By Barb Arland-Fye
Seminarian Jacob Greiner is grateful to the Diocese of Davenport for its support as he discerns a vocation to the priesthood. Greiner, 28, of Holy Trinity Parish in Keota, is in first-year theological studies at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.
The “Moving Forward in Faith and Hope” capital campaign underway in the Diocese of Davenport will help fund seminarian education costs, such as tuition, room and board, textbooks, stipends and health insurance. The campaign will also supplement the Annual Diocesan Appeal to further promote vocations and enhance vocation awareness among youth and adults.
Greiner shares these thoughts about what seminary education means to him: “The word ‘seminary’ comes from a Latin word that means ‘seed plot.’ Therefore, my experiences of seminary training and formation is helping the seed of my vocation to the priesthood reach maturity — ordination to the priesthood of Jesus Christ in the Diocese of Davenport.
“The capital campaign contributes directly to the process of growing and supporting vocations to the priesthood in the Diocese of Davenport through its support of seminary formation. I am very thankful to God for these amazing gifts of financial support and prayers that allow me to do God’s will in my life.”
Many more vocations to the priesthood are needed as the number of retired priests will increase greatly in the next few years and ordinations to the priesthood are not keeping pace with retirements. At the same time, seminary education costs are increasing faster than the rate of inflation. Taking these issues into consideration, “we must be proactive in promoting vocations and improving the quality and affordability of seminary education for our diocese,” said Father Marty Goetz, the diocese’s director of vocations.
He said capital campaign funds will bolster his mission. He visits Catholic schools and youth groups across the diocese to explain the value of vocations and the importance of following the path where God leads them. Additional funding will help broaden the marketing efforts needed to further promote vocations to all who may be interested in pursuing the call to ordained ministry.
With the support of capital campaign funds, “we can be more pro-active in vocation awareness, vocation promotion, helping our future priests, our future deacons, our future leaders of the church,” Fr Goetz said. “I am just so overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of the diocese and their concern for vocations because we’re all in this together. It’s not just about me; it’s about all of us as a diocese.”
To date, the capital campaign has raised $14 million toward its $22 million goal. Funds will cover the purchase and renovation of diocesan headquarters in Davenport as well as support clergy, seminarians, schools, parishes and diocesan ministries. Each parish also will receive 20 percent of the funds it raises toward its target goal and 50 percent of any overage.