A longtime friend and supporter of CNEWA recently called me to discuss adding 10 more seminarians to the many he is already actively sponsoring. He is a charming southern gentleman in his mid-80s, and so full of energy. We had a wonderful conversation that revealed his deep passion for the proper training and formation of seminarians in the Holy Land. He fully understood the early roots of Christianity in the East and the importance of the teaching and witnessing of our faith in this region. I wondered to myself: “How many souls have been saved or will be saved, because of this man’s generosity?”
I asked him why at this stage of his life he would want to add to the sponsorships he already had in place. His answer was unique. He said, “I am approaching my final exams, and I want to get a passing grade.” Honestly, I had to think about his answer for a moment or two before I realized what he meant. He went on to explain that what we are blessed to have in life is all on loan to us from God. We are expected to do God’s work with it.
Knowing this man for the short time that I have has been very enlightening for me. He is a true man of faith who “talks the talk” but also, “walks the walk.” His life so far has been a model of Christian value, virtue and yes, humor. I told him I think he will definitely pass his final exams, but I didn’t want him to sit for them for a long while!
And those 10 additional seminarian sponsorships? All taken care of. And along the way our steadfast friend created The St. Francis Xavier Perpetual Seminarian Formation Endowment Fund, for the support, care, education and training of aspirants to the priesthood, as well as the institutions they attend.
Anyone may add funds to this special endowment fund by contacting our office.
Bob Pape is the Director of Major Gifts at CNEWA in New York.