Catholic Extension will match $1 for every qualifying $2 donation raised to fund seminary education
WASHINGTON, D.C.—A prayerful push to relieve the persistent shortage of Catholic chaplains in the United States Military now has new support. The national fundraising organization Catholic Extensionhas chosen the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) as one of only nine dioceses to participate in its 2014 Seminarian Endowment Challenge.
The Seminarian Endowment Challenge Initiative offers matching funds to selected dioceses to grow their long-term funding resources for seminarian education, specifically for new or increased dollars to be raised and designated toward seminarian education endowments. The Challenge also serves as a fundraising stimulus for dioceses by enabling them to leverage this match in order to attract new or increased major gifts.
For every qualifying $2 the AMS raises toward its seminarian endowment this year, Catholic Extension will match $1, up to $50,000. Qualifying donations must be new or increased gifts of $1,000 or more, or else money raised through special fundraising events designated for the program. In order to qualify for the challenge, all funds must be received in cash or readily marketable securities before December 31, 2014. No pledges will be accepted.
For the AMS, the only archdiocese responsible for endorsing priests to serve as U.S. military chaplains, the Catholic Extension matching grant challenge for seminarian support comes not a moment too soon. The number of working Catholic chaplains suffers an ongoing, steady decline as aging priests reach the military’s mandatory retirement age faster than they can be replaced. Today, only 234 priests remain on active duty, down from about 400 around the time of 9/11, and many more in years prior.
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, said:
“A goal of the AMS is to create a self-sustaining foundation for seminarian formation – one that will help to supply full-time priests for home dioceses and full-time military chaplains to help reach the AMS faithful, who number 1.8 million of Catholics around the world. The Catholic Extension Society is one of the AMS’s most generous supporters of both vocations and other pressing needs including the provision of Charitable Gift Annuities, and once again, I express my profound gratitude. The Seminarian Endowment Challenge gives the archdiocese another way to raise much-needed funding to bring up the next generation of Catholic military chaplains at a time when the current generation is stretched far too thin.”
When Archbishop Broglio took the helm of the AMS in 2008, he made vocations a top priority and profited from his predecessor’s establishment of the position of full-time Vocations Director. Through the efforts of former Vocations Directors, Father John R. McLaughlin and Father Kerry Abbott, OFM Conv., and newly-installed Vocations Director Father Aidan (Arthur H.) Logan, o.c.s.o., those efforts are paying off. The AMS has seen a sharp increase over the past six years in prospective chaplains entering the “Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program,” a vocations partnership between the AMS and participating local home dioceses around the country. The number of co-sponsored seminarians has shot up from seven in 2007 to 34 today and others are currently waiting for acceptance.
The large increase in co-sponsored seminarians is a blessing but places a large financial burden on the AMS. The cost to the AMS for each seminarian in the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program is $15,000 per year for five years, or $75,000. The projected expense for the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program over just the next 5 years is $2.7 million, up from less than a half-million just six years ago. That is in addition to an annual budget of $5.1 million. The AMS must continue to raise all that money from private sources as it receives no funding from the military or the government.
Visit the Catholic Extension website at http://www.catholicextension.org to learn more about the Seminarian Endowment Challenge and the Catholic Gift Annuity program, or contact Mary Lavin, Director of Major Gifts/Development email@example.com or (202) 719-3600.