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  • Mar
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Helping with tuition and textbooks

Posted By March 27, 2012 | 10:25 am | Local
Parents with children in college are well aware of soaring higher education costs. Father James S. Mazzone, director of vocations, can certainly relate. Working within a tight budget, his office helps fund the education of the 21 seminarians preparing for the priesthood. “After serving as vocation director for several years, I now find myself able to speak about these expenses with many parents I cross paths with, who are facing the same challenges in their own households,” he said, explaining that he often gets into conversations about tuition, textbooks, room and board and other expenses.

By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

Parents with children in college are well aware of soaring higher education costs.
Father James S. Mazzone, director of vocations, can certainly relate.
Working within a tight budget, his office helps fund the education of the 21 seminarians preparing for the priesthood.
“After serving as vocation director for several years, I now find myself able to speak about these expenses with many parents I cross paths with, who are facing the same challenges in their own households,” he said, explaining that he often gets into conversations about tuition, textbooks, room and board and other expenses.
“Oftentimes in the midst of these conversations they’ll pause and say, ‘But, I only have two kids in college, you have twenty-something seminarians.’”
In this instance, though, one family alone is not paying for the tuition. This cost is shared by many families who give to the annual Partners in Charity campaign.
The vocations program is funded by Partners in Charity.
Father Mazzone said all seminarians receive some tuition assistance from his office.
“Put plain and simply, without the extraordinary generosity of the faithful during this annual appeal, we would face colossal challenges in educating and forming future priests,” he said.
And, without priests, there would be no Mass, he noted.
This year’s Partners in Charity theme is “Open Wide the Doors to Christ – Blessed John Paul II.”
“Blessed John Paul II’s exhortation to “Open Wide the Doors to Christ” speaks to the need for seminarians in the world,” said Father Mazzone. “It especially reminds us that their role as future priests in our diocese will help keep this spiritual door to Christ not only open, but open widely.”
Seminarian Mark Rainville is scheduled, God willing, to be ordained a deacon this year. He said “Open Wide the Doors to Christ” is a very fitting theme.
“For the funds raised by Partners in Charity greatly aid and make possible a seminary education for those discerning a vocation to the priesthood in the Worcester Diocese,” he explained.
“However, this theme is not restricted to giving only, but also by being gracious in receiving the graces and gifts God bestows upon us in various ways,” he added. “I am grateful to God for my vocation and for those who have aided me in the discernment process. This, on behalf of my fellow seminarians of Worcester and myself, I would like to thank the faithful in Worcester for their prayers and their generosity.”
This past weekend nearly  90 percent of the parishes conducted the Partners’ in-pew solicitation and the remaining are planning to this weekend.
“With the early gifts received from donors we notice an increase per gift, along with new gifts. This is truly a sign of hope,” Michael Gillespie, director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development, said.
Bishop McManus expressed his gratitude to those people who have given to the appeal.
“I am very grateful for all the gifts that have already been made by parishioners throughout the diocese specifically during the in-pew solicitation. The early responses may be a sign of a brightening economy but it is clearly a sign of the goodness and generosity of the Catholic community in the Diocese of Worcester,” he said.
Typically the campaign slows down as the Church enters Holy Week, Mr. Gillespie said. Then, following Easter the campaign activity picks up again.
“This will be the busiest phase of the campaign when most parishes are inviting past and new donors to make a gift and reminding their members of the importance of being part of this wonderful circle of giving. We invite everyone to Open Wide the Doors to Christ by supporting those programs, agencies and offices that do the work of Christ through their ministries that give Christ a face and that see Christ in the faces of those they serve,” Mr. Gillespie said.
He invited people to see how their donation to the appeal truly opens wide the door to Christ to thousands here in Worcester County by visiting the website at www.Partners-Charity.net