GREENVILLE — In 2016, 17 area men studying to be Catholic priests received a total of $13,600 from a local scholarship fund. The North Deaneries Seminarian Fund at the Darke County Foundation supported every seminarian from the Sidney and St. Mary’s deaneries of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The number of seminarians increased from 14 the year before.
In thanking donors recently, seminarians made the following remarks:
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your generous donation made a big impact on me. My family has been experiencing difficulty in receiving loans for the cost of my college tuition, and this is a huge help in reducing the need for loans. I cannot express enough my gratitude.”
“When I read the names of all the donors, it moved me because they were all familiar to me. I thought to myself, ‘These are my people, the people I grew up with, the families that live the faith and cultivated my desire to love God and thus inspired my vocation.’ I will carry you with me in my continued discernment and vocation journey. I am so proud of my small-town Ohio roots and will always remain connected through the ultimate unifier, Jesus Christ.”
“Your generosity is truly appreciated. Lord willing, I will be ordained this upcoming May, so I wish to express now my deep gratitude for your support over the years. What a blessing! Please know of my prayers for you.”
“Without the support of parishes, communities and friends, the priesthood would be a very hard road. I will offer one of my Holy Hours this month for all of you and your families.”
“Your gift will go far as I begin to pay off some college debt. The continual increase in support, not just financially but more importantly with your prayers, astonishes me.”
“Remember your reward is in heaven. God will richly bless you for your generosity. God-willing I am ordained into His holy priesthood. I will remember you all at my first Holy Mass. Until then, I ask our Lady to protect you.”
“Being in our position as students, as well as being formed to do God’s work, is truly humbling where we realize we could never do this without you.”
“Such gifts as yours will never go unnoticed, and I will take care to share your generosity.”
“I am deeply grateful and humbled. Many of us do not anticipate the expenses of entering a seminary or house of formation, so finding generous givers along the way is a real Godsend.”
“The funds have been a great help in paying for different needs as I approach my deacon ordination.”
The scholarship fund was established in 2013 by Melvin and Mary Ann Stucke of Versailles, and the fund grew with additional donations from the community. The Stuckes have committed to match any 2017 donation up to $300. One hundred percent of donations go directly into the Seminarian Fund.
Melvin emphasized that most seminarians incur tuition and living expenses aside from any financial assistance provided by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Undergraduate students in college seminaries receive limited assistance from the archdiocese.
“We invite the community to join us in this effort to reinforce young men in their priestly studies,” said Melvin. “We feel that through the encouragement and prayer of so many supporters, the number of Catholic priests will continue to increase.”
Donors may make a tax-deductible donation to the fund by writing a check to the Darke County Foundation (memo: Seminarian Fund). Mail to: Darke County Foundation, P.O. Box 438, Greenville, OH 45331. For more information, contact Melvin Stucke at 937-526-3801.