The Diocese of Nashville will celebrate Priesthood Sunday at the Masses during the weekend of Nov. 5-6 to launch National Vocations Awareness Week.
“Priesthood Sunday is really a time to remember and honor and celebrate our priests,” said Ashley Linville, director of development for the diocese. “We’ve been blessed and continue to be blessed today with great priests, and seeing the quality of the young men who are seminarians, we hope to see that continue for many generations.”
As part of Priesthood Sunday, there will be a collection to help pay for the education and formation of the diocese’s seminarians.
That support is crucial to meeting the “tremendous need for additional priests,” Linville said.
The average cost of educating a seminarian is about $75,000 a year, Linville said. The diocese currently has 21 seminarians in formation at five seminaries: Notre Dame in New Orleans; St. Joseph in Saint Benedict, Louisiana; Holy Trinity in Irving, Texas; St. Meinrad in St. Meinrad, Indiana; and the North American College in Rome.
“We’re really blessed with a large number of seminarians for a diocese our size,” Linville said.
Covering the cost of educating the seminarians is “an investment to make sure we have great priests moving forward,” Linville said.
Envelopes for a donation will be available in the pews during Priesthood Sunday and people can donate online at dioceseofnashville.com/priesthood-sunday.
Besides the Priesthood Sunday collection, other sources of funding to pay for seminarian education include the annual Seminarian Education Dinner and Auction held each May, the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries and the Legacy of Hope, Love and Faith Campaign.
The goal of the Legacy Campaign is to raise $50 million to bolster current endowments to provide continuing support for a variety of ministries and priorities in the diocese. The endowment for diocesan vocation efforts will receive 15 percent of the money raised in the campaign.