Editor’s Note: The 2011-2012 United Catholic Appeal is underway throughout the Diocese of Amarillo. Please consult the April 3 issue of The West Texas Catholic, the diocesan website www.amarillodiocese.org or your parish bulletin for more details about this year’s campaign.
Anyone with a child in college knows how expensive that can be.
Multiply that several times to get an idea of what it costs to educate future priests for the Diocese of Amarillo.
“I tell people it’s like having seven kids in college at the same time,” said Kim Richard, director of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Amarillo. “Each seminarian’s tuition costs are between $25,000 to $35,000 per year.”
At this time there are seven seminarians studying for the Diocese of Amarillo. They are:
Carmelo Morales, studying at the Angelicum in Rome;
Scott Schwind and David Schrock , studying at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio;
Joe Lafuente, studying at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio; and,
Adam Gonzales, Grant Spinhirne and Shane Wieck, all studying at Conception Seminary College in Conception, MO.
Helping to pay a significant portion of educating seminarians is the United Catholic Annual Appeal.
“The 2011-2012 UCA campaign seeks $138,000 to help pay for seminarians’ education, as well as supporting the vocations office,” said Richard. “The UCA also raises money for health insurance costs. Once seminarians are old enough not to be able to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans, the diocese provides that coverage for them.”
Altogether, the UCA is seeking $947,765 to help pay for a variety of diocesan ministries.
Support for seminarian education accounts for about 15% of the campaign goal.
Supplementing the UCA allocation is income from grants, annual parish collections, endowed gifts seminarian scholarships and loans as well as individual donations. Richard said those sources are paying for seminarian costs, but with seven men studying to become priests, those costs are escalating.
“One of the big reasons the diocese pays for seminarian education is so everyone can answer that call,” Richard said. “We don’t want economics to be the reason you don’t follow your vocation.”