field Work church this October.

To refresh your memory about the Bell Ringer’s Fund here are the guidelines Robert has been given:

Upon accepting this we entrust you to follow these guidelines

1) Do not write us a thank-you card! You have better things to do! However if you can send a pic of you buying a neighbor a drink we would appreciate it.

2) This money cannot be spent for bills or loans

3) This money must be used for the following 2 things:

a) Drinks with your friends

b) A book (or books) that will be beneficial to your pastoral formation

4) Spread the word about The Jagged Word and find us next year.

5) Know that you are not alone. Be faithful unto death!

This is your chance to help us adopt seminarians: to mentor them and support them as they prepare for the parish. This program is perfect if you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Self, I wish I could buy a seminarian a book and a beer.”

So, let’s once again open the donation button, show our generosity to this future pastor, and help him ring the bell with his friends!

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