Catholic Services Appeal surges forward

csa-tag16By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

As the year winds down, the 2016 Catholic Services Appeal is speeding toward its goal of $3.5 million.

The annual campaign — the Archdiocese of Louisville’s largest free-will offering — had raised $2,637,867 as of Nov. 15. That represents 75 percent of the $3.5 million goal. Presently, 9,099 donors have contributed to the appeal.

Staff of the Office of Mission Advancement called the current total “an outstanding response” and noted the current total is higher than at this time last year.

“This would not be possible without the leadership of our pastors and the support of our lay leaders that work hard to ensure our parishes are successful in the appeal,” said Sarah Wunderlin, coordinator of annual giving.

The Catholic Services Appeal provides funding to dozens of ministries and programs in the archdiocese, including the Vocation Office. Seminarian education gets direct support from the CSA through the Seminarian Education Fund. CSA envelopes include an option to donate specifically to this ministry. The average cost to educate a seminarian per year is $45,000.

David Farrell
David Farrell

David Farrell, a 28-year-old seminarian for the archdiocese who attends St. Meinrad Seminary in Southern Indiana, said he’s grateful for the CSA’s support of his education.

“I do know that everything I receive here is a gift,” he said during an interview last week. “It’s not for my own sake. Priesthood is not for my sake but for the sake of others. … I’m so dependent on other people forming me and other people teaching me.”

The only way vocations to the priesthood are possible, he said, is by others stepping in and “giving gifts.”

“Just like Jesus gave the gift of vocation to his apostles, it’s not something done on my own. The church today continues to step in and provide vital formation without which there wouldn’t be a priesthood,” he said.

Farrell and the 17 other men in priesthood formation for the Archdiocese of Louisville travel a long road in education prior to their ordinations.

Seminarians must first complete a bachelor’s degree — either at a college seminary or another post-secondary institution. Then they typically complete two years of philosophy and four years of theology.

Farrell, whose home parish is St. John the Apostle Church in Brandenburg, Ky., attended Murray State University and is now in the third year of his theology studies. He expects in March to be ordained a deacon, which usually occurs a year prior to presbyteral ordination.

Most of the archdiocese’s seminarians have completed a bachelor’s degree program, according to Sister Sarah Yungwirth, the archdiocese’s associate director for vocations.

 Two are enrolled in college seminary at Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary in Indianapolis.

 Thirteen seminarians have completed a bachelor’s degree and attend major seminaries. Of the 13 enrolled in major seminary, two are completing their philosophy studies and 11 are in various levels of theological study.

 Two other seminarians, who are from Vietnam, have completed their philosophy studies and are studying English at the University of Louisville.

 One seminarian is doing a pastoral year, where he is gaining experience in a parish setting.

Farrell said the most important part of his seminary formation thus far is what he calls “human formation.”

“That means developing emotionally and growing in self knowledge,” he explained. “That is the foundation of spiritual life and for being a good minister to others.”

In his estimation, one of the most important courses he’s taken focused on counseling.

“I really look forward to having some of those professional skills and being able to have skills to help guide and counsel others,” he said.

Farrell said he expects to use the counseling techniques everyday as a pastor. He noted he already employs those skills when he makes a weekly visit to Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Louisville.

At the end of his seminary studies, Farrell said he expects to have earned master’s degrees in philosophy and divinity.

The Meade County native said being a seminarian for the archdiocese is a “great privilege.”

“I’ve felt enormous gratitude,” he said, when “I look at what the church is providing for me.”

To learn more about the Catholic Services Appeal and the ministries it supports, visit

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