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Seminarian education fund exceeds $1 million

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To a young man discerning a call to the priesthood, the cost of attending the seminary should not be an obstacle to his vocation. Fortunately, seminarians from the Arlington Diocese receive financial support for the cost of their education as they commit their lives to serving as diocesan priests.

The average annual cost of a seminarian’s education is approximately $40,000. That includes tuition, room and board, health insurance and books. That equates to an average education per newly ordained priest of nearly $250,000. The diocese currently has 43 men studying to become priests at seven seminaries in the United States and Rome.

In 2011, Laura and Bob Coleman established the Seminarian Education Endowment Fund (SEEF) to help provide financial support for seminarian education. Although the majority of funding for seminarian education is provided through the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal, the funds generated through SEEF are a source of additional revenue to meet those expenses.

“Bob and I feel so strongly about this cause because our diocesan seminarians are our future,” said Laura Coleman. “We are honored to participate in the collective effort to support and fund priestly vocations through (SEEF)."

The Colemans initially donated $250,000 to create SEEF with the first goal of growing the fund to $1 million or more by year end 2016. In an effort to meet that goal, the Colemans committed an additional $100,000 in a special matching gift program. Each individual donation up to $10,000 was matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000.

In January, through investment returns and the generosity of many supportive parishioners, the SEEF reached the $1 million mark. The diocese expressed its gratitude to the Colemans for their vision in creating the fund, for their financial and prayerful support of seminarians, and to all the donors who contributed to this fund.

“I am deeply grateful for our generous faithful who support our seminarians through every step of their formation,” said Father J.D. Jaffe, diocesan director of vocations.

Deacon Stephen Vaccaro, in expressing his appreciation for the financial support he has received, said, “The generosity of the people of the Arlington Diocese always amazes me. Because of their faith, prayer and financial support, my five years of seminary have been stress-free and joy-filled. I look forward to the day when, as a priest, I can return the gift, even if only in a small way. May God continue to bless our diocese.”

The fund provides a charitable vehicle whose assets are invested professionally with a Catholic conscience. The fund has a payout policy of 4 percent, which at $1 million can now generate enough funding to support the cost of one diocesan seminarian. The continued hope for this fund is that it will grow and have enough annual income to support many diocesan seminarians.

Donations to SEEF ensure continuous support for current and future generations of seminarians within the diocese. To help further the legacy of this fund, the diocese invites Catholics to consider making a donation or naming SEEF in their estate plans.

Make a donation

Mail a check made payable to the Foundation for the CDA, noting “SEEF” on the memo line, to the Foundation for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, 200 N. Glebe Rd., Suite 811, Arlington, VA 22203. For more information about SEEF, go to arlingtondiocese.org or contact Bob Mueller at r.mueller@arlingtondiocese.org or 703/841-2545.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017