Peggy and George Pandaleon have been supporters of Mundelein Seminary for many years. For National Estate Planning Awareness Week (Oct. 18-24), they have graciously shared their story with us in hopes of inspiring others to consider planning for the future and supporting the next generation of parish priests in their estate plans.
George fondly remembers his first meaningful connection with Mundelein Seminary when Peggy and he hosted a seminarian for dinner at home with their family 30+ years ago. Their parish, Church of St. Mary in Lake Forest, coordinated dinners with the seminarians. There was quite a snow the evening of their dinner and the seminarian volunteered to shovel the snow in the driveway with the Pandaleons. However, George’s actual first introduction to the Seminary was in the mid-1980’s when he cycled with his Bicycle Club from the Wisconsin border to Libertyville cycling through Mundelein’s beautiful seminary campus just before the end of their ride. That has been a lasting memory for George of this hidden gem in Lake County.
Peggy was first introduced to Mundelein Seminary through retreat programs of the Lay Institutes. She attended many retreats at the seminary for various St. Mary’s ministries coordinated by former pastors who are now Bishops, Bishop Michael McGovern and Bishop George Rassas.
After all these years, they have made lifelong friends through the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary community. In addition, they support the mission of Mundelein because of the impact they see in forming parish priests to serve the Church for future generations. Read the following Q&A with George and Peggy to learn more about their earnest support and past involvement with the seminary.
What do you tell others about the mission of Mundelein Seminary that appeals to you?
Peggy believes Mundelein Seminary is the heart of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the priesthood. It is a well-kept secret that should be shared as the seminary is one of the largest diocesan seminaries in the world, with an effective mission of forming priests, not just from Chicago, but around the country.
George likes to ask people if they have been to the seminary and if they say no, he encourages them to make a special trip to see the beautiful campus which is open to the public. He also shares that it is one of the largest Catholic seminaries with an interesting connection to the history of the AOC and Cardinal Mundelein.
What or who inspired you to include Mundelein Seminary in your estate plans?
Peggy and George had two prime motivations. George recently retired and in reviewing their finances and estate plans, it seemed prudent and economically digestible to have non-taxable ways to give to charity. They learned from their advisor that it would be great for Mundelein Seminary and the family to name the seminary as a percentage beneficiary of their IRA. It is an easy way to make a gift that costs nothing now and provides tax-free impact in the future. Changing an IRA beneficiary can be done online and is easy to adjust. There is no 50-page legal document to change, so they both felt, “Wow, this is a no brainer”!
In addition, Peggy noted how much she missed the Eucharist during Covid. Her first memorable experience of the power of the Eucharist was at her marriage to George at St. Raymond Catholic Church in Mt. Prospect. Reverend Robert J. Loftus, who married them, invited them to stand beside him as he distributed communion to their friends and family. She was overcome with joy as she saw that in sharing the Eucharist, we all become the Body of Christ. Later, she recognized how the Eucharist is divinely and uniquely linked to the priesthood. Peggy quoted Pope Benedict XVI who said, “Without the Eucharist, there is no church. Without priests, there is no Eucharist.” Supporting the formation and education of priests is so important because “priests give us the life-saving Eucharist” and devote themselves to improving and saving lives in many ways, which mirror key charitable objectives of the Pandaleons.
Why do you think it is important to support seminary education and the future of the Catholic Church?
As a member of the Board of Advisors of Mundelein Seminary, Peggy sees first-hand that Father John Kartje’s vision and curriculum is innovative and so logical. Father Kartje understands the whole picture of what is needed from our pastors. Programs he has created like Mundelein’s Simulation-based Learning Program and the Tolton Teaching Parish Program allow opportunities for studies in safe and spiritual environments that are crucial for the formation of the seminarians. Peggy and George know it is hard to run a parish and believe it is great for the seminarians to get this real-world hands-on experience before they become a priest as our priests need to be prepared to meet people wherever they are. That is why they have a strong appreciation for Fr. Kartje’s approach of Mundelein’s theoretical and practical curriculum.
What are your hopes for your generous gift?
Peggy and George trust that their gift will be put to good use. From her service on Mundelein Board, Peggy knows charitable donations to the Seminary are segregated from other Archdiocesan funds, so donations to the Seminary stay at the Seminary.
Is there a benefit for donors that goes beyond the seminary and which directly impacts you as a donor and your family?
They see making a gift through their IRA as a more efficient way to donate to charity without the drain of taxes allowing for charity to get the full benefit of the money available through their estate. Peggy sees naming Mundelein Seminary as a beneficiary of their IRA as “an efficient way to help a critical institution for the salvation of the world.”
If you have any questions about how you might support Mundelein Seminary with a planned gift, please contact Jim Jarocki, Senior Director of Development, at email@example.com.