Donor Stories

Care for Seminarians and Retired Priests at the Core of Bishop DiLorenzo’s Legacy

As a part of the Living Our Mission campaign, the Catholic Community Foundation established three new funds titled Seminarian and Advanced Education Endowment, Priest Health Care Endowment and Priest Long-Term Care Endowment.  Together, these endowments serve as a key to the future education and care of priests at the various stages of their ministries.

Due to the unprecedented support from the Catholic community through the campaign, over $6 million will be secured to provide health insurance and long-term care for retired priests as well as additional funds for the Priest Pension Plan.  For the education of our future priests, the new endowment will receive over $4 million to support seminarian education and priests advanced education.

Of the various gifts contributed through the campaign to these endowments, one of the most special was from Bishop DiLorenzo personally.  In addition, he left his entire estate to the Diocese and the combination of his outright gift and legacy gift will total over $250,000.  When he made the gift to the campaign, he reflected that “the Living Our Mission campaign is allowing our Diocese to fulfill its financial obligations for the future.  With so many people from across our Diocese willing to join in this effort, it was important for me to stand with them.  That is why I chose to participate in this campaign in a meaningful way.”

Bishop DiLorenzo had a special place in his heart for priests.  One of his most important priorities during his time as Bishop was to ensure that adequate health care was provided for our retired priests as well as ensuring their pension plan was fully funded.  In addition, he focused significant energy on building vocations to the priesthood.  This devotion to cultivating future priests of the Diocese led to a steep increase in seminarians from nine in 2004 (when he was first installed) to 31 at the time of his death.  “As Bishop, I know the sacrifices our men make for the Church and its people, and that is why I chose to support them as best I could,” said Bishop DiLorenzo.

To honor Bishop DiLorenzo’s commitment to our priests, the Catholic Community Foundation established the “Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo Memorial Fund for Priests.”  The income from this endowment fund will be used to support priestly vocations and the retired priests of the Diocese.

- Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo

Pastor Creates Transformative Opportunity for Pastors and Seminarians

Fr. James Kauffmann spent his whole life in the Diocese of Richmond.  He was born in Richmond and educated at Star of the Sea Elementary School in Virginia Beach as well as Norfolk Catholic High School in Norfolk, Virginia.  After his graduation from William & Mary, Fr. Kauffmann attended seminary at the North American College in Rome subsequently being ordained in 1976.  For 40 years, Fr. Kauffmann faithfully served at six parishes within the Diocese of Richmond.  His final assignment was as Parochial Vicar at St. Bede in Williamsburg until his passing in June of this year.

Earlier in his life, Fr. Kauffmann had the opportunity to pursue post-graduate studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and graduated in 1990 with a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture.  While there, he studied for a semester at Ecole Biblique and the French School of Archaeology in Jerusalem.  This opportunity inspired him to learn more about both early Christian origins in the Middle East and Christian-Islamic relations.  His post-graduate studies also led him to study Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic (the language spoken by Christ) and Coptic which was the ancient language of the Egyptian Christian Church.

His passion for ministry and for learning about the origins and languages of early Christianity led him to establish the James F. Kauffmann Scholarship Fund in late 2016.  Its purpose is to enable opportunities for pastors and seminarians to pursue continuing studies in Christian Origins.  Special preference is given to those who intend to study Syriac or Christian Arabic.  Through this Scholarship Fund, Fr. Kauffmann continued his legacy of faithful generosity and ministry to the people of the Catholic Church.

Fr. Kauffmann is one of many pastors and lay people who created opportunities for the future Church by making an estate provision.  Making a provision for your parish, a Catholic school or Diocesan ministry is easy and can truly have a transformative impact.  To learn more about creating a legacy gift for the benefit of the Catholic Church, please contact Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D., Director of Planned Giving at (804) 622-5221 or [email protected].

- Fr. James F. Kauffmann

Pastor of 29 Years Provides for Future Retired Priests

Fr. John Abe has spent his whole life in the Diocese of Richmond. As a child he attended St. Thomas More Catholic School in Arlington (this is when the Diocese of Richmond covered Northern Virginia) as well as Bishop O’Connell High School. Since he was ordained in 1984, Fr. Abe has served as pastor in six parishes: Immaculate Conception (Hampton), St. Mark (Virginia Beach), St. Andrew (Roanoke), St. Francis of Assisi (Staunton), St. Bede (Williamsburg) and St. Matthew (Virginia Beach) where he has served as pastor since 2010.

As a priest in the Diocese for 29 years, Fr. Abe understands the realities facing many priests as they near retirement. “On a priest’s salary, many cannot save the full amount required for retirement. We don’t want to see those who have served faithfully for so long become impoverished or be denied what they need.”

One of the most urgent priorities currently facing the Diocese is providing a pension plan and health insurance for its 42 retired priests and 6 who require long-term care. To bestow future assistance to the Diocese in meeting this challenge, Fr. Abe has made a provision in his will to transfer a portion of his assets to the Priests’ Retirement Fund upon his passing.

“We are a brotherhood and we have the responsibility to support each other.  In this way we honor those who came before us, those who have made what we have today possible. I am hopeful that our clergy and lay people will join with me in creating their own legacy gift. These gifts will shape the overall legacy we leave to future generations of our Catholic Church”, said Fr. Abe.

Making a provision in your will for your parish, a Catholic school or Diocesan ministry (such as retired priests) is easy and can truly have a transformative impact. To learn more about joining Fr. Abe in creating a legacy gift for the benefit of the Catholic Church, please contact Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D., Director of Planned Giving, (804) 622-5221 or [email protected]

- Fr. John Abe

Lifelong Relationship with Priests Inspires Gift for the Future of Seminarians

As a young man Charlie Bush considered entering the seminary.  Ultimately, he decided to serve his country in the Navy instead.  After the Navy, Charlie became a police officer with the Virginia Beach police force where he served for 25 years.  Now retired, Charlie was looking to give back to all of the pastors who have influenced him throughout his life.

“The experience I had when I visited Rome many years ago as well as the weekly gatherings to celebrate Mass continues to have a profound impact on my life as a Catholic Christian.  Throughout my life I have had the pleasure of knowing many of the pastors in the Diocese.   Their commitment to serving the people of God not only in Virginia, but throughout the world is truly inspiring”, said Mr. Bush.

The commitment from one pastor in particular at Church of the Ascension in Virginia Beach impacted him in a much different way.   “When my brother passed away, it was a hard time.  I could not have gotten through that experience without the support of Father Jim Parke and our parish family”, said Mr. Bush.

To honor the memory of his brother and the many priests who have influenced his life, Charlie decided to set up an endowment fund through a bequest which will serve to

  • Financially support seminarians in major theology (2nd, 3rd and 4th year of theology studies and pastoral year) with their training and education to become priests.
  • Pay for health insurance and stipends for seminarians in major theology.

“We as Catholics must always give thought to the future of our Church.  The foundation we build today will have a major impact on the Church our children and grandchildren will experience.  I am proud to make a gift that will have a lasting impact on the future leaders and parishioners of our Diocese”, said Mr. Bush.

To find out how you can create a legacy of giving for your parish, school or the ministries of the Diocese, please contact Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D., Director of Planned Giving, (804) 622-5221 or [email protected]


- Charlie Bush