Father Matthew Keller, rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Gallup, N.M., poses June 8 with a 1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible that he refurbished for a raffle in support of vocations for the Diocese of Gallup. (CNS photo/V8 for Vocations)
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A priest who loves rebuilding hot rods and assisting seminarians is donating a 1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible that he refurbished for a raffle in support of vocations for the Diocese of Gallup in New Mexico.
This is not the first time that Father Matthew Keller remodeled a hot rod. Last year, he fixed up a donated 1972 Chevelle and raised $140,000 for seminarians.
The money helped five seminarians start their journey to becoming priests for the Diocese of Gallup.
"Gallup is a really wonderful and unique diocese," Father Keller said in a phone interview with Catholic News Service. "We have about 35 to 40 priests and 65 parishes plus our missions."
Father Keller mentioned that few priests there have only one parish to serve. Gallup is the poorest diocese in the country and is in dire need of more seminarians.
As the former vocations director for the diocese, Father Keller knows that any financial support is necessary for those interested in the seminary. In many cases, it can cost up to $30,000 for each seminarian to study for the priesthood.
The raffle of the Pontiac is set for June 17, and the nonprofit group www.V8forVocations.org is handling online sales of the tickets, which are $25 each.
In addition to being the rector at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Father Keller also is vicar general for the Diocese of Gallup.
His passion for vehicles began early on.