GREENVILLE — Twenty-two local individuals pursuing religious vocations in the Catholic Church received $1,000 scholarships in support of their studies in 2020. Recipients included 19 men studying for the priesthood and three 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 northern area of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
The number of recipients has grown since the fund started in 2013, when 12 local seminarians each received $500.
The founders of the fund, Melvin and Mary Ann Stucke, of Versailles, encourage the community 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.
Some of last year’s recipients made these remarks:
“It truly means a lot to have the support and prayers from people in the local communities back home, helping us to become good and holy priests. Please pray that men and women have the strength and courage to follow God’s call in our current culture.”
“The longer I am away from “home,” the more I realize how blessed I am to have grown up in our area. I can honestly say I’ve never heard of an area that parallels the way I was raised and support I continually receive.”
“This scholarship contributes to my ability to spend this summer in a parish instead of working for necessary funds to cover the expenses of a seminarian. In a literal way, you are investing in the future of the church.”
“I continue to be humbled by the material and spiritual support I receive on a regular basis.”
“It is a great consolation to know the Lord has planted us near streams of water amidst all that our world is currently facing. Your steadfastness, faithfulness to Christ, and generosity in supporting us makes everything we do possible.”
“Thank you deeply for the support you have shown to me and my brother seminarians. It is a significant help and great encouragement to know so many people are invested in the work we are doing here.”
“I am deeply moved and humbled by your support of my vocation. May the Lord reward you a hundredfold for your generosity in supporting those being formed to be laborers in the harvest.”
Melvin Stucke 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 937-423-5991.