Overview

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 and maintenance, travel during vacations, emergency expenditures and other living expenses. Knights provide more than financial support, though. Members write letters to students, sponsor dinners for them, invite them to join the Order and, most importantly, pray for vocations.

Last year, financial help from 2,942 councils, assemblies and circles to seminarians totaled almost $3.7 million. Since 1981 the Order has provided more than $67 million in aid through RSVP, helping more than 110,478 men and women follow their vocations.

Qualifying councils and assemblies receive a $100 refund for every $500 donated, up to a limit of $2,000 donated to an individual, while the refund for Squires is $20 for every $100 donated. In the Philippines and Mexico, councils and assemblies receive the equivalent in local currency of $50 for every $250 donated.

Other Vocations-Related Projects

Other vocations-related projects include:

  • Support for the missions of the national colleges for priestly training in Rome: the North American College, the Pontifical Canadian College and the Pontifical Mexican College.
  • Support for the American College in Louvain, Belgium.
  • Publication of the Keep the Faith Alive series of full-page color advertisements on the back cover of each issue of Columbia magazine. Each month features pictures and a vocation narrative of a person who has chosen to answer God's call to the priesthood or religious life.
  • Funding to the Bishops' Conference of Cuba for a seminary there.
  • Assistance for the construction of a house of discernment for women religious in Brazil.
  • Financial help with renovations for the Polish Pontifical Institute in Rome, and for new construction of a seminary in Tlalpan, Mexico.
  • Financial support for an international meeting of priests convened in Rome by the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy.
  • Contribution to the U.S.-based Institute for Priestly Formation and Institute on Religious Life.

 

Guidelines

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.

Those eligible for assistance include foreign seminarians studying in the United States or Canada; U.S. or Canadian seminarians studying overseas; seminarians from your home diocese currently attending a seminary in another diocese, state or country; and seminarians from other states or dioceses attending a seminary located in your jurisdiction.

Persons ineligible for RSVP funds are the following:

Priests or religious seeking assistance for continuing education.

Religious brothers not currently studying for the priesthood; and

Candidates for the permanent diaconate.

Councils, assemblies and circles are encouraged to assist in other ways worthy individuals who do not qualify for RSVP assistance, but such aid should not come from funds intended for RSVP. There are different rules for the RSVP program in the United States and Canada than those in the Philippines. The rules for the other jurisdictions have yet to be defined.


Action Steps

Action Steps

  • Review RSVP guidelines and eligibility requirements.
  • Locate a candidate to support. If you need help, contact your pastor or diocesan vocations director.
  • 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.
  • When presenting money to an RSVP candidate, notify the diocesan vocations director.
  • Take photos and send them to your local and diocesan newspapers, and Columbia magazine. Be sure caption information is complete and each individual’s name is spelled correctly.
  • RSVP assistance also involves prayer and moral support.  Make at least one personal visit to each seminarian, 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 all 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 – to be eligible for refund, monies must be given directly to an individual (not a an institution of fund)); money given to an individual must be vocations related and donated between July – June 30 of the respective fraternal year; paid with a check drawn from the council-assembly account; and 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 this refund.
  • Request an RSVP Award Plaque. To qualify for an RSVP plaque, the council, assembly, or circle must provide financial assistance, as well as moral support throughout the fraternal year. Refer to the RSVP Refund Application (#2863) for exact details and procedures for requesting this plaque.


Support Materials

In addition to supporting seminarians and postulants through the Order’s RSVP Program, councils, assemblies and circles are encouraged to conduct programs and activities that promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

The following vocations materials are available from the Supreme Council.

To order audiovisual productions, please contact the Supreme Council Department of Fraternal Services or order online.

To order the printed pamphlets, brochures and certificates, please contact the Supreme Council Supply Department.

Audiovisual

Title

Number

Everyone Has a Vocation to Love. What's Yours? - DVD 50046

 

Print Materials

Title

Number

Vocations Prayer Card 1874
Vocations Handbook 1942
Vocations Poster (11 by 17 inches) 2959
Parish Priest: Father McGivney and American Catholicism
(hard cover $20.00; soft cover $12.00)
40095
A Model for Our Times: The Heroic Virtue of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney 5044

 

Other Vocations Supplies

Item

Number

Price

In Solidarity with Our Priest Buttons (package of 50) SWP-1 $8.50

 

Booklets

To order the following booklets, please contact the Supreme Council Catholic Information Service.

Luke E. Hart Series

Number

Introduction to the Sacraments 112
Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick 117

 

When ordering materials, please use the online request form when available; or mail or fax a Requisition Form (#1) to the respective department.

Orders made online or faxed in should not be mailed because it may result in duplicate order. Please allow four weeks to ensure delivery by the event.