Education Endowment donations needed to earn matching Extension grant

Each fall the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors gathers. This year, Archbishop Joseph Lucas of Omaha reflected on the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation ‘I Shall Give You Shepherds.’ This exhortation followed the 1990 synod of bishops reflecting on priestly formation. Pope Saint John Paul wrote, “Pastoral work for vocations needs especially today, to be taken up with a new vigor and more decisive commitment by all the members of the Church…[It] is an essential part of the overall pastoral work of each church.”
Archbishop Lucas explained, “The church is a community of those being called.” He continued that all have been impacted by the sexual revolution, the consumer culture, and relativism. The church must have priests, and God is calling young men. They are imperfect, but they can grow.
The Diocese of Jackson has 12 seminarians currently in formation, an expensive prospect for any diocese. The faithful can help by donating to the Seminarian Education Endowment, and now their gifts can go even farther, thanks to Catholic Extension Service’s Seminarian Endowment Challenge.
Extension will give $500 for every new $1,000 donation to the endowment, but the diocese has to get $75,000 in donations by the end of the year to earn the match.  Groups of people can donate, but the donation must be a new one, not a renewal from last year and it cannot come from an organization such as the Knights of Columbus.
It costs between $32,700 and $40,650 to educate a seminarian for a year depending on whether he is going to St. Joseph Abbey or Notre Dame Seminary, both in Louisiana. The men pay for part of their education, but the diocese also pays. Being able to build up the endowment is critical to help these men complete their discernment and formation as well as being a catalyst for local vocations.
All donations should be payable to the Catholic Diocese of Jackson and earmarked for the Seminarian Endowment Challenge. Send them to 237 East Amite Street, Jackson, MS 39201. For more information contact Father Matthew Simmons at 601-960-8484 or or Aad de lange 601-960-8459 or