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Good Shepherd celebrates seminarians and their generous donors

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The Seminary of the Good Shepherd acknowledged the support of their small army of “invisible supporters”at their annual Benefactors thanksgiving dinner. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
The Seminary of the Good Shepherd acknowledged the support of their small army of “invisible supporters”at their annual Benefactors thanksgiving dinner. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

The Seminary of the Good Shepherd is celebrating its largest annual intake of Catholic men answering the call to priesthood, with 2023 proving to be a year of great promise to the church.

However, it’s a journey that the young men aspiring to service cannot embark on without support, which is why at its annual benefactors thanksgiving dinner last week, the young seminarians acknowledged the support of their small army of “invisible supporters.”

“We would not be able to run without benefactors and supporters of the Seminarian Scholarship Program,” said Seminary Rector, Fr Michael de Stoop.

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“The seminary is not government-funded, so we rely 100 per cent on donations and our benefactors, and we wanted to show them how much they mean to us, with a night to remember.”

The Seminary of the Good Shepherd is the largest seminary in Australia and prepares men for the priesthood over a seven-year formation program.

And with its numbers booming, its benefactors have never been more important.

This year, the seminary celebrated its largest intake with 17 Catholic men aspiring to holy orders. It’s the largest number of new admissions in its history and called for a celebration.

“We wanted to celebrate the generosity of our many benefactors. We want to show them appreciation that their support is critical to getting these young faithful men through the formation period,” said Richard Allcock, relationship manager with the Archdiocese’s Development and Fundraising Office, who organised the event.

“Without their help and support, these young men couldn’t finish or afford the program.”

The benefactors’ contributions were acknowledged from the moment they stepped into the entry to the seminary.

On a new plaque, revealed on the night, each of the benefactors’ names were displayed.

Good Shepherd Seminary Rector, Fr Michael de Stoop celebrates the annual benefactors thanksgiving dinner for supporters of the seminary. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Good Shepherd Seminary Rector, Fr Michael de Stoop celebrates the annual benefactors thanksgiving dinner for supporters of the seminary. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

“The benefactors were honoured to see how their names were acknowledged as soon as they stepped into the main building. It’s the first thing and they saw and they were very grateful to be honoured in such a way,” said Fr de Stoop.

For many of the benefactors, it was the first time they were meeting the young recipients of their charity.

“For the benefactors who came, they got to see for their own eyes how the seminarian they are helping is benefitting from the donations they are providing,” said Fr de Stoop.

With strong numbers predicted for 2024 and beyond, these benefactors have never been more important for the future of the church in Australia.

“The seminary is literally, a full house,” the rector said, noting that the evening took place on the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.

“And what is St Francis’ most famous quote? ‘For it is in giving that we receive.’

“There will be more mouths to feed and more bills to pay. The price of electricity is going up and up.

“And these young men are still at an age with healthy appetites. If we get a good-sized intake next year—we will have room for them, but we will be stretched.

“Admittedly, it’s a great problem to have. I relish this problem!”

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