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Ways to support Catholic education

Written by Mary Boyle
In his book “Finding My Way Home,” Henri Nouwen says, “You are sent into this world to believe in yourself as God’s chosen one and then to help your brother and sisters know that they also are beloved sons and daughters of God.”

The sentiment in those words must surely have been emblazoned in the hearts of Edward Roger Welsh and Bishop George Guilfoyle when they set up scholarship trusts so that young people in the Diocese of Camden would “know that they are beloved sons and daughters of God” through the gift of a Catholic School education.

Mr. Welsh and Bishop Guilfoyle are two of several individuals whose wills named the Diocese of Camden as beneficiaries to support Catholic school education. Collectively, 10 bequests generated over $200,000 for scholarships in the 2016-17 school year, primarily through income earned on these accounts.

As leader of the Diocese of Camden, Bishop Guilfoyle established the Tuition Assistance Fund in 1980. But his love of Catholic schools was more than pastoral. Upon his death in 1991, as a son and a proud Catholic school graduate, he bequeathed his inheritance with the establishment of the James and Johanna Guilfoyle Trust, a testament to his parents’ generosity and values. The Guilfoyle Trust is expressly for Catholic students in diocesan high schools.

Bishop George H. Guilfoyle with Catholic school children.

Mr. Welsh, a single man, lived a simple life with no outward sign of wealth. In conversations with his lawyer, he reflected on the importance of his own Catholic school education and decided to establish a trust specifically for needy students in Camden County. The fund has been supporting Catholic school students since the 1998-99 school year.

Our vision for South Jersey Catholic Schools is for students to become faith-filled adults who, guided by gospel values, shape our world with knowledge, integrity and compassion. It is a vision of hope for our children and our communities.

If you share that vision or value your own Catholic school education as Mr. Welsh did, I invite you to make South Jersey Catholic Schools a beneficiary of your estate or another planned gift. It is a gift that may cost you nothing today, but can bring a lifetime of support to families seeking a Catholic school education.

There are many ways to set up and administer a planned gift. For example, the planned gift can specify where funds will be held, how much will be paid out each year, and the criteria used to determine eligible recipients. To learn more, you may contact Jim Lanahan in the Office of Development at 856-583-6134.

Henri Nouwen’s words resonate with me because I have the great privilege of serving God’s beloved sons and daughters each day. I am filled with gratitude for the individuals whose generosity make Catholic school possible for many of them.

Mary Boyle is superintendent of schools, Diocese of Camden.