By Deacon Glen Bertrand
Director of Development
LAKE CHARLES -- The Catholic Extension Society has offered a challenge to raise seminary funding to the Diocese of Lake Charles. For every donation of $1,000 or more to the Seminary Burse Endowment, Catholic Extension will match the offering with 50 cents on every $1.00 given. By raising $50,000 by December 31, 2015, we will receive $25,000 in matching funds.
The Seminary Burse Endowment is a permanent fund set aside to provide income for the education and training of future priests. There are now 89 such funds. Seminary burses can be established in honor or memory of a loved one, in the name of especially well-loved priests (there are a number of these types of burses already established) or an organization with any amount of money. Contributions may be added to current burses at any time.
The principal amount of the fund is never spent but invested, with the interest used each year for education expenses of those men studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Lake Charles. Since the principal is never touched, this fund is truly a "gift that will give forever." Donations made to any seminary burse will continue to support the education of seminarians in perpetuity.
The Diocese of Lake Charles was recognized by Catholic Extension for its quick solicitation of donations since the year's start, now with $32,500 in new contributions as of May 27, 2015. Qualifying donations must be new or increased gifts of $1,000 or more. Lesser donations will be appreciated but do not qualify for the matching Challenge. All funds must be received in cash before December 31, 2015.
We are very excited to take advantage of this generous offer to raise funds for seminary education. We are enjoying record levels of seminarians in formation for the priesthood. With this blessing comes the challenge of providing the necessary education and support while they are in formation. Our current costs amount to over $600,000 per year.
We hope that those who can will do everything possible to support the seminarians. The Catholic Extension Society is one of the most generous supporters of our Diocese. The Seminarian Endowment Challenge gives the Diocese another way to raise much needed funding to support our development efforts for seminarian education.