Fundraising dinner rakes in more than $250,000 to support seminarians

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Master of Ceremonies John Gresser introduces the seminarians and priests to diners at Saturday’s Southern Cross seminarians dinner. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Master of Ceremonies John Gresser introduces the seminarians and priests to diners at Saturday’s Southern Cross seminarians dinner. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

A celebratory fundraising event on Saturday night proved just how much people appreciate the great need for priests, garnering an astonishing more-than $250,000 in donations and pledges towards the formation of priests-in-the-making.

A mighty 582 people turned out for the Southern Cross Seminarians Fundraising Dinner at the Lemnos Club in Belmore, enjoying an evening of fine dining and frivolity, replete with happy banter and a slew of mystery and lucky door prizes.

The money raised will be used to support seminarians from throughout Asia and Australasia who are studying for the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP), a fraternity of priests who celebrate the Latin Mass, including at Maternal Heart of Mary parish, Lewisham, and at various locations in Parramatta.

At one point in the evening, the seminarians were asked to present themselves on stage along with existing FSSP clergy, including two seminarians from China who addressed the significant Chinese-contingent in the crowd by offering their own words in Mandarin.

Fr Peter Joseph was the evening’s guest speaker, offering his thoughts – both informative and amusing – on the nature and importance of the priestly vocation.

Special guests included several FSSP priests from Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denon, Nebraska, where the seminarians spend the better part of their training.

Almost all of the young men, once ordained, will serve in Latin Mass communities throughout Australia.

In promotional material for the event, the FSSP estimated that the cost of supporting a seminarian studying overseas was $14,000 per year and that the total cost for seminarians from the ‘Southern Cross Region’ (Australasia and Asia) would be around $200,000.