Fostering the call: Extension offers boost for Seminarian Endowment

By Maureen Smith
Catholic Extension Service has honored the Diocese of Jackson with the opportunity to partake in its Seminarian Endowment Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to help the diocese cultivate its long-term financial ability to fund the increasing cost of seminarian education by offering matching funds for new or increased dollars raised toward seminarian education.
Ten seminarians are currently in priestly formation for the Jackson diocese, attending St. Joseph and Notre Dame Seminaries, both in Louisiana. The cost for educating each seminarian is between $34,000 and $50,000 each year, depending on which school they attend.
Within the upcoming months, the diocese will begin asking the faithful to relieve some of this burden by donating to the Seminarian Education Endowment. Thanks to this challenge from Catholic Extension, each gift can go even farther. Catholic Extension has agreed to award this diocese $25,000 if donors raise $100,000 in new or increased donations by December 31. 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.
The diocese is obligated to pay the schooling for seminarians, as they in turn give their lives to us as priests. Fostering this endowment is critical to help these men complete their discernment and formation as well as being a catalyst for local vocations.
The Office of Stewardship of Development will be hosting several brunches in honor of the seminarians throughout the spring, but anyone can donate at any time. To learn more about how the challenge contact Rebecca Harris, Director of Stewardship and Development at 601-960-8477 or by email