By Father Gregory Galvin, Director of Priestly Vocations
A special thank you to all who participated in the Annual Diocesan Seminary Fund Collection. On behalf of our past, present and future seminarians, we thank you! Why is this particular collection so important? In case you did not have the opportunity to donate in years past or hesitated to donate because of all that has gone on with regards to the scandals of clergy in the news these past ten months, please take a few moments more and read on. First, consider the future of your Church, your diocese, your children’s faith, and the importance you place in having availability to the sacraments for your children and grandchildren in the future.
We all must remember that without future priests to confect the Eucharist, it will not be regularly available to us. The same is true of confession, to experience the mercy of God’s love for us. God is still calling men to be priests to serve His family and make available the sacraments of the Church for His children. You are His children. You are His family. Men are coming forward each year here in Eastern Connecticut, saying yes to the “Call of God” to serve His family, the Church.
We all share a responsibility to say yes to support those called by Christ so that they may be given the best possible formation humanly, spiritually, pastorally and academically. Last year’s collection of $80,130.32 was very generous and we are grateful to all who were able to financially support the collection. It is important for everyone in the Diocese to know that last year’s collection assisted in us covering the equivalent expenses of one and a half of the ten men currently studying for the Diocese.
In other words, per seminarian; the Diocese pays out $37,000 for tuition, room and board, $5,700 for stipends and $907 per month for health insurance. This comes out approximately to $54,000 per year per seminarian. That means for this past year the sponsorship of our Diocesan family has invested $540,000! This is why I ask you to consider this annual collection.
Please reconsider, pray about it and make a spiritual investment through a sacrificial gift to this collection. Maybe, as Bishop Cote wrote in his recent pastoral letter regarding this same collection, “one of those young people from your parish receiving their First Holy Communion, being confirmed this year”…, or graduating from college in the next year or so is a future religious or priestly vocation for the future of your diocese.
They deserve to be able to discern with freedom, God’s will for them, not pressured by mounting bills where they think “oh, I have to continue because I have paid out so much already…” If we can make it possible for them to be true to themselves, true to God and true to their true vocation, then we will be able, for many more years to continue to build well together the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom our Heavenly Father has asked each one of us to take responsibility for in different ways. Thank you again for whatever you can do to help us support our present seminarians and our future diocesan priests. God bless you and thank you again for whatever you can do.