The Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations has structured its grant programs to be neutral to the discernment process.
The first way we do this, is to require that a grant applicant have a letter of acceptance from an approved institute before he can submit an application for a grant. This serves to focus the candidate’s attention on discernment of his vocation with the aid of the institute’s vocation director, rather than on the issue of his debt.
Once a grant is approved, the manner in which grant payments are made furthers the goal of discernment neutrality. Grant payouts are made according to the normal monthly payment schedule of the loans to the financial institutions that hold the grant recipient’s loans (see below).
By making payments over time, rather than a lump-sum payout, we avoid two possibilities for influence on the discernment process:
- That a grant recipient will feel indebted to the MEFV and remain in the order even when discernment is indicating that his vocation lies elsewhere.
- That anyone would be influenced to see entry to religious life as a quick way to eliminate a burdensome debt.
Student loans covered by a grant remain in the name of the grant recipient. The Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations makes a legally enforceable commitment to make the payments, but we do not become financially responsible for the loan from the perspective of the institution that issued the loan.
- Upon entry of the grant recipient to his religious institute, we will begin to make the normal payments for his loans. Alternately, if his formation permits the use of a deferral, we may defer payments for one or more years.
- Upon final vows, we will accelerate payment of a grant recipient’s loans so that the loans will be fully paid off on the 5th anniversary of his final vows.
If at any time the grant recipient leaves his religious institute, we will cease to make loan payments. At that point, the now ex-grant recipient becomes responsible for all future loan payments. There is, however, no obligation repay us for any loan payments we have made to date.