A global pandemic could not thwart the goal of the Seminary Tea Committee.

This year, because of COVID-19 restrictions, the 85th annual spring tea fundraiser to support Archdiocese of Portland seminarians had to be canceled. But committee members saw to it that the fundraising mark of $44,000 got reached without the gathering.

The collection provides at least a year’s tuition and expenses for one seminarian in the Archdiocese of Portland.

According to Lynn Baumgardner, 2020 committee chair, 99% of the donations came from committee members, through their dues, donations, ticket purchases and underwriting.

“All the Seminary Tea ladies stepped up to the plate and made this effort a reality,” Baumgardner said. “We believe in our seminarians, we pray for them and we are happy to support them financially.”

On July 1, Baumgardner and Toni Fisher, chairwoman for the 2021 tea, presented Father Jeff Eirvin, vocations director of the archdiocese, with a check.

“This incredible outpouring of financial support for our seminarians is a wonderful testimony of what fuels each member of the Seminary Tea Committee,” said Dina Marie Hale, a staffer at All Saints Parish who coordinates publicity for the committee.

Fisher said the committee is planning on an in-person tea in spring 2021. But if larger gatherings still are barred, she added, the committee likely will follow this year’s model.