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Collection to Support Seminarian Education Fund
“The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.”
--St. John Vianney
Patron Saint of Parish Priests
In August, parishes throughout the Diocese of Gaylord will take up a special collection to support the Diocesan Seminarian Education Fund. The annual collection was established in 2011 by Bishop Bernard Hebda to be held on the weekend closest to August 4, the Feast of St. John Vianney, Patron Saint of Parish Priests, though due to scheduling conflicts, some parishes will hold it at other times during the month. All donations received are used solely for tuition, books, room and board, and health insurance for diocesan seminarians.
In recent years, the diocese has worked hard to create a culture of vocations in which men and women are encouraged to listen for, and respond to, God’s call for their lives. An active volunteer Vocations Advisory Committee works to promote vocations awareness and to support men and women as they discern their call, whether to priesthood, religious life, married or the single life. The committee sponsors a number of special events including the annual altar server appreciation day, Vocations Recognition Dinner, the St. Andrew Task Force for young men, the Mystical Rose group for young women, an annual golf outing and more. Those efforts continue to bear great fruit for our diocese and for the Universal Church.
With great joy the diocese recently celebrated the priestly ordination of Fr. Matthew Cowan and in August, Anastasia Bragg, a young woman from Gaylord, will join the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco in New Jersey. The diocese is also making plans for the grand celebration of the Ordination and Installation of our new shepherd, the Most Reverend Steven J. Raica.
At the same time, our needs remain great. Currently nearly a third of the active priests in our diocese are working past their retirement date and most of our Pastors serve more than one parish. We need every vocation the Lord sends to us.
“This fall the Diocese of Gaylord expects to have 14 men in seminary formation,” said Fr. Don Geyman, Director of Vocations. “It’s a great blessing, but carries with it the added challenge of financing their education and formation.”
The total cost for seminarian education this year will approach $442,000. While the CSA supports a portion of these costs, without a substantial increase in the CSA targets or radical cuts in other programs, the diocese needs to turn to the faithful and other sources for help. The annual golf outing is one such effort, and last year the diocese also took advantage of a special one-time Seminarian Endowment Challenge match grant program
offered through the Catholic Extension Society which ultimately raised an additional $150,000.
“The support of the faithful, however, through gifts to the Collection for Seminarian Education as well as their continued fervent prayers, is most crucial to the success of our vocations efforts,” said Fr. Geyman.
Giving to this special collection means much more than simply providing support to our current seminarians. Participation by the faithful will help ensure the Catholic Church in northern Lower Michigan remains vibrant, that we may continue to be strengthened through the Eucharist, receive the graces of the Sacraments, and pass on the Catholic faith for future generations. Any amount raised in excess of this year’s costs will be deposited into a special fund for seminarian tuition within the Northern Michigan Catholic Foundation to help fund seminarian tuition into perpetuity.
“Our seminarians are gifted, spirit-filled, prayerful and dedicated men who desire to serve the Lord and the people of this diocese for the rest of their lives.” Fr. Geyman conclude
To make a gift to the Seminarian Education Fund, click on "Make a Gift" on the right of this page. To learn more about our seminarians or vocations in the Diocese of Gaylord, click here.