EAST AURORA - The annual fall campaign for Christ the King Seminary will be held in September throughout the Diocese of Buffalo, with a goal of $350,000. President-Rector Father Joseph Gatto said funds raised will help support the seminary's mission to educate sponsored candidates for the priesthood, as well as permanent deacons, and religious and lay ministers enrolled in graduate programs. The campaign will also help focus attention on the many activities that take place at the seminary year-round.
"As the spiritual center for our diocese, the seminary provides an environment for discernment and formation, serving countless men and women who are striving to follow the Lord's call in their life," said Father Gatto. Lay people from varied faith traditions study alongside those pursuing ordained ministry. Degrees include masters' in theology, pastoral ministry and divinity. Continuing education classes are also available for those wishing to enrich their faith outside of a formal degree program.
Father Gatto stated Christ the King expects 34 seminarians this year, including eight new seminarians. They will join 20 men who are currently in formation to become deacons, and 48 lay students, for a total of 102 graduate students enrolled for the fall. This past year, more than 8,000 people participated in classes, lectures, retreats and other events on the East Aurora campus. Additionally, more than 680 seminary alumni serve in the diocese, including four seminarians who were ordained into the priesthood in June.
To help support this year's campaign, Father Gatto will speak about the seminary's mission and current plans at Masses at the following parishes in September:
St. Andrew, Kenmore - Saturday, Sept. 2, and Sunday, Sept. 3
Our Lady of Pompeii, Lancaster - Saturday, Sept. 9 and Sunday, Sept. 10
Holy Name of Mary, Ellicottville, Saturday, Sept. 16 and Sunday, Sept. 17
St. Benedict, Eggertsville - Saturday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24
"Donations of any size are deeply appreciated and will help support the formation and education of all those who will help us to serve the future of the Church here in the Diocese of Buffalo and beyond," said Father Gatto. "Working together, we can ensure we have not only a strong seminary, but priestly candidates and men and women well prepared to serve for years to come."
Father Gatto said it costs more than $35,000 per year, per student to teach and spiritually direct the seminarians, along with the additional expense of educating candidates for the Permanent Diaconate, and students pursuing a graduate theological education, a ministerial education, or a continuing education program.
Secure online donations can be made by credit card through the seminary website at www.cks.edu, or by mailing a check to Christ the King Seminary, P.O. Box 607, East Aurora, N.Y. 14052.