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Family sees benefit for son, others of seminary education collection

Brigid Kerschinske said she and her husband, Paul, see the benefits every day of the annual collection for seminarians’ education – particularly for their son, Connor, who three years ago left behind scholarships for studying chemical engineering to pursue the priesthood.

"We feel with our archdiocese, it’s really a blessing to have this (collection) for the young men," Kerschinske said. "As they are discerning their call from God, they can be more engaged in the seminary process, listening for the call, and not be sidetracked by worries."

This year’s collection – in parishes across the archdiocese after weekend Masses Jan. 7-8 – will help Connor and 26 other seminarians. The 2016 effort brought in $472,041.

It’s an important part of supporting seminarians, said Father Andrew Roza, director of vocations.

"It does allow them to enter discernment more fully," he said

Other sources of support include the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, other gifts and inclusion in people’s estates, all fueled by people’s generosity, Father Roza said.

All that help has been important for her son, Kerschinske said. He was a freshman at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma and involved in that university’s Newman Center when he felt the need to explore the priesthood, Kerschinske said.

That desire brought him to three years of study at St. John Vianney Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., including the last semester, which he spent in Rome.

Now a senior at the university, Connor next plans to enter graduate school in theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, Father Roza said.

And he is not burdened by debt, Kerschinske said.

"This archdiocese, the generosity of the parishioners, knowing this is a value that we cherish, and we want to see men respond to the calling (of the priesthood) … I feel we are so blessed," she said.

Seminary costs – 2016-2017

Tuition: $654,021

Room and board: $351,431

Health insurance: $109,908

Books and fees: $45,596

Summer Classes/Institute for Priestly Formation: $37,314

Total for 27 seminarians: $1.198 million

Average for each seminarian: $44,380

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