Sponsors, golfers sought for Cardinal’s golf classic

May 13, 2014

HOUSTON — Were it not for the annual Shepherd’s Cup Golf Classic, residential graduate students at St. Mary’s Seminary would still be sleeping on old mattresses. 

Organizers of this year’s event are aiming to recruit 360-plus players and sponsors for the golf tournament and the Cardinal’s sponsor dinner to help meet some of the needs that further Catholic education and faith formation. 

“It’s a great cause, and it helps a lot of kids and a lot of priests,” said Kari Tracey, who with her husband Sean are lead sponsors of the event. “We are big proponents of Catholic education.”

Certainly the need is great at the seminary, where 80 seminarians live, many more receive training and buildings are aging on the wooded campus at 9845 Memorial Dr. In addition, some 131 men are undergoing formation for the permanent diaconate in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
“We couldn’t function without this kind of additional funding,” said Father Trung Nguyen, rector of St. Mary’s. “We constantly need funds to be able to respond to the physical needs of the campus and also for our programs.”

As well as replacing old mattresses, Father Nguyen said funds from past tournaments — around $100,000 for a single tournament — have been used to enhance learning technology and replace air-conditioning systems. Half of the proceeds from Shepherd’s Cup go to St. Mary’s Seminary.

Julie Blevins, director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis (OEC), said a call two years ago from a parish asking how they could get supplies for their children’s faith formation programs prompted her to apply for Shepherd’s Cup funds for textbooks and materials. 

OEC needed funds to buy books and materials for children’s faith formation at parishes in the Archdiocese that struggle to pay for their own. 
Funds were also needed for the Echo apprentice program, a University of Notre Dame master’s in theology program in which students do a two-year training stint in the Archdiocese. 

“These parishes wouldn’t be able to do the work of passing on the faith to the children without support from Shepherd’s Cup,” Blevins said.
Greg Gomez, the Cardinal’s liaison to inner city schools, said the grants will pay for marketing materials and updating Websites, enabling the schools to reach more families, promote enrollment and boost school spirit.

“Shepherd’s Cup really does help fill in the gap for some of these essentials that keep these schools going,” Gomez said. “As these schools reach more people and grow stronger, it allows them to thrive, not just exist.”