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Stories of Giving

Supporting Educational and Pastoral Ministries in Our Westernmost Counties
The Bishop P. Francis Murphy Educational Endowment for Western Maryland

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Allegany and Garrett counties, the two westernmost counties in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, have a long history, dating back to the many German and Irish Catholics who settled in Cumberland in the early 1800s. The Bishop P. Francis Murphy Educational Endowment for Western Maryland was established by former Auxiliary Bishop Frank Murphy almost 15 years ago when he left approximately $1 million to assist Catholics in the two counties.

The fund was established primarily to support education at the schools, religious education at the parishes, and emergency needs in the parishes. John H. Balch, President of the Catholic Community Foundation, also serves as Chairman of this Endowment. "We have developed a committee that represents the parishes in Garrett and Allegany counties. Now that the fund has grown to almost $2 million, we meet twice a year to discuss its use. At a 5% return, we have almost $100,000 dollars to distribute annually. Most of that money goes toward scholarships for our one remaining Catholic school, Bishop Walsh School in Cumberland," he said.

Dr. Barbara Edmondson, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Baltimore added, "Having the option of a Catholic School education is crucial for all of our students and their families, and those in Western Maryland are no exception. The Bishop P. Francis Murphy Educational Endowment makes it possible for many of our families in the region to enroll their children in Bishop Walsh where they will receive an academically excellent Christ-centered education on par with those that are available to children and their families in other parts of our Archdiocese."

The Bishop P. Francis Murphy Fund has also helped support parishes when they have religious education needs, such as books or educational videos for faith formation. Recently, through a request from Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, Auxiliary Bishop, the Fund supported the creation of a computer lab for seniors at the Catholic Center in St. Patrick's Parish.

Mr. Balch added, "Western Maryland is a special place that is often overlooked by the rest of the state. The Bishop P. Francis Murphy Fund helps us keep pace and sustain the mission of the Archdiocese for the wonderful people who live in these two beautiful counties."

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