The Catholic Foundation awards $195,000 in grants across the diocese

Categories: Around the Diocese

July 19, 2013, edition
By Kristi Anderson


Treah Huber (center) and her peers sing along to a song after having a snack Monday at St. Marcus Parish in Clear Lake. The parish received one of this year’s grants from The Catholic Foundation to expand its faith formation program to preschoolers.
Paul Middlestaedt, For The Visitor

Parishes and Catholic schools across the diocese are purchasing everything from Bibles to iPads to enhance their learning programs due, in large part, to grants distributed by The Catholic Foundation.

The foundation, whose assets now reach over $18 million, supports the work of Christ carried out in parishes, schools and other Catholic organizations and is a tool to help Catholics reach their charitable giving goals.

The Catholic Foundation is a separate 501c3 corporation distinct from the St. Cloud Diocese; it was created to house the Living the Promise campaign funds.

This year, $195,000 was distributed to 96 parishes and 29 Catholic schools through the grants process. A percentage of the funds was distributed to Catholic schools on a per capita basis through a direct distribution program. The remaining funds were awarded to parish faith formation programs and schools that applied for grants for specific items including technology, curriculum, resources and materials.

St. Lawrence, Rush Lake

One such parish is St. Lawrence in Rush Lake, which plans to use their grant funds to purchase materials to engage parishioners in the Year of Faith.

Patricia Doll, coordinator of faith formation at St. Lawrence said, ““Receiving grant funds will allow the faith education program to enhance its services through the acquisition of multimedia and interactive teaching materials.

“The grants assist our parish to provide a quality faith formation program for the children and youth, along with the adults, as they turn their learned faith into a lived faith,” she noted.

The parish will purchase CD and DVD players and new DVDs to update the parish library as well as resources for people to explore the teachings of the Catholic faith.

St. Marcus, Clear Lake

For St. Marcus, the additional grant funds have allowed them to enhance their faith formation program with books, programming and technology that would not otherwise have been afforded. This year, they are developing a program for preschoolers.

“This program has allowed us to engage our youth in ways other than ‘traditional’ teaching methods,” said Melissa Fox, faith formation director. “It has helped make our programs creative, engaging and effective.”

“The project will allow us to bring these young children into the life of the parish and get them involved in parish life at an earlier age,” she added. “It will introduce them to the love of Jesus and allow them to meet new friends within their parish community instead of waiting until first grade where faith formation normally begins. We will learn through books and curriculum but also through music and service.”

Mary of the Visitation, Becker/Big Lake

For the parishioners of Mary of the Visitation, Becker/Big Lake, grant funds will be used to help learn about Catholic social teaching for their all ages program, Journey of Faith.

“Catholic social teaching is a great tradition of our faith which provides us inspiration and guidance to live as disciples of Christ in our world today,” said Amber Christie, faith formation director.

“Journey of Faith, our faith formation program at Mary of the Visitation, is designed for everyone,” she added. “All adults — single, married, parents, empty-nesters, college students, retirees — are invited to come to our adult sessions once a month. We utilize discussion, hands-on learning, prayer, presentation and multimedia as we reflect on our faith together. While adults are gathered, children and youth meet in grade level classes to learn about a similar topic.

“The Catholic Foundation grant has been very valuable in helping us provide quality programming,” she continued. “We appreciate the opportunity to go beyond our often limited parish faith formation budget in purchasing resources and equipment that enhance the learning experiences we offer.”

Growing hope together

Since its inception, the foundation has distributed nearly $1.5 million in grants diocesan-wide.

“On behalf of The Catholic Foundation’s generous donors,” said Curt Hanson, newly appointed executive director of the foundation, “we are delighted to provide these much-needed grants in support of our schools and parishes.”

The Catholic Foundation also houses funds that benefit vocations, seminarian education, clerical aid, scholarship funds and other Catholic organizations across the diocese. To learn more, call 320-258-0390.