Fund helps several financially-strapped parishes with second priest
Blessings sometimes present challenges.
Last May the diocese was blessed with the ordination of 10 priests who were assigned to numerous parishes, a few of which had not had two priests for many years – or ever.
“Bishop Kemme ordained 10 men to the priesthood and 10 to the transitional diaconate in May,” said Michael Wescott, director of the diocesan Office of Development and Planned Giving. “That means, God willing, in June we’ll have 20 young priests ministering to the good people of our diocesan family.”
That blessing also presents challenges – especially to parishes that receive assistance for their schools through the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund. The unplanned $40,400 needed for the salary and health benefits for a second priest, the blessing of a parochial vicar, stresses the parish’s budget.
The Parochial Vicar Assistance Appeal was created to help four parishes in the Wichita area – Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Patrick, St. Anne and St. Margaret Mary – over a three-year period. The parish pays half of the parochial vicar’s salary the first year, half the second year, and then two-thirds in the third year. The difference will be made up through the generosity of those contributing to the appeal.
“It is intended that at the conclusion of three years, the parish will sustain the cost of a parochial vicar through the generous stewardship of their parishioners,” Wescott said.
The three-year, total goal for the appeal is $175,000. As of last month, $117,000 had been donated to the fund, nearly 67 percent of the amount needed in just seven months.
“I want to express – especially on behalf of Bishop Kemme – the gratitude and great appreciation to the donors for their commitment to the Stewardship way of life in making this initiative successful,” Wescott said.
“The four parishes that have benefited this past year through the additional ministry of a priest are truly blessed by the sharing of the donors’ gifts of treasure.”