CARF Foundation: More than 30 years investing in the formation of priests

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Many bishops would like to send priests, religious or lay people from their dioceses to study in Rome, where the estimated cost of accomodation and studies for a year is around $19,000. Paying this fee is a great challenge for places with few resources.

The CARF Foundation collects donations to solve this problem in areas on the peripheries.

CEO, CARF Foundation
In tune with what Pope Francis says, all the people who come, who we help, who we give scholarships to, are people from the second and third world. They make a commitment with their bishop, with their religious superior, to return and, like us, they all return.

This is not a minor issue. In the Synod for the Pan-Amazon region, Pope Francis regretted that many priests from that region stayed in first world countries instead of returning to their countries where, in some regions, there is a severe shortage of priests.

It is true that sometimes—and this happened to me when I was a bishop in another diocese—someone comes to you, who you sent to study, and fell in love with the place. They stayed there with all that the first world offers and did not want to return to the diocese. And of course, in order to save his vocation, he gives in. But at that point, be very careful and do not promote it.

In fact, the CEO of the CARF Foundation acknowledges that it is not easy. In countries wounded by the scourge of war, returning home can be difficult for some priests. However, the idea of this project is to invest in people who can return to their dioceses to help in the best way possible.

In fact, some alumni have been involved in organizing papal trips or helping with translation. 130 have been appointed bishops.

CEO, CARF Foundation
In the last academic year, in the last few years, approximately, a little more than 200 people have finished their theology degree, their license, their doctorate. Not many international agencies return people to the second and third world in this volume, year after year and well trained.

The CEO highlights the courage of many of the vocations from the periphery who come to study in Rome. He recalls how among some former students, there are also some whose lives ended in martyrdom.

CEO, CARF Foundation
A few years ago, until the end of ISIS in Iraq, a priest who received his doctorate here in Rome returned and was machine-gunned to death while celebrating Mass with his altar boys. Two or three years ago, I do not remember, another priest from Nigeria finished his doctorate and before saying Mass, Boko Haram killed him two months after his arrival. They cut him into little pieces.

The CARF Foundation was founded in 1989 and throughout its more than 30-year history, it has provided scholarships to some 40,000 students from 131 countries.


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