Seminarian education is vital to the future of the Catholic Church, but it is also very expensive. For the Diocese of El Paso, the cost to educate and train one seminarian--including tuition, health insurance, and room and board at a major seminary can cost as much as $39,000 per year and averages $35,000 annually. Recognizing the need to raise money to support its seminarians, the diocese recently decided to put the "fun" in fundraising by organizing its first "Bowl for Seminarians" event.
The Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso was awarded Catholic Extension's 2015 Seminarian Endowment Challenge Initiative Grant. The Seminarian Endowment Challenge offers matching funds to dioceses for new or increased dollars they raise toward seminarian education endowments, serving as a fundraising stimulus for dioceses by enabling them to leverage this match in order to attract new or increased major gifts from donors in support of seminarian education. The bowling event gathered 30 teams of five bowlers each on July 2 to compete against priests, seminarians and even Bishop Mark J. Seitz. The event raised $14,599 on its own, which will be matched by another $4,866 from Catholic Extension.
One of Bishop Sietz's goals for the Diocese of El Paso is to reach 40 seminarians. Since his arrival, the number of seminarians has increased from 12 to 18. In 2015, that number is expected to jump to as many as 23. Father Miguel Angel, a graduate of Mundelein Seminary, now serves as the rector of St. Charles Seminary and the director of the Vocations Office for the Diocese of El Paso. According to him, the diocese could use at least 40-50 seminarians to meet its needs.
Watch the video below to meet some of the priests and seminarians who participated in the event. Click here to learn more about Catholic Extension's commitment to seminarian education.