June 29, 2021 // Diocese

Education of future priests braced by Pentecost Collection

The Pentecost Collection takes place in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend every spring to fund the education of diocesan seminarians. This year’s collection supported those future priests generously in their formation by contributing more than $500,000 toward their undergraduate and graduate college and seminary studies.

The special collection was added to the diocesan calendar in 2011 by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. Each year, the funds of the Pentecost Collection are wholly applied to the cost of preparing for ministry dozens of young men who will serve parishes in the diocese as priests. 

Pentecost is then “an appropriate feast for this collection, since the Holy Spirt is the source of all ministry, the Author and Giver of the spiritual and pastoral strength of those called to be priests. At ordination, our seminarians will be equipped by the Holy Spirit for the work of priestly ministry,” Bishop Rhoades said in 2019. 

“We need funds to support the seminary education of the young men of our diocese whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood. They are being educated and formed in the seminary to become like Christ the Good Shepherd in order to serve the Church, to serve you through the proclamation of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments. By giving generously to the Pentecost collection, you are supporting these young men and their formation in the seminary, their preparation to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at ordination.

“One of the ways the Holy Spirit works in the Church is by inspiring vocations to the priesthood,” he added at the start of last year’s collection. “I give thanks that the Holy Spirit is blessing us here in our diocese with a good number of priestly vocations. I am grateful to you for your prayers for priestly vocations here in our diocese and throughout the world.”

In a letter mailed directly to the faithful earlier this year, Vocations Director Father Andrew Budzinski noted that the cost to educate all the seminarians of the diocese is well over a million dollars a year. Last year’s Pentecost Collection, which also totaled a little more than $500,000, funded 1/3 of the cost seminarian costs for the 2020-21 school year, thereby allowing more Annual Bishop’s Appeal money — some of which also supports the seminarian education fund — to instead enhance toward programs and other ministries of the diocese. 

The number of seminarians preparing for a vocation has risen during the 11 years of the collection. In June, Bishop Rhoades ordained seven new priests for the diocese — the most since 1962 — and that number looks to be surpassed in 2023. These priests will “one day go out with joy and enthusiasm as priests to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus with the strength of His Spirit,” the bishop noted.

The mailing of an update on the state of vocations directly to the homes of Catholics across the diocese this year and last year may have given those who received it an opportunity to reflect and pray about their contribution, said Secretary for Stewardship and Development Jeff Boetticher, resulting in the increase in donors and the size of donations. 

On behalf of the bishop, Father Budzinski and the seminarians, Boetticher expressed appreciation to everyone who has contributed in a small or large way to the Pentecost Collection “especially in the last few years. We’ve had this significant rise in the number of seminarians, and this collection is the primary way to support their education,” he said. “We’re very appreciated and very blessed.”

Anyone still wishing to contribute to this important collection can do so on the diocesan website, www.diocesefwsb.org/diocesan-donations.

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