The St Paul Seminary School of Divinity has announced a $23 million endowment campaign that will, in the words of Archbishop Harry Flynn, "transform a very good seminary into a premier institution for the formation of priests and lay people."
Seminary officials said Archbishop Flynn planned to announce at a Dec. 7 kick-off dinner at the seminary that $12,150,000 -- 53 percent of the $23 million goal -- already has been raised in the campaign's advance phase.
The local church is seeing a "new springtime" for priestly vocations, Msgr. Aloysius Callaghhan, St Paul Seminary rector, told the Catholic Spirit. "The archbishop's intent is to give the best possible formation program one can," he said, expounding upon the areas the seminary is hoping to enhance. "That has, in a certain sense its price tag."
The campaign's goals are:
-- $12 million for scholarships for seminarians
-- $6 million for endowed faculty chairs
-- $2 million for educational programs for lay parish workers
-- $5.3 million for seminarian formation programs
The campaign represents the first endowment fundraising effort since the early 1890s when Methodist railroad tycoon James J. Hill and his Catholic wife, Mary, not only built the seminary but donated an endowment fund to ensure its stability, according to seminary officials.
The campaign's $12 million goal for scholarships, when invested, will provide $500,000 to $600,000 annually, according to seminary officials.
The $6 million that will be raised for faculty chairs will not only attract professors with outstanding reputations, but the annual income stream will help the seminary's budget on an ongoing basis, according to the seminary, which currently has received a gift to endow one chair in homiletics. It plans to add at least two more chairs.
The St Paul Seminary School of Divinity plans to use $2 million that it raises to provide about $100,000 annually to support the lay students, who are studying for graduate degrees in the fields of pastoral studies, religious education, theology and divinity.
As the number of priests has declined, lay people lhave taken on greater responsibilities in parish work. Many pastors depend on them for help in the areas of education, pastoral care, music and church administration.
The $3 million earmarked to endow formation programs will provide an annual income of about $150,000 to underwrite a range of programs that address the "four pillars" of priestly formation developed by the US. Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to the seminary.
In addition to academic study, the pillars considt of human development, spiritual growth and pastoral formation.
To prepare seminarians for their ministry as pastors, for example, they must now become conversant in Spanish -- through language study and summer internships -- and become immersed in the cultures of their future parishioners.
Bolstered by seminarians from as far away as Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska, today's enrollment is 63 seminarians, up from its low point of 51 in 1993.
"There is room for 96," Msgr. Callaghan said. "More young men would enroll if the seminary had the financial aid to assist them." The Catholic Spirit, December 7, 2006 [No Internet link available]