Father Wall on EWTN Live

Fr. Jack Wall recently was a featured guest on “EWTN Live,” a one-hour talk show hosted by Fr. Mitch Pacwa.  Don’t miss hearing Fr. Wall’s compelling stories of how Catholic Extension is building faith, inspiring hope and igniting change in Catholic communities across the country. Click here to watch!

Our Christmas Wish List

Now that the excitement of the Christmas season is upon us, we want to let you know about Catholic Extension’s 2010 Christmas Wish List—25 “wishes” from under-resourced and isolated dioceses across America who need your support. Please check out this year’s list and stay tuned as we highlight a different “wish” through Twitter over the next 25 days.

Click here to see the full 2010 Catholic Extension Wish List.

The Driehaus Challenge

Richard H. Driehaus

Business executive and Catholic Extension donor Richard H. Driehaus

“It is part of our Catholic education, faith and heritage to contribute to those most in need,” said Richard Driehaus, a Catholic Extension donor and the originator of the $500,000 Challenge Grant, in the Spring issue of EXTENSION magazine.  Click here to learn more about his perspective on generosity, responsibility and Catholic Extension.

The numbers don’t lie: Challenges continue in mission America

A recent survey conducted by Catholic Extension of mission dioceses in the United States revealed eight mission dioceses where half the parishes have no pastor; three where more than half the priests are retired or infirm; and nine mission dioceses have less than $50 in assets per Catholic.

These compelling statistics highlight the need for continued support from women and men of faith who recognize God at work in their brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church across America–in places they will never see and among people they will likely never meet.

Just two samples among the many statistics produced in the study:

  • In the Dioceses of Fairbanks, Alaska; Superior, Wisconsin; Crookston, Duluth and New Ulm, Minnesota; Salina, Kansas; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 50 percent of the parishes have no pastor. In the Diocese of Dodge City, Kansas, the figure is 72 percent.

    Together, these dioceses serve nearly a half-million Catholics.

  • In Texas, there is one priest for every 10,000 Catholics in the Diocese of Brownsville and one for every 6,800 Catholics in the Diocese of El Paso.

Examples of how your support helps address the critical needs expressed to Catholic Extension through our Grants Program currently include:

Social or Clinical Outreach

  • 23 grant applications totaling $354,520

Salary Subsidies

  • 175 grant applications totaling $2,341,072

Future Ordained Leadership Funding

  • 33 grant applications totaling $1,823,035

Lay Leadership Formation

  • 15 grant applications totaling $180,585

“At a time when even many big-city archdioceses encounter significant financial obstacles, these figures certainly highlight a broad array of challenges the Church and her missioners face every day across mission America,” said Bob Dixon of Catholic Extension. “That is why we thank our generous supporters to Catholic Extension who – every day – allow America’s missioners to recognize the face of God in all those they serve.

“Supporters of Catholic Extension, women and men of deep faith, see the work of the Divine alive in every corner and people of the United States, in places far and wide, and do what they can to be present to these communities by sharing their own gifts,” Dixon said. “Their generosity shines even in the face of daunting statistics such as these. We are immensely grateful for their generosity and the difference they make.”

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

Be a part of the Socius Circle

Charter Membership in the Socius Circle recognizes the outstanding commitment of those who invest in Catholic

Your gift helps people like Sister Frances Vista run food banks and bring the Tuba City, Arkansas community together through

Your gift helps people like Sister Frances Vista run food banks and bring communities together through healthy eating classes.

Extension with annual giving of $1,000 or more to Awaken the Mission Spirit in America.

Socius Circle honors the critical role our faithful supporters play in “accompanying” missionaries across America and reaching out a hand to help communities of faith create an empowering and vibrant experience of Church.

With your support, the Catholic Church can continue to thrive in some of the most challenging of places as missionaries work in inner city and rural missions alike. Day after day, these men and women of faith make sure that Catholics everywhere in the United States, no matter what their circumstances, can experience the transforming power of the Gospel.

We invite you to be a leader in this great mission opportunity. Your Socius Circle gift of at least $1,000 each year enjoins you with missionaries and faithful across the United States. By becoming a member, you also join a movement at the very heart of God’s mission in the world to create communities of faith, hope, compassion and love.

It’s easy and convenient to become a Charter Member of the Socius Circle online. Just visit our Online Giving page.

Purchase your 2010 Catholic Church Extension Society calendars today!

Purchase your 2010 Catholic Extension calendars!

Purchase your 2010 Catholic Extension calendars!

Many people don’t realize that there is missionary work going on right here in America – in our own backyards! Catholic Extension is the leading supporter of that missionary work. In fact, almost every diocese in the United States has been touched in some way by Catholic Extension. Since 1905, more than $450 million has been distributed to dioceses to help them staff and operate their small, struggling parishes.

Last year, Catholic Extension provided more than $18 million to America’s Catholic missions — calendar sales played a big role in that success story. With your help, a portion of every calendar sale — essentially “the profit” — goes directly to support men and woman of faith in mission throughout America. We invite you to be an important part of the Catholic Church Extension Society’s Calendar Program. You play a major role in mission success all over the United States when you choose calendars from the Catholic Church Extension Society.

Purchase your 2010 Catholic Church Extension Society calendars today!

Breaking news: Arkansas church gets $100K for expansion project

St. Augustine -- Dardanelle, AKCatholic Extension has awarded $100,000 to St. Augustine Church in Dardanelle, Ark., President Fr. Jack Wall said this week. The money will allow the rapidly growing congregation to increase seating by 75 percent, to 280 from 160.

“People have been standing outside in the cold, heat and rain,” said Father Clayton Gould, St. Augustine’s pastor. “This will alleviate much of the congestion.”

The congregation is growing largely because of Latino workers who have come to work at livestock-processing plants in the area. St. Augustine is the only church with Spanish liturgy in the area and covers a 15- to 20-mile radius, but English Masses are also drawing more Hispanic worshippers, Gould said.

The construction project will also expand the sacristy, bathrooms and vestibule.

The congregation had already raised the majority of the funding, Fr. Gould said. But other costs, such as repaving the parking lot and architect fees, increased the tab.

“So we were $100,000 short—until now!” Fr. Gould said.

Fundraising activities included an event with Mexican food and rides that drew people from all over the area and netted $11,000 in one day.

“They’ve been working so hard to raise money,” Fr. Gould said. “This is just going to be a shot in the arm for us.”