Our 2nd Annual Homegrown Harvest Festival was certainly festive. I am so grateful for the support from across the diocese that the Department of Vocations received. We had over 30 sponsors of the event as well as many other individuals and businesses who gave in different ways to make sure that we were able to reach our fundraising goal. My deadline for this article was just 48 hours after the event and we are still tabulating our final numbers, but it looks like over $80,000 was raised to support our seminarians and our promotional events for this year.
I was confident that this event would be a great time, and it was. It was a great time because it brought together so many stakeholders who all care about the same thing: the future of the church. This is why I wanted to have this event in the first place. There are so many ways that the People of God in Jackson generously support the church, but I do think that vocations can help to invigorate the faithful in a special way. Saturday was a testament to that.
I would like to thank in this space several people who made the event a success. Bishop Kopacz has been a great support to my department and has helped me a great deal simply by encouraging me to think outside the box. He is a big reason we had a successful event. The details were handled by our outstanding Diocesan Stewardship and Development Department led by Rebecca Harris and Julia Williams. Rhonda Bowden of St. Jude Pearl was the coordinator of our silent auction and did a fantastic job. The people of St. Paul Catholic Church in Flowood and their Pastor Father Gerry Hurley were so gracious to allow us to host the event at their parish. Our seminarians came up from south Louisiana to help in several different ways, and I think those in attendance really enjoyed getting to speak with them and getting to know them better.
All in all, our first in person vocations fundraiser in some time checked all the boxes I hoped it would. Most importantly, I think it was a visual reminder to all of us that God is working in the lives of young men and women in our diocese and there are many, many people who are praying that the Lord will send more laborers into the field of our parishes, schools and missions. Thank you for your support and prayers, and please continue to pray that the Lord will bring forth a fruitful, homegrown harvest of young priests to serve us in the generations to come.