I want to thank everyone who was a part of making our first annual Homegrown Harvest Gala and Fundraiser a huge success. With the help of over 120 sponsors and donors, we reached and surpassed our goal of $75,000 to go toward our Seminarian Education Trust.
I hope that those who joined us for the livestream got to see the fruit of their donation in the men who are studying for the priesthood for our diocese. I put together a short video featuring all six seminarians, each of whom brings important gifts and a dedication to their own formation. They are also the fruit of families full of faith that supported and nurtured a care for the Lord and His church at home. Next year, I hope that we will be able to gather and celebrate these men and their families in person, but the livestream element provided its own opportunities and advantages.
I especially want to thank Father Jim Wehner, Rector of Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, who provided an incredible talk about seminary formation for our event. The best thing about this format is that you can still watch this entire event! You can go to jacksonpriests.com or to our diocesan YouTube page where I have posted the two videos featured at the Gala.
I also want to thank the diocesan staff that helped me pull off this even seamlessly. Rebecca Harris and Julia Williams in our development office took the initiative in learning about online fundraising, did software training, and helped me in so many other ways. Joanna King, our fearless director of communications always came up with great ideas to get the word out about this event, Rhonda Bowden of St. Jude in Pearl helped me put together a great event at St. Jude, and Rusty and Yvonne Haydel for helping me promote the event in many different ways. Thanks to Father Lincoln Dall for his hospitality, as we used St. Jude to present the livestream, and to Bishop Joseph Kopacz for encouraging me to keep going even when we had to move to an online gala. A special thanks to our sponsors and parishes who gave large gifts that really fast-tracked our fundraising. We continue to strengthen our culture of vocations, and God is bringing forth laborers for the harvest as we speak. Please keep praying for more holy priests and see you next year!