The Texas Women’s Project for 2016 - 2017
The Knights of Columbus established a scholarship program to help fund the education of seminarians preparing to become Catholic chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces. The need is critical and our support is crucial to provide a remedy. Please watch this video to better understand the scope of the need and the importance of our collective support.
First Lady Jo-Dee Benson has called for support of this program. “As the wife and mother and sister of US Air Force veterans; and as the daughter and grand-daughter of US Army veterans, I ask each of you to make a donation to this worthy program. The men and women who serve us daily deserve our gratitude and support. Will you please join us ensure their spiritual health? ”
Home to the highest number of military bases and service members of all 50 states, Texas should remain at the forefront of this effort. Please help us reach our goals with a personal donation of $20 or more. Our military members deserve access to spiritual guidance and support as they serve us all. Fundraising so far has been led by the Fourth Degree, the patriotic degree of the Knights.
The program has already distributed $1.2 million in scholarship funds to the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, but the need remains acute. So the Texas Women’s Project, spearheaded by First Lady Jo-Dee Benson, has taken up the challenge and announced that growing this fund will be a focus for the next two years for the women associated with the Knights of Columbus in Texas. These funds help produce a new generation of much-needed Catholic chaplains to minister to U.S. military personnel and their families.
In this file photo, Father Michael Albano, a chaplain with the U.S. Army, reads from Scripture during a field Mass in Kuwait. Through the Order's new scholarship program for military chaplains, Knights hope to increase the number of priests serving in the armed forces while reducing the financial strain on the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. (CNS photo from Reuters)
The idea for the scholarship first developed during Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson's visit to the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. The supreme knight had the opportunity to think about Catholics in uniform and the hardship they face of having to go weeks — and sometimes months — without being able to attend Mass or receive spiritual guidance from a priest.
"It can be very difficult for Catholic members of the armed forces when they're on forward deployments," Anderson said. "The U.S. military archdiocese, which supplies Catholic chaplains, estimates that it needs 800 priests to fully serve all of the Catholic men and women in uniform today, but they are only able to supply 280 — barely a third of the number needed."
The military chaplain scholarship aims to provide a solution to this problem. According to Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, the scholarship money will be dedicated to the archdiocese's "Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program," which was initiated to recruit priestly vocations for the military for the benefit of the armed forces as well as participating dioceses and religious orders throughout the country. Through this program, the military archdiocese contracts with each participating diocese to fund 50 percent of the cost of a seminarian's five-year education — typically $12,500 per year. In return, the candidate agrees that following ordination and three years of service at a parish, he will commit to serve as a military chaplain under the auspices of the military archdiocese for a minimum of three to five years.
So far, the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program has seen impressive results. Since its inception, the initiative has garnered an increase in co-sponsored seminarians, from seven in 2008 to 30 in 2010.
"These results, while extraordinary, place a large financial burden on the archdiocese, which annually generates only enough funds — 95 percent from donations — to cover its operating costs," said Archbishop Broglio, who joined the Order in 2007 while serving as the apostolic nuncio of the Dominican Republic. "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."
Through this scholarship fund, the Order hopes to ensure the continued development of the Co-Sponsored Seminarian Program. "Thanks to the generosity of the Knights of Columbus, this military chaplain scholarship will help fill this need for years to come," Broglio added. "The Knights of Columbus, over many years, has been most generous in providing much-needed financial support to this archdiocese.... [This] is but the latest instance of the organization's generosity. For that, I am most grateful."
Texas State Council Charities, Inc. is qualified under the United States Internal Revenue Code as a section 501(c)(3) charity with tax ID # (EIN) 74-1756429. Donations to State Council Charities and projects funded through it are tax deductible to the extent allowed by federal law.