DENVER—The Knights of Columbus has established a new scholarship to help fund education for Catholic seminarians preparing to become U.S. military chaplains. Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson announced the $1 million “Father McGivney Military Chaplain Scholarship” during his Annual Report to the 129th Supreme Convention. The scholarship is named after the Venerable Father Michael McGivney, the 19th Century priest who founded the Knights of Columbus.
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop of the Military Services, USA, said the scholarship money will be dedicated to the archdiocese’s “Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program.” The archdiocese initiated the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program to recruit priestly vocations from the military for the benefit of the armed forces as well as participating dioceses and religious orders throughout the country.
According to church vocations statistics, nearly 10% of priestly ordinations in the U.S. in recent years were of men who had served in the military. Another 10% came from military families.
Under the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, the Archdiocese contracts with each participating diocese to fund 50% of the cost of the five years of seminarian education. Total costs typically run $25,000 per year for each candidate. In return, the candidate agrees that, upon ordination and after three years service to an assigned parish in the diocese, he will commit to serve as a military chaplain under the auspices of the Archdiocese for the Military Services.
In recent years, the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program has produced an exponential increase in the number of co-sponsored seminarians, from as few as three in 2008 to 30 this year with more prospects on the horizon. They are assigned to 16 dioceses and enrolled in 21 seminaries in the U.S. and the North American College in Rome.
Archbishop Broglio said:
“These results, while extraordinary, place a large financial burden on the archdiocese, which annually generates only enough funds—95% from donations—to cover its operating costs. The archdiocese has no funds on hand to meet the long-term contractual commitments of the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program, especially if, as it is hoped, the numbers continue to grow. Thanks to the generosity of the Knights of Columbus, the Father McGivney Military Scholarship will help fill this need for years to come. The Knights of Columbus, over many years, has been most generous is providing much needed financial support to this archdiocese as well as providing it with a wide range of programs and services. The Father McGivney Military Scholarship is but the latest instance of the organization’s generosity, and for that I am most grateful.”
The Knights of Columbus will distribute the $1 million in scholarship money over a period of five years at the rate of $200,000 per year, helping produce a new generation of Catholic military chaplains.