News from Madison Catholic Diocese
Midway through the Sunday Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Dodgeville, the service took a sharp turn toward fundraising.
Monsignor Daniel Ganshert, the parish priest, told parishioners that for years, people in the Madison Catholic Diocese had been praying for more men to be called by God to the priesthood. The Holy Spirit has responded, Ganshert announced jubilantly.
There are now 33 seminarians, or priests-in-training, up from six in 2003 when Bishop Robert Morlino arrived. But that increase comes with responsibility, Ganshert said.
The diocese needs $30 million to educate current and future seminarians — “a serious chunk of money,” he acknowledged.
Ushers distributed pledge cards. The assembled were asked to dig deep.
The same scene is playing out across all 134 worship sites in the 11-county diocese. The effort, which began last fall and will continue through the end of this year, is the first diocesan-wide capital campaign in more than 50 years.
So far, the faithful have responded with vigor. Although the campaign has yet to expand to all churches, parishioners already have pledged more than $28 million.
“I couldn’t be more pleased,” Morlino said in an interview, giving immense credit to the diocese’s 110 priests who’ve been rolling out the campaign in their parishes. “They love the priesthood and they love the church, and this is the Holy Spirit working through them.”
This is also interesting in regards to my own diocese. Diocese of St. Augustine seeing dramatic increase in number of men preparing for priesthood
Lawrence Peck didn’t know when he began preparing for the priesthood in 2008 that he was part of one trend, and soon to be part of another.
The first was a steady decline in the number of men studying to be Catholic priests.
The second was a steady increase in the number of men studying to be Catholic priests — which, in the case of the Diocese of St. Augustine. could be described as dramatic.
In less than six years, the number has gone from seven to nearly 30, according to figures provided by diocese officials. That reflects a growth of more than 400 percent.
The Rev. David Ruchinski, vocation director for the diocese, which comprises 17 counties, explored explanations for the increase.
“The simple answer is that it’s the work of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “Those who are not people of faith may be looking for a natural explanation of a supernatural phenomenon. To them, I would say there is a renewed spirit of devotion among young Catholics who continue to practice their faith.”
“We hear about those who don’t stay with the church,” Ruchinski said. “We hear less in the public dialogue about the faith of those who stay.
“That group is much more devout, they’re much more zealous about religion and the practice of their faith. They’re interested in knowing what the Church teaches, the practices of prayer and devotion.”
So in our case in an even a shorter period of time we went from 6 to 29. The Diocese of Madison has 283,442 registered Catholilcs and the Diocese of St. Augustine has 172,000. So it is really cool that two relatively small diocese have such an upsurge in vocations.