by ROWENA OREJANA
PALMERSTON NORTH — Palmerston North diocese has launched the Seminary Appeal 2014 to fund the tertiary studies of its five seminarians.
The increase in the number of seminarians from one three years ago to five this year, coupled with the higher cost of education, caused a dent in the funds of the Seminary Trust. Two of the seminarians
are now on pastoral placement and may become deacons next year.
Bishop Charles Drennan said the diocese faces the same challenge as every family with a member undertaking tertiary level studies.
“Tertiary level studies in New Zealand have become expensive. The fees for Holy Cross Seminary and Good Shepherd College are significant budget items,” he said.
“As the case in the more recent history in New Zealand, we are getting a number of seminarians for whom English is not their mother tongue. And so there is the cost of language schools.”
In a bulletin posted in parish newsletters, the cost of language
school fees, immigration, English language fees and board
was placed at $40,000 a student a year. At the same time, Holy
Cross Seminary fees and Good Shepherd College fees are about
$55,000 a student a year.
The same bulletin stated that although the diocese is praying
for more seminarians, it is using the capital of the Seminary Trust
to fund their studies.
“Based on the current level of support and income, unless our Seminary Appeal is supported by a much larger range of parishioners, the trust will be fully depleted within three or four years,” it stated.
Palmerston North’s seminarians are Nathaniel Brazil, Vui Hoang, Bryan Buenger, Simone Masanga and Trung Nguyen.
Bishop Drennan said last year’s fund drive had a very good response. “Because we publicised the seminary appeal well and we were very transparent about the cost involved, we had a tremendous response. And indeed, as well as donations, we also had letters from parishioners, expressing their good wishes and prayers for seminarians.”
The bishop said there are parishioners who had been very generous in their support of the seminarians.
“The challenge, if you like, is to encourage a wider range of parishioners to contribute. And so we are looking for young professionals and people new to the workforce to step up and make their contribution,” he said. “I’m also very hopeful given the blessing of international priests in our diocese, I’m very hopeful
that our Indian and Filipino communities will also get behind this appeal.”
The Seminary Appeal 2014 seeks parishioners’ prayers, increased financial support and bequests to the Seminary Trust to rebuild it’s capital.