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Seminarian collection to be held weekend of Jan. 11-12

The rising cost of educating seminarians makes donations to this weekend’s seminary collection “critical,” Archbishop George J. Lucas said.

“The cost of room, board, and tuition for our seminarians continues to climb,” the archbishop wrote in promoting the collection.

The seminary bill for the archdiocese’s 23 seminarians tops $1.1 million for this academic year, he said, and he’s hoping donors will match or surpass last year’s collection of nearly $337,000.

“A successful seminary collection is critical to our effort to form future priests of our archdiocese,” he said.

Parishes throughout the archdiocese will be collecting donations at Masses the weekend of Jan. 11-12.

Father Andrew Roza, archdiocese vocations director, said he is grateful for the support people show toward seminarians, priests and religious.

The seminarians, he said, “are good men, and I believe that our people will be grateful to have them in the future as pastors.”

“The seminary collection helps us to support our seminarians’ educational and formational expenses,” Father Roza said. “The men are full time in their formation, of which academics are just one component. The money from this collection makes a significant contribution to the cost of their formation expenses for the year.”

The Archdiocese of Omaha does not require seminarians to pay their education costs, even if they don’t complete their studies all the way to the priesthood. This allows them to discern their vocation freely, without the pressure of debt, Father Roza has said.

Two of the archdiocese’s seminarians are on track to be ordained as priests on June 6: Transitional Deacons Mauricio Tovar of Divine Mercy Parish in Schuyler and Zachary Tucker of Christ the King Parish in Omaha.

The archdiocese currently has 23 men studying for the priesthood. They count on people’s help for education costs and more.

“We humbly ask for you continued prayers, sacrifices and generous financial support,” Archbishop Lucas said.