Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the January-February 2008 edition of Buckeye Bulletin, official publication of the Ohio State Council.
My name is Father Ron Schock. I am the vocations director for the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio. This past July, I was invited to come to the Knights of Columbus Hall in Tiffin to receive a check for $10,070.77. (By the way, I will come to any of your councils, even for a lot less!) I was blessed to learn that by “passing the jug” at all our local councils in the diocese, the Knights had raised such a phenomenal amount of money. But then again, I was not surprised.
I am a past grand knight of Father Anthony Teolis Council 3026 in Attica and a past faithful navigator of Archbishop Schrembs Assembly in Tiffin. I also recently served as chaplain of St. Francis Gaspar Council 10749 in Carey. I have first-hand experience that the Knights of Columbus go all out to support vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life.
As a young Knight in Attica, I was deeply impressed by how everyone stood for the chaplain’s report toward the close of the meeting. I knew from word and example how the Knights stood by their priests. Father Ray Seifert, our then-chaplain, encouraged me to consider the priesthood. In 1989, I entered the seminary. During my years there, my home council kept praying for me and supporting me financially. It made a difference.
You might wonder what a few bucks here and there is going to do when that “jug” comes around. It helps me as a vocations director to pay the tuition, room and board of our seminarians. Depending on the seminary, that cost may be in excess of $30,000 each year. Health insurance costs as we all know are skyrocketing. This adds another cost of nearly $5,000 per student. Then add the cost of books, which can be somewhere around $1,000.
Other expenses include summer opportunities, when we send seminarians to study in Mexico or Guatemala to learn Spanish; to the Holy Land to study Scripture; or to a clinical pastoral experience where a seminarian has the opportunity to work in a hospital and grow as a pastoral minister.
This is just for the men currently in the seminaries. I have not spoken about recruitment efforts and the assistance I, as vocations director, need to get the word out. This includes our Web site, www.toledovocation.com, advertising, discernment retreats, etc.
Your pennies — I mean your dollars — go for the whole deal.
In our diocese we have 22 seminarians currently studying. Sixteen men are in pre-theology/theology and six men are in college seminary.
My brothers, thank you for all you do. Many of you are active with the Refund Support Vocations Program (RSVP), money that goes to help a seminarian with his personal expenses. They need that help. Some of you remember the men in your prayers at council meetings. Thank you.
Whatever you do, please know that it does make a difference. Keep up the good work and know that I hold the work of the Order in my daily prayers.
Father Ronald Schock is the director of vocations for the Diocese of Toledo. He is a member of St. Francis Gaspar Council 10749 in Carey, Ohio.