Dear Friends in Christ,
This Year of Faith has offered us a good opportunity to reflect more deeply on the power and beauty of our Catholic faith. It is also a good opportunity to intensify our commitment to fostering vocations to the priesthood since the Church needs more preachers of the faith, men equipped by God’s grace to bring the Gospel to others so that more may experience the joy of following Christ.
Thanks be to God, our diocese has been blessed by a significant increase in the number of seminarians the past three years. We presently have 27 seminarians with others presently applying to enter the seminary for our diocese next year. This increase in vocations is a sign of the spiritual health and vitality of the Church in our diocese.
The cost to the diocese for seminary education has risen from $582,000 in 2009 to $1,096,000 this year. Next year it will be higher again due to the increasing number of seminarians.
Two years ago, I instituted the Annual Pentecost collection to help fund the budget shortfall for seminary education. In 2011, we collected $251,367 in the Pentecost collection and in 2012 $168,487. I am deeply grateful for your amazing generosity. The collections these past two years helped reduce, but did not eliminate, this budget shortfall or deficit.
This weekend, we will again have this special Pentecost collection in all the parishes of our diocese. I ask you to be especially generous through a truly sacrificial gift for this important need. Your contribution in the Pentecost collection is an expression of your faith in the Lord and your appreciation for our priests and future priests.
The Church began on the Feast of Pentecost when the Apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit, went out to the whole world to bring the Gospel to all creation. May the Holy Spirit bless our diocese as we continue this holy mission of evangelization!
Gratefully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades
Bishop of Fort Wayne – South Bend
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