By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
At some point in their formation for the priesthood, the Archdiocese of Louisville’s seminarians will spend time serving in a parish. Many parishes around the archdiocese welcome these seminarians to help the young men gain pastoral experience.
“It’s a way to use everything I’ve learned in seminary up to this point, to apply that. While seminary is a great learning area, you don’t really get on-the-ground experience,” said Eddie Jarboe, a fourth-year theology student who is currently spending a pastoral year at St. Peter the Apostle Church.
The Vocation Office is one of dozens of ministries supported by the Catholic Services Appeal.
The CSA is the largest free-will offering of the Archdiocese of Louisville. To date, the 2018 campaign has raised $2,610,473, which is 67 percent of the $3.9 million goal.
Of the $2.6 million already pledged, $186,418 has been designated by donors to be set aside for the Seminarian Education Fund, which helps pays for the education and other associated costs of seminarian formation.
The average cost of educating a seminarian for one year is $45,000. Currently, 15 men are in formation to become priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
Sarah Wunderlin, director of annual giving for the Office of Mission Advancement, commended the individuals and families who have made a gift to support seminarians.
“This year more than 1,700 households have made an additional gift to the Seminarian Education Fund. That is about one in five donors who have decided to make an additional gift in support of our future priests,” she said.
Jarboe said the support of the CSA is encouraging, whether it’s tangible benefits — his tuition, books or living expenses — or intangible benefits, such as the opportunity to serve at a parish.
Jarboe began serving at St. Peter the Apostle in August. His time there is called a pastoral year, said Benedictine Sister Sarah Yungwirth, associate director for vocations. A pastoral year may occur before a man enters the seminary or at any point during his formation, she said. Some seminarians may also be assigned to parishes during the summer break.
Jarboe said he’s been engaged in a wide variety of parish activities so far, including compiling a list of homebound parishioners; making regular visits to St. Andrew Academy, the regional parish school; and connecting with parishioners.
“I’m very grateful for them taking me on,” he said. “It’s been a great learning experience so far. While I would describe parish life as chaotic, it’s also very refreshing.”
Father Christopher Lubecke, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle, said the benefits of a pastoral year to the seminarian and the parish are numerous.
Most importantly, Father Lubecke said, the parish benefits from his presence.
“It’s always a gift to see seminarians in a parish. To see a seminarian’s presence gives people hope,” he said. “I think Eddie brings a sense of optimism and hope to the priesthood and the people are very encouraging toward him as well,” said Father Lubecke.
“Secondly, what he has learned in seminary, he is able to start to apply some of that. His formation goes from the theoretical to the practical,” he said.
Father Lubecke added that he and parishioners feel a sense of gratitude for Jarboe’s presence at St. Peter the Apostle.