Salina — The needs of retired and future priests have prompted the Catholic Diocese of Salina to begin a $15 million capital campaign — the largest fundraising campaign in the diocese’s history.
The five-year campaign, called “Yesterday, Today and Forever,” will raise money for the priest retirement fund, seminary education, Catholic Charities and a new strategic pastoral plan for the diocese.
“We’ve never undertaken anything this big in our diocese,” the Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Bishop of Salina, said Wednesday. “It’s ambitious but attainable.”
The campaign’s primary beneficiaries will be a fund for retired priests, The Salina Journal reported.
“As priests in our diocese have aged, we’ve drawn on that fund, and now it’s dangerously underfunded. If we kept going the same way, it would be exhausted in five years. That was the catalyst for us,” Coakley said.
It costs $1,980 a month to support each retired priest, he said. If the capital campaign goal is reached, $8 million will be allotted for the retirement fund.
Coakley said the diocese has already received about $2.1 million, including significant contributions from the diocese’s 38 active priests, eight international priests, Capuchin Franciscans of Ellis County and 22 retired priests.
For future priests, $3 million will be alloted for seminary costs. The average yearly cost for seminary education is $33,000, Coakley said. Another $1.25 million would be designated for Catholic Charities, with $250,000 of that for repair and renovation of the group’s headquarters.
And about $750,000 will provide parishes with expanded technology, electronic classrooms, and will strengthen family life ministries and other areas of church growth.