Recently, the Diocese of Madison experienced a great blessing and challenge. The Holy Spirit had generously answered the prayers of the faithful for more priests and the number of seminarians studying for the Diocese had grown from six men in 2004 to 33 men in 2014. While profoundly grateful for this increase in vocations, Bishop Morlino now had to figure out how to pay for the education and formation of this vastly increased cohort of seminarians.
In the fall of 2013, the Diocese partnered with CCS to conduct a planning study to test the waters for a campaign to establish a permanent endowment fund dedicated to the recruitment, education and formation of future priests. After a comprehensive series of interviews with all of the pastors, several key senior priests, and more than 40 lay leaders across the diocese, CCS found unanimous support among the pastors along with widespread commitment from the laity for such a campaign and a goal of $30 million was established for Priests for Our Future: The Church Is Alive! –the Diocese of Madison’s first capital campaign in more than 50 years.
The priests of the Diocese led the way, pledging over $525,000 and personally recruiting more than 1,500 volunteers to help conduct the campaign across the 105 parishes of the Diocese. To date, the campaign has received pledges totaling $43.6 million.
“I am deeply grateful to the CCS Team for their role in our campaign’s success,” says Bishop Robert C. Morlino. “I am, of course, grateful for the tremendous financial success of our campaign. But I was pleasantly surprised to see the campaign also become a source of greater unity for our presbyterate and our Diocese. That was an unexpected and very welcome outcome.”
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