Please contact the Catholic United Financial Foundation to contribute:
Donations can be made over the phone at:
Send your donation by check to:
Schuler Seminarian Fund 3499 Lexington Ave N St. Paul, MN 55126
Monsignor Richard J. Schuler was a true shepherd, who not only attended to the needs of his flock but led them year after year to find their own spiritual pastures. Msgr. Schuler is remembered for his deep love of music. From the conductor’s dais at St. Agnes Church in St. Paul, MN, he led the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale in the High Masses of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.
An even more lasting legacy is Msgr. Schuler’s impact on the church through vocations. Msgr. Schuler had a special gift to light the candle to a calling. Anecdotally, he is said to have brought more men to the priesthood than anyone else in the Archdiocese, and was responsible for influencing at least 40 vocations. It was in honor of this man, who was Spiritual Director of Catholic United Financial from the late 1970s until his death in 1998, that the Schuler Charitable Fund was established 20 years ago. It is currently administered by the Catholic United Financial Foundation.
To this day, more than $500,000 in grants have been awarded to seminarians. Msgr. Schuler understood better than most the financial pressure attending seminary can put on students, so from time to time he would help out with something little.
“I still have my original set of breveries that were purchased with funds he gave me,” said Fr. Michael Creagan, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in West St. Paul, MN and Minnesota Army National Guard Battalion Chaplain. “I had him sign a note in the inside cover as a memory.” To carry on that spirit of financial support, the Schuler Charitable Fund awards grants to seminarians for them to apply to their daily lives. Medical co-pays, clothing, books, or even a night at the movies with classmates.
Seminarians have human needs like anyone else, but no ability to work and earn money during their studies. Seminarians receive up to $500, and may apply for the grant every year they are in seminary. Since 2014, the Catholic United Financial Foundation has been engaged in a campaign to bring the endowment fund to a healthy $1,000,000 mark. This amount will guarantee that the Fund can continue to provide grants to seminarians in perpetuity. The campaign will conclude in the next 24 months after the fundraising goal is met.
Twenty years ago, the Schuler Charitable Fund was just an idea to honor a man who led many priests to the cloth. Now, the Fund in his name is making a real difference in the discernment of young men who will lead our local Catholic Churches for decades to come.
Fr. Michael Creagan, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in West St. Paul, MN and Minnesota Army National Guard Battalion Chaplain: “I first met Msgr. Schuler in 1989 as a freshman at the College of St. Thomas…The thought of priesthood had not entered my mind. A group of ten college students met each Tuesday night to join Msgr. Schuler for sung night prayer, I can still remember how exciting it was to enter St. Agnes and hear the choir practicing…[After Latin compline chant ended we would] spend the next one and a half hours visiting with Monsignor, asking him questions and hearing his stories….He had an unbelievable amount of energy and joy. On those Tuesday nights, praying night prayer and enjoying great conversation, the Lord began to open my heart to the call of priesthood.
“My discernment to enter the seminary started during my sophomore year. I found in Msgr. Schuler not only a great example of priesthood, but also a man who was willing to answer my questions and walk with me along the way. A vocation comes from God alone, yet He often sends us special people to accompany and encourage us along the way….I have often thought that if I had not met Msgr. Schuler, I may not have found the call God intended for me. I will forever be grateful for his kindness, joy and support as I sought to follow the Lord.”
Rev. Mark Moriarty, pastor and Superintendent of St. Agnes Church and School, St. Paul, MN: “Msgr. Schuler played an important part of my vocational discernment as the pastor of my parish, and as someone I turned to for advice…All throughout seminary formation, he made it a point to invite me and other seminarians to participate in the liturgies at St. Agnes…When I was installed as an acolyte, he invited me to join him on communion calls for the sick and homebound. To this day I perform communion rites in the same manner that he did — no secular radio in the car while carrying our Lord, pray the rosary between visits, always make sure the visit includes social time….Monsignor understood that as full-time seminarians, we could not have side jobs and lacked an income. He often arranged modest yearly gifts for me and the other seminarians.”
Fr. John Echert, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in South St. Paul, MN and U.S. Air Force Chaplain: “My gratitude to Msgr. Schuler for his mentorship to me as a seminarian and young priest, and my personal awareness of the financial stress that seminary formation places on seminarians….The beauty of the Msgr. Schuler endowment grant is that these go directly to the seminarians for their genuine needs, who have lasting gratitude to their benefactors and who will serve the Church for the rest of their lives as dedicated priests.”
Vinh-Thinh (Tim) Tran
Francis Reineke, FMI
Francis Reineke, FMI