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

Rector’s Dinner inaugurates ‘Seminarian Endowment Challenge’

the Inland Register

(From the May 17, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

George Czerwonka was the recipient of this year’s Bishop Topel Award for his outstanding support of Bishop White Seminary. Pictured with Czerwonka are, from left, Father Steve Dublinski, rector of Bishop White; George’s wife, Sharon; and Bishop Cupich. (IR photo courtesy of Bishop White Seminary)

Taking advantage of the celebration of the annual Rector’s Dinner April 30, Father Steven Dublinski, rector of Bishop White Seminary and the Diocese’s Director of Seminarians, announced a special “Seminarian Endowment Challenge” offered this year by the Catholic Extension Society to only 13 dioceses in the United States.

Bishop Cupich, all former living rectors of Bishop White Seminary, and scores of benefactors and seminary supporters attended the dinner which began with evening prayer in the seminary chapel and progressed to dinner in the Globe Room at Gonzaga University’s Cataldo Hall.

The Challenge offers up to a total of $50,000 in matching contributions to be deposited to an endowment managed through Catholic Extension. Since the goal of the challenge is to encourage an expansion of a diocese’s fund-raising efforts, contributions must be “new” money above and beyond regular contributions, fund drives or activities. Solicitation of funds from mass mailings is not allowed.

Father Dublinski has reported that $12,440 has been received toward the Challenge since its inauguration at the dinner. “Financial support of our diocese’s priestly formation program has been constant for decades. I am most confident that that generosity will be manifest again in a successful meeting of this challenge.

“As with all Catholic institutions and programs, the provision of lasting financial stability to meet the increasing expenses related to the education and formation of future priests through a network of endowments is a must,” said Father Dublinski. “The Seminarian Endowment Challenge offered by the Catholic Extension Society provides an opportunity that cannot be ignored. Contributions made in response to this offer will add to a growing number of endowments established over time to help bolster our seminary programs.”

The vast majority of those endowments are held in the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Washington. Distributions from those endowments provided over $90,000 last fiscal year in support of the diocese’s seminary programs.

Contributions to the Seminarian Endowment Challenge can be made to: Bishop White Seminary, 429 E. Sharp, Spokane, WA 99202. The Diocese has until December 31 to raise funds up to the $50,000 level.

Bishop Topel Award

Continuing a tradition begun at last year’s Rector’s Dinner, Father Dublinski presented the Bishop Topel Award to George Czerwonka, Washington State Secretary of the Knights of Columbus.

The award is named after Bishop Bernard J. Topel, third bishop of the Diocese of Spokane, who founded Bishop White Seminary in 1956. The seminary is named for his predecessor, Bishop Charles D. White. The award is given annually to an individual in honor of their outstanding support of the seminary program. Last year’s recipient of the Bishop Topel Award was retired Bishop William S. Skylstad, who shepherded the Diocese of Spokane from 1990-2012.

“Our seminarians receive thousands of dollars each year from the generosity of the Knights Councils of our region,” said Father Dublinski. “In the past two years, George has headed up the effort to secure pledges from KC councils from around the entire state. He has helped retire the building debt of Bishop White Seminary,” with $44,000 raised so far.

In his remarks to the dinner attendees, Bishop Cupich lauded the Knights for their continued support of the diocese’s seminary program, and Czerwonka in particular for his persistent efforts in recent years to procure funding to help defray the construction cost of the new Bishop White Seminary building.

“Over the years, the Knights of Columbus have been important supporters of our diocese’s seminary program both in their support of Bishop White Seminary as an institution, but also for individual seminarians. Their prayers and financial support are a lasting blessing to our diocese, for which we are most grateful,” the bishop said.

Priestly formation expenses

The Diocese’s Fiscal Services Office reports that in the last fiscal year, $576,906 was spent on the education and formation of the men in priestly formation. Currently 13 men are engaged in seminary programs either at Bishop White Seminary or at Theological College at The Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.) or the North American College in Rome.

Of particular note is that in recent years the Catholic Extension Society has granted significant sums of money to the Diocese of Spokane in support of its seminary programs. That sum last year alone was more than $375,000.

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