Permanent Endowed Fund for Seminarian Education Surpasses $4 Million

April 27, 2022

The Seminarian Education Endowment Fund, managed by the Catholic Foundation, surpassed $4 million at the end of 2021. Thanks to the generosity of many donors, we’re 82% towards our short-term goal of $5 million. A fund of this size will generate $200,000 in annual support.

To a man responding to a call to the priesthood, the cost of higher education should not be an obstacle to his vocation. Fortunately, seminarians studying for the Diocese of El Paso receive financial support for the cost of their education as they commit their lives to serving as diocesan priests.

The Seminarian Education Endowment Fund was created to ensure continual resources for the recruitment and training of seminarians to serve as the future leadership of the Diocese of El Paso.

This is an exciting time for St. Charles Seminary. There are currently 19 men in priestly formation. Our newest priest, Alfonso Coronado, was ordained at St. Patrick Cathedral in January of this year and serves in West Texas. Father Alfonso has embraced parish life and is committed to energizing campus ministry at Sul Ross State University.

José William Arévelo Narváez, Astry Déraly, César García-Ortega, Edroud Jean, and Sergio Legarreta Carrasco will be ordained to the priesthood on Friday, May 27 at 6:30pm at St. Stephen.

Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz, D.D. will ordain Ángel Aguilar & Ángel Tarango to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate on Friday, April 29 at St. Patrick Cathedral.

The diaconate is the first of three ranks of ordained ministry in the Catholic Church, which also include the priesthood and the episcopacy, or the ministry of a bishop. Men studying for the priesthood are ordained as transitional deacons prior to beginning their final year of study before ordination to the priesthood. Deacons are able to preach at Mass, baptize, and celebrate weddings.

Loyd Divinagracia was ordained a transitional deacon earlier this year. He, and the other two new deacons, will be ordained to the priesthood in 2023. 

We are grateful that they have all heard the call to a life in the priesthood rooted in intimate prayer and spiritual leadership.

The blessing of vocations comes with a particular challenge: funding. The average cost to prepare one seminarian is $45,000 annually…and it takes at least nine years to become a priest. This includes room and board, education, health insurance, and travel expenses. Men are not allowed to work while in the seminary; they must devote themselves to prayer and study. The annual budget to run the seminary is now $1million.

Recruiting and educating seminarians is a significant and critical investment. The responsibility of providing priests for the Diocese of El Paso, both spiritually and financially, belongs to all of us. 

Funding for seminarian education comes from a variety of sources including the Seminarian Education Endowment Fund, the Progress Catholic Ministry Appeal, Serra Club, Filipino-American community, Knights of Columbus, second collections, and generous individuals and organizations.

Donors may create a Named Fund with a gift or pledge of $10,000 or more over a five-year period benefiting the Seminarian Education Endowment Fund. You can also add to a Named Fund at any time in honor of a special event or in memory of a loved one.

Give your IRA or 401(K) to charity. You may find that your retirement plan can be an excellent additional "pocket" from which to make all or a portion of your charitable gifts each year.

When men are ordained for the Diocese of El Paso, they serve the Diocese of El Paso. These men have made a lifelong commitment to our diocese. Consider a donation to the Seminarian Education Endowment Fund in their honor to provide continual resources for future priests for years to come. Help us reach the next milestone of $5 million.

“We need priests, for without priests there is no Eucharist, and without the Eucharist there is no church.” — Bishop Robert Barron 

To create your legacy for priests and seminarians, contact Major Gifts Officer Sofía Larkin directly at (915) 433-2003 or The Catholic Foundation is located at the Catholic Pastoral Center at 499 St. Matthews Street in Building G. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm and by appointment.

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