VERSAILLES — Last year, 18 local individuals pursuing religious vocations in the Catholic Church received $1,000 scholarships in support of their studies. Recipients included 16 men studying for the priesthood and 2 women studying to be religious sisters. Awards were provided by the North Deaneries Seminarian Fund of the Darke County Foundation and given to individuals from the Sidney and St. Mary’s deaneries of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
The founders of the fund, Melvin and Mary Ann Stucke of Versailles, invite others to contribute to this fund that provides annual support for local men and women discerning a call to the religious life. The Stuckes will match any gift up to $300.00. One hundred percent of donations go directly to the scholarship awards.
Last year’s recipients made these remarks:
• “It is a great encouragement to have the support of the local communities. This scholarship greatly helps cover a variety of costs that arise throughout the year. I especially want to thank you for your continued prayers throughout my formation and discernment.”
• “I feel blessed to know that I have the support of so many people in the northern part of the Archdiocese. It is because of your support that I am able to take this vital time of formation. It is genuinely uplifting for me to see how faith-filled the people of this Archdiocese are. With Jesus at the center of everything we do, we will indeed touch the lives of all those we meet.”
• “I am edified when all seem to say, ‘This Church is alive and well!’ The response to God’s call is a day-to-day affair, and I desire to be in union with God’s purpose for my life. Your prayers and financial support are invaluable in allowing me and other seminarians and religious to pursue the call God has for each of us.”
• “Please know that you are in my daily prayers. As I move towards ordination in May, I ask for your prayers as I seek to serve the Lord as His priest.”
• “Thanks to the many benefactors who generously stepped forward to give scholarship donations to me and my brother seminarians. It is always a big help that I have come to depend on. Only through donations like this are my studies and priestly formation possible.”
• “Your generosity and self-sacrifice inspires us in our daily work of preaching the truth in love.”
Melvin emphasized that most seminarians incur tuition and living expenses aside from any financial assistance provided by the archdiocese or religious order. Undergraduate students in college seminaries receive limited assistance from the archdiocese.
“We invite the community to join us in this effort to reinforce men and women in their religious studies,” said Melvin. “We feel that through the encouragement and prayer of so many supporters, the number of Catholic priests and religious 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.