In a time when most Catholics think that the priest shortage has reached near-epidemic proportions, mission dioceses have actually seen increased seminarian enrollment. Although rural and under-resourced mission dioceses make up only about a quarter of the US Catholic population, they account for one third of all priestly ordinations in our country.

While a blessing, this growth creates a unique financial burden for mission dioceses that already dedicate a large portion of their annual budgets to the recruitment and education of seminarians. Through their generous gifts toward seminarian education, Catholic Extension donors are a blessing to these dioceses. Their donations ensure that there is no financial barrier preventing young men from answering God’s call to serve where they’re needed most.

Each year, Catholic Extension supports more than 550 seminarians from an average of 47 mission dioceses around the country through funding for seminarian education support. These seminarians attend more than 60 different seminarians in the U.S. and abroad. In the last 5 years, Catholic Extension’s support has totaled nearly $13 million, or an average of $2.6 million per year. These subsidies help to cover the dioceses’ financial obligations of seminary tuition costs, room and board, as well as the operation of diocesan vocations programs.

Supporting Seminarian Education

Bishop Robert Barron, rector of Mundelein Seminary, sits down with Fr. Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, and tells you why a key to Church survival is funding future priests’ training. 

In addition to providing overall seminarian education subsidies, Catholic Extension also supports seminarian education through specific strategic initiatives, which accounted for an additional $4 million in support for mission dioceses in the last 5 years:

  • The Francis Cardinal George OMI STL Scholarship provides advanced degrees to seminarians so they can serve as theological resources, teachers and trainers in their home diocese after ordination. This partnership with Mundelein Seminary offers scholarships to select seminarians who intend to complete a Sacred Theology Licentiate (S.T.L.) at the conclusion of their seminary formation.
  • The Seminarian Endowment Challenge helps mission dioceses to establish and grow a long-term foundation of funding by offering matching funds for new or increased dollars raised toward seminarian education endowments.

Stories from the Seminary 

Seminarians Discuss their Vocations 

Seminarians from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri discuss their vocations and offer advice to those considering religious life.

Seminarian Q&A

Anchored in Faith: Nick Adam 

A conversation with seminarian Nick Adam, who left his broadcasting career to talk about Christ. 

Following the Call: Ronald Manango

A discussion with Seminarian Ronald Manango, who will be ordained to the priesthood in 2016. 

Fundraising Challenge

Soccer for Seminarian Education 

An annual tradition helps raise money for seminarian education in the Diocese of Yakima. 

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