Reason for rejoicing: But our seminarians need our continued prayers and support Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Editor's View by Mary C. Uhler

People in the Diocese of Madison have a reason to rejoice: our diocese is now blessed with 32 seminarians — men who will, God willing, become future priests to serve the Church in our diocese.

Just nine years ago, only six men were studying in seminaries for our diocese. Bishop Robert C. Morlino set a personal goal for the diocese to reach 30 seminarians by his 10th year as  Bishop of Madison in 2013. That goal has been met a year earlier — and has been surpassed by two.

Promoting vocations a priority

The bishop himself has made promoting vocations a top priority. He speaks about the need for priests as he travels throughout the diocese, especially when he addresses young people at Confirmations and other events.

He also appointed a full-time diocesan vocation director, the position currently filled by Fr. Paul Ugo Arinze. Father Arinze’s enthusiasm and rapport with young people have been assets to our diocesan vocation program.

The Office of Vocations and the Serra Clubs of the diocese have also encouraged prayer for vocations in our parishes through the Traveling Chalice Program and through Adoration for vocations at the Bishop O’Connor Center and other locations.

Importance of prayer

I don’t think it is a coincidence that the number of men interested in the priesthood started to increase soon after Eucharistic Adoration for vocations began at the Bishop O’Connor Center in September of 2004. As a member of the Madison Serra Club, I’ve been a regular adorer in the center’s chapel since the first year. Having people pray every weekday morning from 9 to 11:45 a.m. certainly must have helped the number of seminarians grow.

Our Lord himself said, “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Mt. 9: 38). This is an explicit command, something we all need to do as followers of Christ.

We must continue to pray — not only for more seminarians, but for the perseverance of those now preparing to be priests. Having met all of these men, I find they are each unique, talented, and holy men who will make wonderful priests to serve us in the future. This year’s eight new seminarians (profiled in the vocation section in the print edition of this week’s Catholic Herald) include several converts to the Catholic faith. It is amazing to see how God works in calling forth vocations!

Urgent need for financial support

In addition to prayer,  there is an urgent need for more financial support to help pay for the education of our increasing number of seminarians. The diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development is urging people to contribute to the St. Joseph Fund, which was set up many years ago to support the education of our future priests.

Our seminarians receive some financial support on the high school and college levels. However, at the major seminary level they are supported completely by the diocese, so that they can pursue their theology studies without other distractions. Many of them return to the diocese to help in parish and special ministries in the summer months.

There is an envelope inserted in this week’s Catholic Herald. I encourage those who can afford a donation to join me in putting a contribution in this envelope today.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, wills, bequests, or larger donations, please contact the Office of Stewardship and Development at 608-821-3046.

I also urge people to offer a daily prayer for vocations, including remembering each seminarian by name. Also consider sending our seminarians a letter, card, or e-mail throughout the year. Visit the diocesan vocations Web site to see a list of seminarians at