September 5, 2015

Dear People of God of the Diocese of Santa Rosa:

Without the priest there is no Eucharist and without the Eucharist there is no Church.  We could rightly add that there would also be no Sacrament of Reconciliation and no Anointing of the Sick.  Thus, the recruiting and training of young men to serve in our Diocese as priests is essential for the very survival of the Church. We are blessed with the missionary service of a number of priests from Religious Communities or from other Dioceses and we are very grateful for their presence and service here.  However, it is my responsibility as Bishop both to provide priests for you and to challenge you to promote and support Religious and Priestly vocations from our own Diocese.  Generating the resources to fund the annual costs of educating even a small number of seminarians is a great challenge for our Diocese.

The Diocesan Director of Seminarians, Father Frank Epperson and the Promoter of Vocations, Father Raul Lemus are tasked with encouraging and monitoring religious vocations.  We are blessed to have an increasing number of returning or new seminarians. While it is a great blessing to have an increasing number of seminarians, the increased numbers also means a proportionate increase in expense. Therefore, I come to you each year to beg for the funds needed to assure that we have priests in the future.

Preparing men for ordination is a lengthy and costly process but it is vitally important.  The costs approach $30,000 per year per seminarian.  This is an investment in the future of our Diocesan Church.  While this Collection does not generate sufficient funds to pay for all our seminarians it does supplement the budget.  I ask all the members of the Diocese to contribute to this collection so that we may be able to support our Seminarians as they continue their studies for the priesthood.  On September 12th and 13th, 2015 each parish will take a Second Collection for the Formation and Education of our Future Priests.  Please let your gift express your gratitude for the availability and ministry of the priests of the Diocese.

Thanking you in advance and asking every good grace and blessing of God upon you, I am

Sincerely Yours in Christ Jesus,

The Most Reverend Robert F. Vasa

Bishop of Santa Rosa

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