The Diocese of Rochester has launched a campaign to raise $3.5 million to fund both the education of a growing number of future priests and to provide retirement stipends for priests who have already served local Catholic parishes.
Doug Mandelaro, Director of the Dioscese's Development and Communication says there are currenty 25 seminarians studying to become priests. That is quite a jump from recent years. For instance, in 2007, there were only four seminarians studying for the priesthood. Mandelaro credits a stepped-up social marketing campaign, and efforts by retired Bishop Matthew Clark to recruit potential priests for the increase. He said there was another factor. Local Catholics have been praying for more priests, and Mandelaro said their prayers have been answered.
The diocese says it costs $40,000 per year for five years for seminary training. In addition, the Rochester diocese is providing for 129 retired priests and expect another 28 to retire soon. Mandelaro says nearly $11 million was raised in the quiet phase of the campaign.