PHILADELPHIA – The Papal Foundation, whose mission is to serve the Holy Father and the Roman Catholic Church through faith, energy and financial resources, has awarded $798,244 in scholarships to 96 priests, brothers, sisters and lay faithful on five continents, providing them the opportunity to study at 16 universities in Rome as part of the Saint John Paul II Scholarship Program.
Since its founding, the program has provided nearly $13 million in scholarships to more than 1,600 people, known as Saeman Scholars, to advance their education and prepare them to return to teach in their own countries.
“We are committed to Saint John Paul II’s vision to prepare Catholic leaders and educators for service,” said Eustace Mita, president of The Papal Foundation Board of Trustees. “We aim to ensure those called to build up the church all over the world are trained and prepared to lead in their own dioceses.”
In 1998, then Pope John Paul II envisioned providing scholarships for tuition, room and board to priests, religious sisters and laity from disadvantaged countries, allowing them to study in Rome and then return to their dioceses to teach future church leaders in a way that is faithful to the magisterium, the church’s teaching authority. The program launched in 2000 thanks to the wonderful generosity of John and Carol Saeman of Denver, who made an initial $5 million gift that was matched by The Papal Foundation.
Father Julius Madaki from the Archdiocese of Kaduna in Nigeria recently earned his doctorate after studying on scholarship in Rome. “Words alone cannot express the sentiments of gratitude and appreciation in me,” he said. “Studying under the auspices of The Papal Foundation has influenced my life in no small way. I promise to make you proud, be of service to the Church, and keep you always in my prayers. Rest assured that your commitment to spreading the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth will never go unrewarded.”
“To play a role in the formation of leaders in the Catholic church is a blessing,” added Dave Savage, the recently named executive director of The Papal Foundation. “Saint John Paul II will always be remembered for the lessons in leadership he personified, which is one reason we at The Papal Foundation are honored to carry forward his vision of training scholars to effectively lead in their communities. We remain grateful for the incredible generosity of John and Carol Saeman, who make this work possible.”