Priest soars high above adversity

Tuwan Bowden in Fr. Garrett's plane, Levelock, Alaska

In Alaska, isolated communities and harsh weather conditions are no barrier for the Catholic faith. Father Scott Garrett recalls a powerful story from his ministry in the Spring issue of EXTENSION magazine. Click here to read how Fr. Garrett soars above obstacles to serve the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

The Power of Youth Outreach in Montana

Dan Thies, right, is the program coordinator for C.Y.R.O and helps kids like Alex Neu, left, embrace their Catholicism.

It began a decade ago as a vision shared by the leaders of a small Catholic parish in Bigfork, a remote community in northwest Montana in the Diocese of Helena: a program to connect local high school youth across the small churches throughout the region with their Catholic faith. Today, with support from Catholic Extension, this simple vision has become a reality: the Catholic Youth Rural Outreach (C.Y.R.O.) program.  Read this article from the Spring issue of Extension about how CYRO is creating a new generation of leaders in the Church and inspiring parishes throughout the region.

Traveling Exhibit — Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America

Did you know more than 110 US colleges and universities were founded by Catholic sisters?  In the Spring issue of Extension Magazine, we take a closer look at a new traveling exhibit touring museums across the country called Women & Sprit: Catholic Sisters in America that celebrates the invaluable contributions women religious have made to our nation.

Celebrating Women Religious

In the Spring 2010 issue of Extension, Father Wall talks with four sisters about women religious today and the transformative power of faith in communities.  Click here to read the full roundtable discussion, which linked sisters across the nation—from a community center in the plains of Idaho to a mission in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World in Florida.

Church Celebrates Year for Priests

Seminarian at Mt. Angel Seminary at St. Benedict in Oregon.

Seminarian at Mt. Angel Seminary at St. Benedict in Oregon.

Pope Benedict XVI recently announced that the Church will celebrate the Year for Priests from June 19, 2009, through June 19, 2010. Catholic priests throughout the world will spend this coming year deepening their commitment to their calling – a ministry of leadership, service and living the Gospel message.

Catholic Extension also invites you to celebrate the Year for Priests by reflecting on the gift of priesthood and learning more about the need to help educate seminarians for missions within our own country.

The call to priesthood resonates across America daily. Those who listen and respond spend years in academic and prayerful preparation. Many seminarians come from and return to serve in under-resourced and isolated mission areas like the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, where there is only one priest for every 9,000 Catholics. As they give their lives in resounding answer to a Divine calling, Catholic Extension partners with them at every step of their journey.

It costs an average of $25,000 a year, for six years or more, to educate and provide for each seminarian – a cost that is prohibitive to nearly 40 percent of the dioceses in the country. We invite you to make this year a special opportunity to support Catholic Extension’s Building Leaders initiative, which provides assistance to create the next generation of leaders in the church.

Support is a powerful expression of celebration and partnership. Through supporters like you, Catholic Extension can help defray the cost of tuition, books and training for nearly 400 seminarians preparing for the priesthood.

Their education and work is critical, and your support helps them move closer to the priesthood – and active missionary work.

“The church needs priests who are holy, ministers who help the faithful experience the merciful love of the Lord and who are convinced witnesses of that love.”

–Pope Benedict XVI

Update: White River, Arizona

Extension magazine recently received this letter from Father Eddie Fronske of St. Francis Church in Whiteriver, Ariz., written to an anonymous donor who responded to an article about mission work on an Apache reservation. Father Fronske asked us to print it in the magazine, and we will.

But really, Father Fronske is speaking to all of us, and the inspiring words he received and gave back are worth reading on their own.

Here is the letter:

Dear anonymous benefactor and reader of Extension,

Thank you for your wonderful response to the article in Extension! You sent a donation of $300, holy cards and a most encouraging letter. Your letter was a special gift to me. Life is so challenging here on the reservation, with three parishes many miles apart and struggling with finances as never before.

You assured me of your prayers and reminded me that God is there in the worst of times and even when it doesn’t seem like it. You reminded me to stay with my 2-plus hours of prayer a day and assured me that God hears. Thank you for such a personal and spiritual touch. Thank you for your financial help, but most of all for your heart, from which came needed words of encouragement and love.

May God bless you a hundred-fold.
Father Eddie Fronske, ofm