Loving God, we come to You,
standing together in faith,
ready to realize the freshness of a bold endeavor,
as we look to the future of our Church.
Building up the Kingdom of God on earth
is Your will and our privilege.
Bless our efforts with the energy and enthusiasm we need.
Jesus, our Redeemer, encourage and guide us.
Open our hearts to be good stewards
because of our love for You.
Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier, empower us
to carry out Your will for the Upon This Rock campaign.
May Your Goodness be upon us,
And give us success to the work of our hands and hearts.
We ask Your blessing now and always
through Christ Our Lord.
Upon This Rock will invest in the
formation and education of the next generation of clergy and provide essential
care for our retired priests. Read more
below to discover how your generosity can benefit those who serve.
While the origins of our seminary date back to 1857 and its history is storied and successful, the trajectory for what lies ahead is equally promising for the century before us. We are privileged and blessed to have a fully accredited seminary and theological graduate school within our diocese. Christ the King Seminary offers education for future priests and deacons, current clergy, and lay people pursuing graduate degrees in theology and pastoral ministry, as well as continuing education and certificate programs for those who seek a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the faith we share. There are currently 42 seminarians enrolled at Christ the King, and 35 candidates for the permanent diaconate, representing the next generation of clergy dedicating their lives in service of our people. Additionally, 47 members of the laity are enrolled in the seminary's graduate programs. There are currently more than 670 seminary alumni ministering in our diocese.
There has been unprecedented growth at the seminary in the last few years, and it is poised for even more. Upgrades in modern classroom facilities and educational technology, as well as continued recruitment of prominent faculty, will enable us to attract and educate even more seminarians and lay students. When we develop motivated and well-trained clergy and laity using modern technology, they are better prepared to serve the pastoral, educational, and social needs of those they are called to help.
Christ the King Seminary continues to host the diocese and parishes for events on its pastoral and picturesque 132-acre campus. Annually, more than 9,000 people visit the campus for classes, retreats, workshops, and conferences. However, a plan is in place to augment the seminary's role as a spiritual center of formation and serve as a destination for spiritual festivals and celebrations throughout the year.
Campaign funds in the amount of $3 million
will be directed to making essential upgrades to classroom facilities and
technology and expanding the seminary's role as a center of retreat and
religious celebration. An additional $5 million will be used to establish an
endowment, ensuring the viability of this spiritual center of education and
formation for generations to come.
The Catholic faithful have long been noted for their loyal support of the priests, who have baptized and taught our children, preached the Gospel, officiated weddings, and celebrated the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Our priests have comforted us during our suffering, provided counsel, listened when we needed to be heard, and facilitated our personal relationships with God and the Catholic faith.
Many priests continue to serve our community of faith after retirement, and we are called to do what is necessary to provide them with adequate care. Currently, there are 266 active diocesan priests and 126 retired priests in the Diocese of Buffalo. By 2025, 42% of the active clergy in our diocese will be 75 years of age or older. Our preparation and investment today will ensure that we will be able to continue providing our priests with support in the future.
For years, the parishes in Western New York have generously supported our Priest Health and Welfare Plan. However, the increase in the number of retired priests and increase in healthcare costs will create an inevitable shortfall and a need for additional funding. While members of our diocese continue to give graciously to the Retirement Fund for the Religious, diocesan clergy are not included in the allocation of those appeal funds. In order to be prudent and ensure adequate preparation for the future, Upon This Rock will allocate $7 million to meet the needs of our priests in their retirement.
Our retired priests have
collectively given us more than 6,000 years of ministry. Through this initiative
we, the parishioners they live to shepherd, will have the opportunity to
demonstrate our gratitude for their faithful service.
St. Joseph's Parish was established by Buffalo's first bishop, John Timon, in 1847, and the cathedral was dedicated in 1855. Today, it remains the "Mother Church" of the Diocese of Buffalo and the symbolic center of our Catholic community in Western New York; it is everyone's parish. The history of the cathedral is rich in faith and tradition.
Because of its downtown location, St. Joseph Cathedral has fewer than 400 registered families, and sustaining the parish remains a financial challenge. As the spiritual center of our city, it is an indispensable treasure that symbolizes our glorious history and provides hope for future generations of Catholics in Western New York. In addition to hosting all sacraments of Holy Orders in our diocese, the cathedral is home to more than 25 special events each year, including the Red Mass, the Annual Respect Life Mass, and the Chrism Mass.
St. Joseph Cathedral is a vital piece of our history as a diocese and is an essential part of the future of our Catholic community in Western New York. Downtown Buffalo is experiencing exciting growth and revitalization in recent years, and St. Joseph Cathedral is the epicenter of Catholic outreach, community engagement, and evangelization in this flourishing community. Therefore, Upon This Rock will direct $2 million to creating an endowment fund, which will sustain the vitality of this icon of our faith in perpetuity.