The goal of the Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations is to build up the Church by enabling men and women to embark on living their vocations sooner rather than later. That is, they can begin their life of prayer, apostolic work, and mortification for the glory of God. Such a life is likely to be possible only within a institute that is faithful to the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church.
Accordingly, the MEFV accepts applications for grants only from individuals entering institutes that have been approved for participation in the MEFV grant programs.
To be approved:
- An institute must be able and willing to communicate with the Fund for Vocations in English. That is, all requests for information and contracts sent by the Fund to the institute will be in English and all official replies and notices to the Fund from the institute must be in English.
- An institute must be in union with the See of Peter. This includes all Roman Catholic religious institutes and those of the Byzantine rite, the Melkite rite, etc.
- An institute must be willing to be a party to the grant agreement, acknowledging that the MEFV’s promise to pay the grant recipient’s debt as stipulated by the agreement is equivalent to the grant recipient being debt-free. The agreement also includes reporting requirements for the institute.
- A institute must be either an Institute of Consecrated Life that is a Religious Institute or a Society of Apostolic Life. We do not provide grants to individuals entering the consecrated life of Secular Institutes such as Opus Dei or Regnum Christi. Nor do we approve Religious Institutes which are associated with Secular Institutes. Public Associations of Lay Faithful working to become either a Religious Institute or a Society of Apostolic Life are eligible. Private Associations of Lay Faithful are not eligible.
- An institute must have a policy that individuals responsible for any kind of debt may not enter the novitiate, in accordance with canon law. This does not disqualify institutes that agree to pay an aspirant’s debt, but the understanding must be that the debt is no longer the responsibility of the professed individual.
Please Note: At the MEFV’s current level of funding, any individual who has his debts assumed by his institute is not likely to receive a grant from the MEFV. This is because we assume the institute is acting in good faith. That is, the debt was assumed because the institute could afford to do so. Therefore, the MEFV will apply its limited assets elsewhere.
We use one of two methods to help us determine whether a given institute exhibits fidelity to the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church:
- An institute can be approved without further review (provided it agrees to the terms of the MEFV’s grant agreements) if it is either an affiliate of the Institute on Religious Life (IRL) or a member of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR).
- If method one does not apply, the suitability of the institute for participation in the MEFV’s grant programs will be determined by the MEFV’s Institute Review Board (IRB). Decisions of the IRB are final.
Terminology that relates to forms of consecrated life can be very confusing. In general usage, terms are often misapplied. Your vocation director is the best source for identifying the form of consecrated life to which your intended community belongs.