Overview of Saint John Paul II Scholarships

The Saint John Paul II Scholarship Fund of The Papal Foundation is a student support program that provides scholarships for priests, seminarians, religious and laity from developing nations where such resources are limited. Scholarship candidates are proposed by their local Ordinary or Major Superior to their Apostolic Nuncio for study at a Pontifical University in Rome.

All applications are then reviewed by the Holy See, which in turn presents applicants’ names and academic needs to The Papal Foundation. The Foundation makes the final selection, awarding a maximum scholarship of €8,000 per student per academic year for tuition and room and board only.

These scholarships allow recipients to study in Rome and then return to their Dioceses, equipped to communicate the teaching of the Church’s Magisterium.

The Dream

In 1998, Saint John Paul II was asked how he would use a $5 million gift that would come with no requirements attached. The Holy Father answered quickly and clearly:

Establish a fund that would give scholarships to seminarians, priests, religious sisters and laity from disadvantaged countries. The scholarships would allow them to study in Rome, then return to their dioceses equipped to teach the authentic magisterium of the Church.

The idea may have come from a chapter right out of Saint John Paul’s own life. After he was ordained in 1946, shortly before the Communists took control of his Polish homeland, he was sent to Rome as a student priest. There he obtained an advanced degree at the Angelicum. Imagine how our Catholic story would have changed if he had not been given this opportunity!

A Faith-Filled Response

John and Carol Saeman of Denver, CO, knew they had been called to action. These two Stewards of Saint Peter stepped forward with their gift. The Papal Foundation provided matching funds, and the John Paul II Scholarship Fund became part of the Foundation’s legacy of service.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the program has provided more than $12 million in scholarships to over 1500 individuals, known as Saeman Scholars, to advance their education. They return to teach in their own countries and secure the future of the Church around the world.


For more information on scholarships, please contact [email protected].