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Seminarian Endowment

And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.

Jeremiah 3:15

Legal Name: Diocese of Joliet Seminarian Education Endowment Trust
Federal Tax EIN: 81-6714615

Priests are essential to our Catholic faith. Only these holy men can consecrate the Eucharist, transforming bread and wine into the life-giving Body and Blood of Christ.

Although the diocese has traditionally relied on the Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal (CMAA) to finance seminary formation, increasing costs mean other ministries important to the mission of the diocese — like Catholic education, Catholic Charities, and faith formation — will receive less. The Diocese of Joliet Seminarian Education Endowment Trust will ensure the diocese is always able to assist seminarians with their formation, as well as give donors to the CMAA the opportunity to continue supporting the future leaders of our Church.

As we journey toward the priesthood, the formation process deepens our discipleship of the Lord and conforms us more and more to the heart of Jesus - so we're ready to shepherd.

Deacon Jeremy Leganski smiling and sitting in a church pew
Deacon Jeremy Leganski
Fourth year theology, Mundelein Seminary

Frequently Asked Questions

In the Book of Jeremiah, the Word of God says, "And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding" (Jer 3:15). The Lord continues to call men to the priesthood, even in today's modern world, and the diocese is committed to supporting the formation of men who answer His call.

The Church's priest shortage is the result of decades of decreasing vocations. Our diocese has been blessed with an increasing number of men discerning a vocation to the priesthood. The Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal (CMAA) has traditionally provided funding for their formation, but the increase in seminarians combined with rising educational costs has meant that other important ministries of the diocese receive less support than they need.

No, the CMAA will continue to support seminarian education as well as vocations, priestly ministry and senior priests. However, the endowment will allow the diocese to better balance CMAA funding for other ministries and programs that advance our mission.

An endowment fund consists of financial assets earmarked for a specific purpose and invested to support that purpose in perpetuity. Funds are invested to create spendable income while achieving long-term appreciation of capital.

Gifts to I Will Give You Shepherds are being directed to a newly created endowed fund: the Diocese of Joliet Seminarian Education Endowment Trust. This legally distinct 501(c)(3) trust is separate and distinct from other diocesan funds or operations.

The Diocese of Joliet is seeking leadership gifts for this effort, specifically from those who have shown an interest in supporting seminarian formation and vocations in the past.

To date, nearly 400 families have pledged $10,988,000 to I Will Give You Shepherds. After a pause in fundraising due to the coronavirus pandemic, the diocese is seeking to raise the remaining $4 million.

Pledges allow donors to give more generously in balance with other financial obligations and charitable giving, including to the Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal. Gifts to I Will Give You Shepherds are payable over a three-year pledge period, with an optional down payment at the time of commitment.

The diocese accepts publicly traded securities as payments on pledges to I Will Give You Shepherds, as well as deferred gifts.

You will receive an acknowledgement of your gift for tax purposes. In addition, please consult with tax and financial experts.

We are asking for everyone to pray for the success for this campaign, as well as for more men to hear the Lord’s call to discern a vocation to the priesthood.