Dear friends in Christ,

I wanted to share with you this testimony from a seminarian:

“A few weeks ago at the seminary, I spent time with my brother seminarians in our common room. Out of the blue, one of my friends asked me, ‘Why do you want to be a priest?’ Without any thought, I answered, ‘Because, I was made for this.’ Having spent five years in seminary and plenty of time discerning before that, I have wasted no time pondering the nature of ‘vocation’ and what it means to me. Never in all this deep thought and self-examination do I believe I had come closer to the nature of my call to the priesthood than in these words spoken naturally to a brother. Indeed, I believe I was made for this.” (Brennen McCoy, Seminarian, Diocese of Richmond)

It’s so encouraging to see these seminarians, all full of hope and desire, ready to pick up the Cross of Christ and bear it into the world with their ‘yes.’

But they face some pretty tough obstacles.

Co-founder of the Avila Institute and the High Calling Program, Dr. Anthony Lilles, said it best:


Christ is calling a new generation of disciples out of the dark caves of our oversexed culture to stand in the open with dignity and freedom before the Church.

Often haunted by difficult family backgrounds and a fragmented sense of identity, fear, insecurities, resentment and lack of faith formation hinder their ability to listen to the still small voice of the Father in their hearts.

A crisis of fatherhood threatens their growth into the full maturity of their manhood in Christ. Only as they open their hearts to good spiritual fathers, teachers and other experts will these men find the confidence and hope that they need for a more radical following of the Lord.


It is in our High Calling Program that men like Brennen find the spiritual fathers, teachers, and experts that Dr. Lilles describes. I’m privileged every day to witness, under their mentorship, these young discerners becoming men of courage and faith, full of leadership potential and the ability to sacrifice and serve.

I pray for them everyday.

Will you join me?

I’d also ask you to prayerfully consider a donation to help us cover the cost of their formation. Each year, we give away over $200,000 in scholarships to these young men. 

It’s no small thing to offer them a tangible gift of a scholarship containing what they are going to need more than they know: the key to peace and “a more radical following of the Lord.”

Can they count on you?

Make a donation to help us form discerners today. Invest in their future—and the future of the Church here:

Any amount helps tremendously. Please donate today.

Thank you for your time, and for your generosity. I speak for the whole team at Avila when I saw we are always moved by your sacrificial charity.


With a prayer,

Joseph Hollcraft, PhD

Director, High Calling Program

Avila Foundation


Image courtesy of Unsplash.

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