By Irene Moschner
Director of Philanthropy, Catholic Foundation of Southwestern Indiana
“Behind and before every vocation to the priesthood or to the consecrated life there is always the strong and intense prayer of someone: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community…. This is why Jesus said: “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest,” that is, God the Father, “to send out laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38). Vocations are born in prayer and from prayer; and only through prayer can they persevere and bear fruit” (Pope Francis April 21, 2013, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations).
Prayer is a silent gift the can be given to everyone we know – those we have not met and those whose lives will follow our own. Prayer often leads to action. That action may not be a vocation to the priesthood but may instead manifest itself in a supporting role.
Growing up, Christopher Wolking remembers that seminarians were always included in their family gatherings. They were invited to meals and celebrations; it was the normal way of things. His parents, Joseph and Kathleen Wolking, supported these young men by reaching out to them – giving them a home to go where they were encouraged, fed well, allowed to be themselves and had a place to rest. The friendships forged in those early years of their priestly formation lasted a lifetime.
As the Stewards of God’s Grace Capital Campaign got underway, Chris and his wife Gail discussed how they wanted their gift to help not just their parish but the Diocese at large. Chris’ parents had relocated to Evansville from Oklahoma, and he and Gail decided that they would start an endowment, in his parent’s name, to benefit seminarians studying for the priesthood in the Diocese of Evansville. The Joseph A. and Kathleen M. Wolking Seminarian Endowment was born.
Each year, the distribution from the Wolking’s endowment, along with the nine other vocation endowments at the Catholic Foundation of Southwestern Indiana, make available funds to help offset the cost of educating seminarians. Currently, the cost to educate a young man for the priesthood is approximately $45,000 per student per year.
As we sit in prayer, remembering those who are struggling to hear what God is calling them to do, let us keep our own hearts open to God’s message for us.
“Here I am, Lord - Is it I, Lord? - I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go, Lord - If You lead me, - I will hold Your people in my heart”
(Lyrics from “Here I am, Lord, by Dan Schutte).
If you would like to discuss how you might create your own family legacy, please contact our offices. Catholic Foundation of Southwestern Indiana. Call 812-424-5536 or email [email protected].