By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
During the last academic year, the Archdiocese of Louisville spent nearly $1 million to educate each of the 18 seminarians in formation to become priests.
This was made possible, in part, by individuals and families who donated to a special fund operated by the Catholic Services Appeal — the Seminarian Education Fund.
Separate pledge cards were mailed to all registered parishioners’ households last fall. They had the opportunity to donate specifically to that fund.
In the last three years alone, the fund has generated $876,000 for seminarian education: $258,000 in 2015; $319,000 in 2016; and $299,000 in 2017.
“The amount donated is a great sign of support. These were gifts in addition to their gift to the CSA,” said Sarah Wunderlin, director of annual giving, in an interview last week.
“Donors can see their gift in action,” she said, noting that the archdiocese saw the priesthood ordination of five recent seminary graduates last weekend.
“That’s the most we’ve ordained in 18 years. And, next year we have three expected to be ordained priests. It’s a great sign of vitality in our local church,” Wunderlin said.
With the seminarian fund, she said, “We are not looking at the next 30 days, but we’re looking at the next 30 years as we support our seminarians.”
The archdiocese pays about $50,000 per year per seminarian for education and related costs.
With 18 men in formation for the priesthood this past year, the total was about $900,000, said Richard “Tink” Guthrie, director of the Office of Mission Advancement.
He noted that several donors have sponsored a single seminarian throughout his time in seminary, which on average is about six years.
“We’ve been blessed with multiple donors who have paid the full cost for a seminarian throughout his journey,” Guthrie said.
Funding a seminarian’s education, Wunderlin added, allows men in formation to focus on their vocation rather than finances.
To contribute to the fund, visit www.archlou.org.
To learn more about the Vocation Office or if you or someone you know are interested in the priesthood or religious life visit louisvillevocations.com.