On GivingTuesday, Nov. 29, the Frank and Vera Ferola Charitable Foundation will match donations to the Lumen Christi Scholarship Appeal up to $25,000. Click here to donate: www.diocesepb.org/lumen-christi/lumen-christi-scholarship.html.
PALM BEACH GARDENS | Thanks to the generosity of those who give to the Lumen Christi Scholarship Appeal, many parents are able to provide a quality education for their child at one of the Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the Diocese of Palm Beach.
Through the annual appeal — Lumen Christi means “Light of Christ” — 100 percent of net proceeds reach deserving families in need. The charity campaign was formerly an in-person gala, but was transformed into an appeal when the COVID-19 pandemic prevented large gatherings. The theme of the 2022-23 appeal is “Guided by Christ’s Light.”
“The Catholic schools in the diocese have a commitment and responsibility to teach the whole child in mind, body and spirit, led by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and rich in Catholic values and tradition,” said Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito in his video seeking donations to the appeal. “The schools aim to prepare leaders and Christian stewards to shine the light of Christ throughout their lives and to be beacons of hope for the church of the future.
“I invite you to join us in supporting this appeal as we continue to foster Catholic education through the Lumen Christi scholarships,” he said. “I ask that you prayerfully consider a gift that enables our students to attend one of our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Palm Beach.”
The scholarship money is equally distributed to the schools each year based upon the amount raised the prior year. The proceeds are given to the schools, which then determine recipients at each location.
At John Carroll High School in Fort Pierce, 78 percent of school families receive some form of tuition assistance, said Principal Corey Heroux. “Whether that’s a state scholarship or tuition assistance directly from John Carroll or something like Lumen Christi,” families in need receive aid.
The diocese estimated, for budgeting purposes, that just over $30,000 per school would be available this year from Lumen Christi. Heroux said 20 John Carroll students are benefiting this year from those funds.
“We do give a lot of tuition assistance as a school,” she said, “but this allows us to be increasingly generous and to possibly give to students who we may not have had the funds to help before.”
Heroux said family hardship is assessed when they apply through the Grant & Aid program of FACTS, the company through which they pay school tuition. “We also use that to look holistically at a student’s life and some of their family needs, and then award financial aid from there,” she said. “Really for us, Lumen Christi is a critical extra set of funds to use. It allows us to increase our generosity and how many students we’re able to help.”
Money from Lumen Christi is often used to plug the gap between state tuition aid and other programs, Heroux said.
“To be able to apply $1,500 from Lumen Christi to help them afford a Catholic education, it’s just a tremendous gift,” she said. “These students are from all different backgrounds, and they participate in the school in so many different ways, different clubs and organizations and sports.”
Having Lumen Christi and other sources of scholarship money is a great benefit to her school, Heroux said, and helps retain students who are weathering a major life change, such as mom or dad losing their job. Having options available to financially assist families through those storms is an enormous advantage, she said.
Heroux is very thankful of those people who support the Lumen Christi Scholarship Appeal.
“We have 20 families who are directly helped to obtain a Catholic education for their child,” she said. “I think that’s just invaluable and we’re just really grateful to the diocese for leading this charge and so generously allocating these funds to the schools.”
To view the bishop’s video and learn about how to contribute to Lumen Christi, visit www.diocesepb.org/lumen-christi/lumen-christi-scholarship.html. For more information about Catholic schools in the diocese, go to www.diocesepbschools.org/.