by Elizabeth Alex
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Seven young men supported through Unbound’s seminarian sponsorship program — including the seminarian sponsored by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann — were recently ordained to the priesthood in El Salvador and the Philippines.
Nelson Edgardo Fajardo Guevara of El Salvador, now Father Nelson, said the support and sponsorship of the archbishop inspired him in his studies.
“It was really great to know [my sponsor] was an archbishop. And the fact that we were praying for each other was also great,” said Father Nelson. “That motivates me and inspires me to continue to look for the love of the Lord.”
Jemilhelm M. Nunez celebrated his ordination in the Philippines.
“It was my dream to become a priest,” said Father Nunez. “I believe that vocation is a mystery — a sacrifice. It is a gift of God and also it is my gift to him.”
Father Nunez’s sponsor, Elizabeth Noll of Winchester, said she is “thrilled and just so proud of him.” She has sponsored through Unbound, formerly known as Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, for 16 years.
“I appreciate the priesthood so much and wanted to help someone become a priest,” Noll said. “I feel blessed that I was able to have a small part.”
Noll and her husband Robert are members of St. Joseph-St. Lawrence Parish, Easton. She has already asked for another seminarian to sponsor.
Unbound was founded by lay Catholics and now serves people in 21 countries. Most sponsored friends are children and youth who are in school, as well as elderly people.
Unbound also sponsors young men and women studying for Catholic religious vocations. More than 600 seminarians have been sponsored and ordained as priests since 1996, when the organization began supporting religious vocation candidates. Seventy- five women have taken final vows.
Father Nelson and the three colleagues he studied with now serve in parishes in El Salvador.
“From the bottom of my heart, I would say thank you,” said Father Nelson when asked what message he would like passed on to Unbound sponsors.
“I would say, ‘Please continue this great work.’ I continue praying for everyone who is part of [the organization].”
Unbound is the largest nonprofit in Kansas with more than $115 million in annual revenue. More than 93 percent of all the money Unbound spends goes to program support.
For more information, visit the website at: www.unbound.org.