Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Parishioners take ownership of their faith through generous response to seminary campaign

by Kristy Orme, for the Inland Register

(From the May 20, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

Campaign statistics chart in PDF format

Over 3,900 households throughout the Diocese of Spokane have helped ensure that the future priests of the diocese will receive a strong education. Thank you for your support and for the legacy that you are leaving for this diocese!

The largest portion of the “Here I am, Lord, Send Me” campaign for the education of seminarians supports an endowment fund ($4.5 million) to help cover the educational costs of the diocese’s seminarians. The diocese currently pays for these educational costs through the Annual Catholic Appeal. In fact, one quarter of the diocese’s annual budget from the ACA – about $500,000 – goes toward these costs.

The good news is that currently the diocese has 20 seminarians, nine of whom are in their final four years of formation. In addition, the diocese will ordain one of these seminarians, Deacon Pedro Bautista-Peraza, to the priesthood this spring. The hardship, of course, is that the diocese cannot fund other necessary programs because of these growing educational costs. The endowment for education is indeed the perfect solution.

The endowment is a perpetual fund held and managed by the Catholic Foundation from which only a portion of the income is distributed for a specific use; the principal is maintained forever. Support of this endowment will ensure that seminarians in Eastern Washington will be able to discern the call of the Lord without worrying about their financial background.

The diocese pays about one-fourth of the Bishop White seminarians’ tuition at Gonzaga University. Gonzaga gives the students an additional 25 percent discount; the seminarians and their families pay the remaining 50 percent. Once the seminarians are in their final four years of formation, studying theology, the diocese pays for their entire educational costs. That cost to the diocese: approximately $25,000 per man, per year.

We expect priests to be there for us when we call. And when we call, they answer. Now is our chance to be there for them. Now is our chance to say, “Yes, I support my faith, and I want to ensure that we will have priests for the future. I am taking ownership in my faith.”

Thank you to the families who have made such a strong testament to their faith. To date, over $7.5 million has been pledged toward the campaign for the education of seminarians. The campaign’s $10 million goal will fund the endowment for education ($4.5 million), a new Bishop White Seminary ($3 million), operating costs of the seminary program until the endowment becomes fully funded ($1 million), and the 2004 Annual Catholic Appeal ($1.5 million).

(Kristy Orme is a regional campaign director for the “Here I Am, Lord, Send Me” campaign.)

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