Refund Support Vocations Program
The heart of the order’s vocations effort is the RSVP Program.
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. The checks are made out to the seminarian or postulant, not to an institution. The maximum amount that a council can send support to a single seminarian is $2,000 with a maximum refund of $400.
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 3,224 councils, assemblies and circles to future priests, sisters and brothers, exceeded $3.7 million. Since 1981 the Order has provided more than $60 million in aid through RSVP, helping more than 91,600 men and women follow their vocations.
If your council is looking to support a seminarian, please contact Tim Coyle, Vocations Chairman, do not call the diocese or seminary. If you are looking to support a postulant, please research any local candidates, or call me and I will suggest some options.
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.
Complete form 2863 which can be downloaded from the KofC website. List each donation of $500 or more with name, amount and date of check. Attach copies of canceled checks (both front and back sides) or other documentation such as a council bank statement to the application. Include comments describing the Moral Support the council provided to the seminarian or postulant.
Submit original application to Supreme Council, Department of Fraternal Services and a copy to the State Vocations Chairman either by email firstname.lastname@example.org Or mail a copy to Tim Coyle, Vocations Chairman, 10114 N. Fleetwood St., Spokane, WA 99208.
Every Council should be supporting at least one seminarian.
Pennies For Heaven
The council Pennies For Heaven (PFH) assessment comes out during the month of January. As I am sure you know, Pennies For Heaven Fund is a program started years ago to help fund our Seminarian Support. The program was designed around "A Penny A Day, A Prayer A Day for vocations". Each council is encouraged to donate at least $3.65 per member to this fund to help support our Seminarians. Many councils add this to their annual dues, some only suggest a donation. Keep in mind that this is a “donation” and not a bill. But this programs success depends on your donations.
In addition to this annual assessment, councils are encouraged to have a “Pennies For Heaven” barrel that they pass around during or after every council meeting. Some assess penalties for people who use incorrect terms, gestures or attire (hats on/off – forgot name badge, etc.). These funds should be kept and accounted for separately from the Councils Funds. Then each year the council Grand Knight and the council Delegates take their pennies to the State Convention and participate in the Pennies Parade.
Pennies for Heaven goes directly to the three diocese in Washington State to help defray the cost of education for our seminarians. This is different that the RSVP support that goes directly to the seminarian to help in his personal expenses. Last year the Knights of Columbus were able to give $25,000 to each of the three diocese, and an additional $25,000 to Bishop White Seminary to reduce the mortgage.
This program is not complete without the “Prayer A Day.” I have my favorite prayer for vocations on my nightstand and that reminds me to include it when I say my evening prayers. Find your favorite prayer. Give yourself a reminder then make it a routine. Then Pray!
There are many prayers for vocations including:
US Council of Catholic Bishops website:
Blessed Pope John Paul II Prayer for vocations:
Pope Francis Prayer for Vocations:
It really doesn’t matter which prayer you chose, just that you make a commitment to pray every day for our vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
If you can pay, you can pray!