By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – The Diocese of Jackson is sending ten sons to college this year. Some of them are pursuing an undergraduate degree while others seek advanced studies in theology, philosophy, liturgy and ministry. All of them intend to spend their lives in service to the church, in fact, most of them spent the summer serving at parishes across the state.
As the seminarians report back to Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, St. Joseph Seminary college in Benedict, La., and Sacred Heart Seminary in Wisconsin, the costs begin to add up. Of course, the return on the investment is out of this world, but, the bills are pretty steep in the meantime. The diocese will pay $325,000 this year on seminary education.
The diocese featured snippets from the seminarians’ summer assignments on the facebook page for the last couple weeks. Among the more far-flung adventures were Tristan Stovall’s nine-day wilderness hike with COR International, Andrew Nguyen’s participation in the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University and Aaron Williams’ continuing studies at the Liturgical Institute. Closer to home, Cesar Sanchez and Adolfo Suarez learned about pastoral ministry in a hospital setting at St. Dominic’s Hospital. Andrew Bowden and Marc Shoffner served in parishes.
While regular college students might take summers off or work at home, these men continued their formation in one way or another.
Catholic Extension has offered a $25,000 match if the diocese can raise $100,000 in new donations for seminary education this year. To help people better understand how anyone can support this effort, the Office of Vocations and Stewardship and Development are sponsoring a series of brunches in three locations.
Flowood St. Paul Parish will host the first brunch on Saturday, Sept. 9. The second is at Natchez St. Mary Basilica’s Family Life Center on Saturday, Sept. 23. The final brunch is set for Saturday, Nov. 4 at Oxford St. John Parish. At the brunches, donors will meet the seminarians and have the opportunity to support this fund.
A group of people can pool their money, but each new gift must equal at least $1,000. Those who cannot attend the brunches are welcome to send donations separately. To learn more about the Seminarian Endowment, to RSVP to a brunch or to donate, contact Pam McFarland at 601-960-8479 or by email email@example.com.
Donations can be mailed to Catholic Diocese of Jackson, Seminarian Education Challenge, PO Box 2248, Jackson, MS 39225.