The three men ordained as priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville May 25 each expressed a desire recently to serve the people of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
Fathers Anthony L. Cecil Jr., Steven Reeves and Kirby Rust said in recent interviews that they want to be part of the lives of their parishioners, to help bring them closer to Christ and help meet their needs.
The three new priests are able to do so because parishioners have helped meet their needs, said Melody Denson, director of the Office of Mission Advancement.
The people of the Archdiocese of Louisville have donated about $300,000 a year for the last three years to the archdiocese’s Seminarian Education Fund, which is part of the Catholic Services Appeal.
Totals to date for the 2019 seminarian fund stand at $301,765. The totals for 2018 and 2017, respectively, were $299,322 and $319,000.
Denson said that by investing in seminarians, people are in a sense investing in the future of the church.
The education of one seminarian costs an average of $50,000 per year, she noted.
This past academic year, there were 14 men in formation for the priesthood. That totals about $700,000 spent on seminarian formation in the 2018-2019 school year, said Denson.
Because the cost of their education and living expenses have been paid, the seminarians are able to focus on their formation, Denson said.
“They don’t have to worry about where the money is coming from, they can concentrate on school,” she said. “I think knowing the faithful out there are supporting the future of the church means a lot to them.”
Denson said the success of the fund is a testament to the generosity of the people of the archdiocese.
“I think people who give (to this fund) like to see where their money is going and how it’s being used,” she said.
Last year, she noted, parishioners saw five men ordained priests for the Archdiocese of Louisville.
Denson said that separate pledge cards for the fund were mailed to parishioners last fall along with their Catholic Services Appeal materials. About 2,360 people have made gifts to the fund during the current campaign.
Several individual donors have stepped up to sponsor a single seminarian throughout his seminary formation, which on average takes about six years.
“The cost to send these men to seminary is one of the largest expenses for the archdiocese. It’s much needed but it’s a large expense,” she said.
For more information about the fund or to contribute, visit www.archlou.org/csa.
If you or someone you know are interested in the priesthood or religious life or want to learn more about the Vocation Office, visit louisvillevocations.com.