Saeman Scholars from 42 countries will study in Rome as part of the Saint John Paul II Scholarship Program

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Papal Foundation, the only charitable organization in the United States exclusively dedicated to fulfilling the requests of the Holy Father for the needs of the Catholic Church, has awarded $800,000 in scholarships to 110 Priests, Brothers, Sisters, and Lay faithful from 42 countries, providing them the opportunity to study at 14 Pontifical Universities in Rome as part of the Saint John Paul II Scholarship Program. 

Since its founding, the program has provided nearly $14 million in scholarships to more than 1700 individuals, known as Saeman Scholars, to advance their education and prepare them to return home and serve in leadership positions in their own countries.

“We are inspired by, and committed to, Saint John Paul II’s vision to prepare Catholic leaders and educators for service,” said Eustace Mita, President of The Papal Foundation Board of Trustees. “These scholarships help train those called to lead in developing nations, where resources for ongoing leadership formation are limited.”

In 1998, then Pope John Paul II was asked what he would do with an unrestricted, $5 million gift. Without hesitating, he said he would provide scholarships for tuition, room, and board to priests, religious sisters, and laity from disadvantaged countries, allowing them to study in Rome and then return to their dioceses to teach the authentic magisterium of the Church. The program launched in 2000 thanks to the wonderful generosity of John and Carol Saeman of Denver, CO, who made the initial $5 million gift that was matched by The Papal Foundation.

“This scholarship is a miracle for myself and the people of my area,” said Justin Musona, a diocesan priest from the Catholic Diocese of Mutare in Zimbabwe. “I embrace learning, and the scholarship has given me a deeper level of understanding and education in our Faith.  I want to assure you that I will put my learnings to good use in the pastoral field.” “Saint John Paul II knew we needed a way to provide educational opportunities in Rome for individuals from disadvantaged countries, so they could return to their dioceses equipped to help secure the future of the Church around the world,” added Dave Savage, Executive Director of The Papal Foundation. “He himself was sent to Rome as a student priest, an experience that helped shape his life of servant leadership. Forming leaders in the Catholic Church is a blessing, and we and we are incredibly grateful to John and Carol Saeman, who made this work possible.