The Saint Patrick Fund exists to provide financial support to the Catholic school students in the Diocese of Harrisburg who might not otherwise be able to afford Catholic education. Your support will enable these school students to attend Catholic schools, receive an outstanding education, and strengthen their love for Christ and His Gospel.


The vision of the Saint Patrick Fund is to create a major positive impact on the future of the Catholic Faith in the Diocese of Harrisburg. We accomplish this by lowering or altogether eliminating the barrier of entry for Catholic schools.

If we are to see a resurgence in Mass attendance and participation in the Sacraments – and ultimately a renewal of Catholic values and culture within our Diocese – we must first create a resurgence in Catholic school enrollment.

Before the 1960s and 1970s, most of our Diocesan schools operated debt-free, charged no annual tuition fees, and were operating well above full capacity.

Then came the 1970s and the skyrocketing of tuition for Catholic schools.

Today, Catholic school tuition at Diocesan schools can be as much as $8,000 to $10,000 per year. For many of our families, this cost is the major obstacle to giving their children the Catholic education they deserve.

We believe if we can return Catholic education in our Diocese to a more affordable level for all Catholic families, enrollment in Catholic schools will increase. As more and more children are formed in authentically Catholic values, we will then experience a renewal of the Catholic family and an increase in religious vocations.


David Abel, the founder of the Saint Patrick Fund, wants to share the mission of Stewardship: A Mission of Faith – to feed Jesus’ lambs and sheep without letting money stand in the way. He had a vision of bringing that mission closer to home.

Thus, a new non-profit, the Saint Patrick Fund, was born. By focusing on “feeding the lambs” in our diocesan schools, we believe that we can bring about a renewal by helping students deepen their Catholic faith.

In time, we want to share what works in our Catholic schools with other nearby dioceses that have an interest in the renewal of Catholic culture, and to eventually make our best practices available to interested dioceses throughout the U.S.

Our Catholic High Schools

Initially, we are focusing on our 7 Catholic high schools for two reasons:

1) Making Catholic high schools more affordable will strengthen enrollment, allowing the high schools to expand the scope of their program offerings in academics, arts, athletics, and other activities. Our Catholic high schools will become more attractive to more families – including those who can afford the tuition.

2) Making the high schools more attractive to students and parents will help establish – or re-establish – family traditions of attendance, as well as strengthen the partnerships between local Catholic grade schools and the Catholic high school in their deanery.

The faster the Saint Patrick Fund grows, the sooner we can expand the scholarship distributions to grade schools, and reduce the financial burden for parents.

How we serve Families

Parents are not required to fill out an application for the Saint Patrick Fund. Once their initial need has been assessed through their FACTS application, families will be automatically considered for Saint Patrick Fund scholarships. Here’s how it works:

All families in need begin by applying for assistance through FACTS and SIMPLE TUITION SOLUTIONS systems – financial needs assessment tools used by our Diocesan Catholic schools to help each school decide how best to allocate their very limited scholarship funds for the coming school year.

Once available funds are exhausted at the school level, the Saint Patrick Fund will ask each school to reassess the needs of their most needy families so that we can determine how to overcome any obstacles to enrollment or re-enrollment for the next school year.

Catholic schools may submit a list of students and requested scholarship amounts to the Saint Patrick Fund to help close the gap between the scholarship money they have available and the scholarship money they need to ensure all families who desire a Catholic education for their children are able to enroll them.

If assessed needs exceed the total amount of funds available to distribute, student scholarship awards are reduced proportionately across the board.

If available scholarship funds exceed total assessed needs of the schools, a reserve will be established for late enrollments and financial hardship cases that could arise during the school year.

“Education is a lifelong process that can actualize the full human and spiritual potential of all people, calling them to discover, internalize, proclaim, and live the Gospel message and to grow in faith.”

- Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg

How You Can Support Catholic Education in the Diocese of Harrisburg

Your support of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Harrisburg is truly an investment in the future of
Catholic culture in our diocesan territory.