By Joe Lee
MADISON – The annual Luella and Floyd Q. Doolittle Memorial Golf Classic has an updated title to honor the family matriarch who passed away in January, but the family’s devotion to seminarian education and the Knights of Columbus goes back decades.
“(My brother) Floyd and I are grateful to the Knights for carrying on this great cause,” said Roger Doolittle. “Dad and Mom both felt strongly that there should be local support for seminarian education to educate priests for our diocese. Our parents felt that this was a worthwhile cause and enjoyed greatly the fellowship with the Knights of Columbus and their spouses in this endeavor.”
The tournament, which has raised as much as $15,000 in past years, is set for Saturday, April 15 at 1 p.m. at Whisper Lake Golf Club in Madison. Every single penny brought in goes toward priest education.
“We want to leave the door as open as possible for young men to discern the priesthood,” said Father Nick Adam, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Jackson. “Part of this is making sure that the cost of seminary education is never a hurdle that they have to clear. It costs about $50,000 a year to educate one seminarian.
“This includes tuition, books, room, board, and other necessary supplies and services that a seminarian needs during the year so he can focus on listening to the Lord’s voice during his discernment. This budget year, we allocated almost $400,000 for tuition, books, and fees alone, and that’s before providing the seminarians with stipends, insurance and other necessities.”
Tunney Vandevender, a past Grand Knight with St. Francis of Assisi Council 9543 in Madison, is an avid golfer as well as a strong supporter of the tournament’s cause.
“Having lately seen a surge in local Mississippi men making decisions to go to seminary, time is of the essence in generating support for them,” Vandevender said. “Seminarian education is essentially a college education steeped in theology and Catholicism.
“Given the cost to send one seminarian for one year to seminary, it is imperative to help lighten the financial strain on the diocese and others involved. (The tournament) shows our support for their brave decisions in a world that often is against them and our faith.”
Vandevender described the course as being moderately challenging, with water in places and varying elevations. He finds it shorter than many courses and mentioned a pair of hidden holes that make it fun.
To register an individual or team, visit https://bit.ly/DoolittleGolf2023 through the accompanying QR code, or email information and your questions to Art Ring at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch, followed by a putting contest and a closest-to-the-pin contest, will begin the day’s fun at 12 p.m. The tournament begins at 1 p.m. with a shotgun start. A three-course Cajun meal will be served after the awards presentation, which will take place around 4:45 p.m.