Devoted to the Cause

After 20 years of gifts for seminarian education, Virginia and Richard Miles see a bright future.

Twenty-six years ago, Virginia Miles was volunteering at a historic parish in downtown Pittsburgh when she stumbled upon her first copy of Extension magazine. “I read through it,” she said, “and realized the need to help seminarians, so that’s how I got started.”

Since that time, Virginia and her husband Richard have sent more than $20,000 to Catholic Extension. In fact, 2012 marks 20 consecutive years of giving for the couple, who donate $100 a month in support of seminarian education.

“We try to help seminarians because of the great need in our Church. I see it all the time. Wherever we go, there is a need for priests,” said Virginia, whose home parish in the north hills of Pittsburgh has one pastor serving 3,000 families. In fact, in many of our country’s mission dioceses, priests must travel hundreds of miles to reach numerous parishes on any given weekend. But thanks to generous donors like the Miles, Catholic Extension currently is able to support the education of more than 550 seminarians. “We’ve been praying for many, many years,” she added, “and I think God is finally answering our call.”

Virginia and Richard believe that God’s answer extends beyond seminarian education—Virginia sees revitalization in the church all around her. “It’s an exciting time in the Church,” she said, noting that her home parish is full of young, Catholic families. In 2009, the parish opened the first new Catholic elementary school in Pittsburgh in 40 years.

The Miles’ are confident that Catholic Extension will play an instrumental role in the Church’s ongoing revitalization. “Catholic Extension is on fire,” Virginia said. “I’m so glad that you’re going out all over the country and trying to bring God into these communities. There are parishes springing up all over through your efforts.  It’s so necessary.”

Through their donations, the Miles’ are helping Catholic Extension build the next generation of priests to lead the Church in these communities. “We thank God through our charity,” said Virginia, “we’re passing it on.”

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