Browsing The Northern Cross

Switch to summer proves to be good idea for appeal to support seminarians

By Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross

Parishioners in the Duluth Diocese will likely already have received materials inviting them to participate in the Summer Seminarian Appeal, which directly supports the education expenses of seminarians for the diocese.

From June 2014 ordination
Photo courtesy of Jane MacDougall
The Summer Seminarian Appeal that is currently underway in the Duluth Diocese has multiple benefits. Along with showing seminarians that they have the support of the people of the diocese, it has a practical benefit, too, by helping ensure that men don’t enter the priesthood with a huge amount of student debt. Pictured above is a scene from the June 20 ordination: Bishop Paul Sirba, by the laying on of hands, ordains Father Timothy Lange.

Father Ryan Moravitz, diocesan vocations director, said both the number of donors and the total were improved last year.

“It’s really very striking, actually, for that particular campaign,” he said.

One reason may be the decision to move the appeal to the summer, instead of having it around Thanksgiving. “It’s been a really successful move,” Father Moravitz said.

Moving to the summer presented a couple of advantages. “The reality is we have more people around in the summer than we do in the winter,” Father Moravitz said.

And because the seminarians are usually back in the diocese over the summer, often already on assignment in parishes, they are more easily able to get into parishes where they can talk about the appeal and why it’s valuable.

“And our guys are so impressive,” Father Moravitz said. “People want to meet with them.”

Seminarians encouraged

He said the support from and interaction with the faithful whom they may someday serve as priests is one of the big benefits for the seminarians.

“They get an encouragement from people, of people’s gratitude for what they’re doing, and people’s support for the hard work that they’re putting in right now for the future,” he said. “. . . The people they’re going to serve someday are grateful for them and support them.”

In addition to that moral support, there is a more tangible benefit too. Because the appeal supports immediate costs of seminary expenses, on the practical level it helps ensure that men don’t enter the priesthood with a huge amount of student debt, Father Moravitz said.

Over the past four years, the Seminarian Appeal has raised more than $883,000 to meet the cost of forming priests, and over the same span 12 priests have been ordained. There are currently 12 men in formation discerning a call to the priesthood.

Father Moravitz says for him that’s a “personal investment.”

“I know it’s going to have an influence on me in the future, and on my family and friends in the diocese,” he said.

The seminary formation will help ensure good pastors in the future for his parents and siblings and other family members, so the support of the faithful for the Seminarian Appeal “is actually supporting my family, as well.”

How to participate

Those who want to participate in this year’s appeal can use the materials received in the mail. It is also possible to give online by visiting and clicking on “donate.”

The faithful are also invited to connect with the vocations office on Facebook at