Through the Knights of Columbus Refund Support Vocations Program (RSVP), councils, assemblies and Squires circles “adopt” one or more seminarians or postulants and provide them with financial assistance and moral support. RSVP money is used by seminarians and those in religious formation for Tuition and books, Car Insurance, Travel Expenses, Emergency expenditures and other living expenses. Supreme will reimburse you $100.00 per $500.00 contributed.
In addition, Knights write letters to students, Sponsor dinners for them, invite them to join the Order and most importantly, pray for vocations.
The following persons are eligible to receive RSVP funds:
- Seminarians attending college seminaries (sometimes called minor seminaries).
- Seminarians who have been accepted by a diocese and are currently in their “spirituality” year.
- Seminarians attending major seminaries (normally four years) in preparation for priestly ordination. Seminarians in their “pastoral’ year (most often when they are deacons).
- Seminarians who belong to a religious institute and are currently in formation for the priesthood (religious seminarians often are called “Brother” even though they will eventually be ordained as priests).
- Men and women who are novices or postulants in religious orders or religious communities.
- Foreign seminarians studying in the United States.
- Canadian seminarians studying overseas.
- Seminarians from your home diocese currently attending seminaries in another diocese, state, or country.
- Seminarians from other states or dioceses attending a seminary located in your jurisdiction.
The following persons are ineligible for RSVP funds:
- Priests or religious seeking assistance for continuing education.
- Religious brothers not currently studying for the priesthood.
- Candidates for the permanent diaconate.
RSVP Action Steps
- Locate a candidate to support.
- After a candidate’s name and address is secured, prepare and send a letter of introduction from your council, assembly or circle.
- Define how money is to be raised.
- Define how the relationship will be managed.
- Define how money will be exchanged or presented.
- Make your check payable directly to the recipient, not a parish, diocese or seminary. Funds made out to these entities do not qualify for RSVP reimbursement.
- When presenting money to an RSVP candidate, notify the diocesan vocations director. In some dioceses, they may want you to send the check to them for recording and distribution to the seminarian.
- Take photos and send them to your local and diocesan newspapers, and Columbia magazine. Be sure caption information is complete and accurate.
RSVP assistance also involves prayer and moral support
- Make at least one personal visit to and send four letters – i.e.: birthday, Christmas, Easter, and welcome back to school greetings – each fraternal year.
- Encourage members and their families to keep seminarian or postulant in their prayers; make personal visits to them; and send communications throughout the year – i.e. birthday, Christmas, Easter greetings.
- Invite seminarian or postulant to council activities and include in mailing of newsletter or other communications.
- Invite seminarians or postulants to make a presentation to the council, parish, and/or parish youth groups on what it means to prepare for priesthood or religious life.
- Arrange for seminarian or postulant to host a group of young people from the council or parish at their seminary to meet other seminarians and get a feeling of preparing for priesthood or religious life.
- Make sure to offer congratulations and support to your seminarian or postulant on their ordination.
Apply for a refund from Supreme Council Office
- Qualifying councils and assemblies receive a $100 refund for every $500 donated, up to a limit of $2,000 donated to an individual
To be eligible for refund, monies must
- Be given directly to an individual (not an institution or fund).
- Money given to an individual must be vocations related and donated between July 1 & June 30 of the respective fraternal year.
- Money must be paid with a check drawn from the council or assembly account.
- Copies of check or other documentation must accompany application for refund.
- Refer to the RSVP Refund Application (#2863) for exact details and procedures for filing for refund.
- Request an RSVP Award Plaque.
- To qualify for an RSVP plaque, you must provide financial assistance
- As well as moral support throughout the fraternal year.
RSVP MATCHING FUNDS PROGRAM
The goal of this program is to assist council’s that have been unable to participate in RSVP by reaching the minimum requirement of $500, and to assist council’s that are already participating in the program to sponsor CALIFORNIA STATE COUNCIL PROGRAM HANDBOOK additional seminarian’s, postulant, or novice, by directly appealing to parishioners and local catholic businesses.
1) Get your Pastor’s approval before you begin
2) Announce in your parish bulletin that your council will be sponsoring a seminarian’s, postulant, or novice and that your council will match the donation. Example: The Knights of Columbus (council name & number) will match any donation up to $250 to financially assist 1 or more Seminarians. Donations will be used for books, car insurance, travel and living expenses.
3) Arrange to have this announcement or similar read at all the weekend Masses.
4) Have council members distribute flyers with a short bio of the seminarian you wish to sponsor, and attach a prayer card for vocations.
5) Send out a Post Card to local Catholic businesses with your intentions. To locate a Catholic business, begin by looking at the ads on the back of your Parish Bulletin.
6) Have the seminarian you wish to sponsor assist at the weekend masses, and have them thank parishioners for all their spiritual support.
7) Hold a second collection the weekend after bulletin and pulpit announcement.
8) Use your Council’s Newsletter or website if you have one to collect donations with a personal bio of the seminarian you wish to sponsor
9) Send out personal thank you cards and prayer cards to all the parishioners and businesses who participated.
Rod M. Olguin, Chairman