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Picture yourself cruising the backroads in a ’69 Firebird Convertible restored to its original condition. Now, imagine that you are also helping to educate priests for mission churches in the poorest Diocese in our country. Got the picture?

V8s for Vocations will raffle this beautiful Bird on June 17, 2017. This numbers matching muscle car has the original 350V8, new top and only 79,000 one-owner miles.

The interior is the original parchment cream upholstery. The console has the original wood-grain inserts. This classic also features the original steering wheel and factory gauges.

As you can see from the resto pics, the exterior has been sanded down to bare metal and restored to the original factory Carousel Red color. Even the engine bay has been completely detailed and restored.

Open the hood and you see the original 350V8 paired to the original 3-speed automatic transmission mated to the 10-bolt rear end. We replaced engine gaskets and hoses and rebuilt the carb. The rest is as fresh as the day it left the factory. The Firebird has power brakes, power steering and sits on Rally wheels. Pontiac built only 11,000 ’69 Firebirds. This one is in mint condition.

I caught the car bug when I was a kid. My dad and I worked together on a ’64 Malibu SS. When I went off to seminary, I sold the Chevy and thought my car days were over. But God had other plans. V8s for Vocations was born in 2014 when a local parishioner donated an old car to the church. More than sixty volunteers transformed that classic into a perfect show car which we raffled to support our seminarians.

Jerry is one of our volunteers. Born on the north side of a tough town, Jerry had severe scoliosis that required painful surgeries. As a teen, Jerry spent over a year in a wheelchair. His parents wondered if he would ever get out of the chair.

Tough towns make tough kids. Through exercise and stubborn determination, Jerry began to walk again. Today he runs the paint shop at a local car dealer. Jerry did the paint work on the Chevelle right down to the rally strips. He is the genius behind the car’s perfect finish. I asked Jerry why he volunteered to help us. He told me that “these cars are so beautiful they sing to my heart.”

We live in the poorest region of America. Unemployment is around fifty percent. Housing on the surrounding Indian reservation often lacks  running water and electricity. Only around half of the kids in our region graduate high school and go on for more education.

I share these facts with you to emphasize the importance of your support. Our car restoration program is a beacon of light in a remote and forgotten part of the United States. This is not just a car, it is a giant symbol of hope. You need a car that “sings to your heart.”

Buy a raffle ticket for the ’69 Pontiac Firebird Convertible by going to www.v8forvocations.org or by completing the enclosed reply card. Tickets are $25 apiece. The winning number will be drawn at the Parish Fiesta on June 17, 2017. You do not have to be present to win. The winner will not pay taxes on the car. You just turn the key, drop the top and enjoy the ride.

I will keep you posted on the car build. Please keep us and the Firebird in your prayers. And thanks for helping.

Fr. Matt

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