By Anna Schulten
The North Star Catholic
The Seminarian Night Annual Fundraiser, an event founded in 2015, experienced its first virtual iteration this year on August 26. Despite the unexpected change in format, the event was graced with ten speakers, dozens of sponsors, and hundreds of viewers, all from the comfort of their own homes. The event raised $20,000 to benefit the Seminarian Formation Fund and the three seminarians of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau.
Fr. Leo Walsh of St. Patrick Parish in Anchorage and Tracy Sinclare of Anchorage’s KTUU News co-hosted the evening and even engineered their own “virtual dessert dash” in the tradition of past events. The night’s participants watched from all across Alaska and even drew viewers from the Lower 48.
Archbishop Andrew Bellisario, C.M., welcomed those in attendance, and Archbishop-Emeritus Roger Schwietz, O.M.I., also greeted participants and shared the story of the event’s founding: an ongoing legacy to support the future of vocations in the Archdiocese for generations to come. Each year of formation costs over $50,000 for one seminarian, and support for the Seminarian Formation Fund is only possible through the generosity of all Catholics in our Archdiocese.
The event’s highlight is its beneficiaries: participants enjoyed greetings, well-wishes, and stories from the Archdiocese’s three current seminarians. Madison Hayes, co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Military Services, is in Theology IV and is studying at The Pontifical North American College, Rome, Italy, this fall. He will be ordained to the transitional diaconate in Rome this October. Ed Burke and Luke Daniel are both beginning Theology I at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon this fall.
Laurie Evans-Dinneen, Director of the Office of Stewardship & Development, shared the history of the grant from Catholic Extension that began the Seminarian Endowment in 2015. In response to this incredible financial opportunity, two seminarian fundraisers were established (the Archbishop’s Golf Tournament for Seminarian Formation and the Seminarian Night Annual Fundraiser), and the Seminarian Circle was founded.
Seminarian Circle members are parishioners of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau who want to help fund seminarian formation. To join the Seminarian Circle, benefactors make a $1,000 minimum contribution, renewable yearly (gifts are made annually, twice a year, or quarterly). By joining, you are invited to a special small community with members-only liturgies and events. Members have the opportunity to meet the Archbishop and seminarians, share in spiritual development, and build relationships with each other and our future priests.
Your financial support empowers these young men and others like them to courageously respond to God’s call with the gift of their lives and to serve our communities of faith in word and sacrament. Even if you missed the livestream, the video is still available online at the Archdiocese’s Facebook and YouTube pages, and donations to support seminarian formation are accepted year-round. Please pray for Madison, Ed, and Luke, and other young Catholics as they continue to discern God’s call in their lives.
To learn more about the event, or about joining the Seminarian Circle, contact Laurie Evans-Dinneen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 297-7789