Spread Some Cheer and Ring the Bell!

By Ross Engel

Well, I managed to survive another successful week at the Concordia Seminary Symposium in St. Louis last week! In the midst of continuing education and a topic that was focused on life-long catechesis, the authors of The Jagged Word managed to enjoy some time for fellowship and deep conversation with each other. We hosted the fourth-year class at a local Irish pub, and it was great! We bought them a few rounds, hired an Irish band, and conversed with these young seminarians who are just a few months away from receiving their first calls into the Office of the Holy Ministry. It was a tremendous time of brotherly dialogue and even a few laughs!

In the midst of it all, I was also able to fulfill my role as “the dean.” If you recall, one of my duties here at The Jagged Word is to adopt a fine seminarian from each seminary at each Symposia and give them the name “Bell Ringer.” I then get the joyous task of introducing him to you, the Jagged Mafia as we raise money for this seminarian. For those of you who need a refresher on what the “Bell Ringer” is, give this a read.

This year, our St. Louis “Bell Ringer” is a second year seminarian by the name of Adam Rodriguez.


Adam is a former DCE who absolutely loves youth ministry. He’s a PK (pastor’s kid). Adam and his wife Kyla met while studying to be DCEs at Concordia Chicago. After serving the Church for some time in the role of DCE, the opportunity arose for Adam to attend seminary. After much prayer and contemplation, he packed up his things and moved from Wisconsin to St. Louis and is halfway done with his seminary training.

Adam regularly gathers a group of his brother classmates together to converse about theology over a “good” glass of whiskey. Actually, I think I recall him saying that they buy extremely cheap and often terrible whiskey that he and his classmates suffer through while discussing life, classes, and their futures in the ministry. Clearly, Adam is not adversely affected by this, as he has run the Chicago Marathon a few times and plays on the seminary basketball team. Oh, to be young again!


Adam was excited to be invited to The Jagged Word’s Fourth-Year get together at the local Irish Pub. A pleasant young man to talk to, it is apparent that he is anxiously looking forward to vicarage and being able to get back into the parish to serve the Lord and the people whom God places into his care. Of course, right now, I think it is safe to say that he and his wife are most excited about the upcoming birth of their first child, a son, who is due this December.

You, the faithful readers of The Jagged Word, our Jagged Mafia, have faithfully and lovingly supported several seminarians these past few years. We raised a total of nearly $1,200 for the previous Bell Ringers, each of them fine men who currently are either serving the Lord’s church or are only months away from their first call. Continue to pray for these young men, their families, and their ministry, and consider supporting Adam as well. The Bell Ringer fund has afforded these men the opportunity to enjoy a time of fellowship with their brothers and helped prepare them for ministry by purchasing a book or two for them as well. They appreciate you, and I know that I am grateful for your continued support!

Adam, like all our other Bell Ringers, has received the following instructions. Though never a Boy Scout, has given us his “scouts honor” to uphold these guidelines.

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 on bills or loans

3) This money must be used for the following two 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!