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    Alabama Knights Raise $27,000 for Seminarians

    A coin-collecting fundraiser is supporting the formation of seminarians in the Diocese of Birmingham while teaching schoolchildren about vocations

    Photo by Getty Images

    Pocket change can go a long way. Through coins collected during a “Pennies from Heaven” fundraiser, Knights in Hoover, Ala., raised more than $27,000 to support nine seminarians of the Diocese of Birmingham.

    Members of Prince of Peace Council 11537 teamed up with their parish and local Catholic school for this successful fundraiser. During the first two weekends in March, parishioners at Prince of Peace Catholic Church had the opportunity to make donations at the church, while students at the school showed their own generosity at a schoolwide event March 10.

    In total, the collection generated 170,000 individual coins, totaling $27,800. The funds will help pay for the seminarians’ educational and living expenses.

    “They’re our future,” said Don DeCesare, grand knight of Council 11537. “And it’s always a struggle because, just like any other person going to college, they have to come up with most of the money themselves.”

    DeCesare presented the “Pennies from Heaven” fundraiser to the council as a way to help the seminarians during the Lenten season. In early March, the Knights rented a coin-counting machine and set it up in the vestibule of Prince of Peace Catholic Church. Initially, the council hoped to raise $5,000 to present each seminarian a $500 gift. But the results surpassed the Knights’ expectations.

    Thanks to the success of the initiative, each seminarian will receive more than $3,000 — six times the original amount the Knights hoped to offer them.

    In addition to raising funds, the Knights raised awareness for vocations. The council worked with Prince of Peace Catholic School to organized a Zoom call March 9, in which Daniel Sessions, a seminarian from the Diocese of Birmingham studying in Rome, spoke to the schoolchildren about his studies and vocation.

    Principal Connie Angstadt said the call was an “eye-opener” to many students as it presented a seminarian as a “regular guy.”

    “Hopefully, it’s going to help us grow our faith and it’s going to help our children the opportunity to see what they might be able to become one day,” Angstadt said. “Our Knights are helping support future priests here.”

    The next day, Knights brought a coin-counting machine to the school and students brought their change. Principal Angstatdt was proud of the students’ donations and thankful for the Knights’ efforts in organizing the event.

    “It turned into a family affair, a school affair, a parish affair, and we’re just proud of everything that the Knights do,” she said. “The Knights really brought out the best in our kids, and we’re pretty happy about that.”

    The Knights of Columbus has a long history of providing moral, financial and spiritual support for seminarians and all those discerning a religious vocation. Through the Refund Support Vocations Program (RSVP), councils and parishioners raise funds to support seminarians in their area. Councils also provide their “adopted” seminarian(s) with moral support and prayers.

    Share your story of adopting a seminarian with



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