Seminarian and Clergy Formation Collection
“… We need a Church capable of walking at people’s sides, of doing more than simply listening to them; a Church which accompanies them on their journey.”
– Pope Francis message to the Bishops of Brazil at World Youth Day, 2013
I find one of my greatest joys as the Director of the Office for Priestly Vocations comes from my work in helping men discover God’s call in their lives. Although along with this comes the challenge of dealing with the difficult realities that cause distraction from this call, especially the recent Grand Jury Report and the horrible misconduct revealed in this report, which threatens to disillusion those being called by God. May God grant healing to the survivors.
My experience of the Church today is very different from the one of 50, 60 or even 70 years ago, as described in the report. My experience at the Church as a youth impacted me so much, that as my faith grew, so did the intensity of my calling to the priesthood. The Catholic Church fostered my deep personal relationship with Christ in such a way that His love became so real to me that I knew my only response to this relationship was to give Him my whole life as His priest.
God calls each of us to a vocation that invites us to share Christ with others. We need priests and ordained deacons who are willing and able to accompany God’s people on their journey with God as they bring others into a deeper relationship with Christ, especially through the Sacraments of the Church and the preaching of God’s word.
Today, I am asking you to help provide the resources needed to educate and form seminarians, priests and deacons so they can be effective ministers to us now in our time of need and for future generations. I am asking you to accompany our seminarians, priests and permanent deacons by considering a donation to the Seminarian and Clergy Formation Collection. The annual Seminarian and Clergy Formation Collection directly supports the training of our seminarians and deacon candidates and our international priests program.
I also want to be sensitive to the survivors of abuse as I write this letter. Therefore, I ask your prayers for every one of them. That also means assuring you that each of our seminarians and candidates for the Permanent Diaconate and Lay Ecclesial Ministry Program go through extensive background checks and psychological testing before being accepted into our formation programs. All of our priests are mandated to undergo background checks, and they have been trained to know the signs of abuse and how to report it. The same requirements are in place for every one of our 15,000 volunteers and lay employees. We must all strive to be the best that we can be.
Thank you for the ongoing support you give to my work and to those in formation by your prayers and financial sacrifices. Know that any help you contribute is essential to the future strength of our Church. I know God will bless you for your generous spirit.
In Christ’s Love,
The Reverend Tyler J. Bandura
Director of the Office for Priestly Vocations