Dear friends and kind people of the world,
I write this message to beg for your financial support, and for your prayers to God, so that I might be able to make the gift of my entire life to Him through following a call to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. I would like to briefly tell you my vocational story, and invite you to contact me to know it in more detail if you would like.
When I was a young boy, I was brought up in a fervent Catholic culture at the parish community of St. Mary's in Akron. My first draw to the priesthood was experienced there as I served at mass assisting our holy priest, Fr. Burba. At this time, I also had significant exposure to an order of priests called the Legionaries of Christ. I visited their minor seminary (a boarding school for junior high and high schoolers to discern priesthood) in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, several times. I fell in love with the vibrant life that the boys lived there, and desired to go and live it myself. So off I went, 13 years old, for eigth grade, and for the next three years my life was filled with a desire for becoming a religious priest in this community.
Midway through high school, God had other plans for me and moved my parents to bring me home. Over the next many years, I would mature in a much larger environment with the vast majority of my young Catholic counterparts, and try to broaden my perspective on my future. Through this, I have had to undergo a long process of proving my vocation under numerous trials and in the face of doubts and fears. It has not always been clear to me that I would return to consider this order, though its lifeblood has seemed to stay with me all these years. Yet, after two more years of high school, four years in college, a degree, and only a few months of life on my own, I have come back to where it all began and found, by a gift of grace at this point in time, the same call to the same community still making itself heard inside my heart, and I believe it is from the Lord.
The Legionaries live a life of simple dedication to the Church and to Christ Jesus through the sacraments, through an intense and rigorous prayer life, and through their missions. Their work covers a wide range of apostolates, but in every case they strive to help form men and women as apostles of Christ, so that they can use all their gifts and all the education they've received to lead society towards a virtuous way of life.
The institution, like many other orders in the Church, requires a vow of poverty. This means that I will not be making salary when I become a priest. The very little that I will have in my keeping still belongs to the order.
The order does not have enough funds to take on any student debt on the part of its applicants, therefore I humbly beg for your help in the payment of my student loans to the government, which stand at about $26,000. I am currently working and saving all of my money to pay back loans of over $8,000 to my parents, and I expect that I will be able to do this and start to cut into the government loans over the next four months. The number I hope to raise overall is 24,000. But in this campaign through gofundme, I will have reached an abundance of help if I can reach a third of that. So I am setting my goal at 8,000.
My goal is to have my loans paid off by June of this year, 2018, with the grace of God and by the generous support of benefactors and prayer-warriors like you. Please know that I will be so grateful for your support, no matter how small, including all the prayers you offer up for me. I will be grateful for even a one dollar donation because, by that donation, I receive a sign that someone out there has believed also in the mission that I have, in the calling I desire to follow for my entire life, and what is even more wonderous, in the sacrament that God desires to make of it. In your support, you are help me to do my small part in extending Christ's kingdom. Thank you for taking some time and reading my message. Please do feel free to contact me if you'd like to know more, or want to say anything, or to catch up if we have known each other. You can find my contact info on Facebook.
Thank you from my heart for all your love and support, and I wish God's abundant blessing and that you would know His endlesslove to everyone who reads this.
In His peace -
- Dan & Suzann Mernagh
- Catherine Augustine
- Joe Simeo