By Fr. VICTOR INGALLS,
For The Catholic Week
We currently have 21 seminarians in the Archdiocese of Mobile. Just to put things in perspective, if the Archdiocese of New York had as many seminarians per capita as we do right now, they would have 653 seminarians! They currently have 41.
Needless to say, we are experiencing a real, live, spiritual renewal here in our archdiocese. As more young men respond to God’s calling for them to be our priests, it is our challenge to respond as well by adopting them as our own “sons” in the hopes of one day calling them “Father!” This is what this response practically looks like.
It costs us on average about $50,000 per year, per seminarian to form our guys for the priesthood. Sending a guy to seminary is the equivalent of sending him to a private Catholic college or graduate school. In addition to tuition, room and board, this cost also factors in the costs of books, health insurance, student fees and a monthly stipend. This cost further factors in the cost of having a full-time vocation director and running the Office of Vocations which supplies the archdiocese with vocational events, retreats and materials.
Consequently, with 21 seminarians, we will have a budget of $1,050,000 for the upcoming academic year. Ideally, this cost would be covered by the direct support of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Mobile. Otherwise this cost greatly strains the archdiocesan budget which further strains our parishes’ budgets — the archdiocesan budget consists solely of a 12 percent tax that each parish pays to the archdiocese.
Many people have expressed confusion to me about the cost of seminarian education since we ask for support in multiple ways.
The attached graph shows the breakdown of how we are currently paying for our seminarians’ formation. As you can see, we are $642,000 away from our goal for this coming academic year.
With this in mind, I urge you to consider supporting our second annual Seminarian Summer Gala. This will kick off our efforts to Support Our Seminarians this year.
This will be followed by our BURSE/SOS Campaign in September where the first $12 of every donation will go into our Burse Trust and everything above that will go directly to help our budget for this coming year. We are also blessed to have the $50,000 that was collected during a second collection in June. But still, as you can see, we have a long way to go!
Please pray about making a sacrifice of support that matches the spirit of sacrifice that our seminarians — our sons — are making in stepping forward to be formed to be our shepherds, pastors, priests and Fathers.
By Fr. VICTOR INGALLS,