Catholic Community Foundation > Stories Of Giving > THE B. LARRY AND CATHERINE H. JENKINS TRUST FUND

There is something particularly unique and inspiring about a young man choosing the path to the priesthood.

As Deacon Franz Belleza, who is currently a seminarian at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, puts it, “It’s an opportunity for a young man to radically give himself to God through prayer, study, and sacrifice in a way that shapes him for eternity. Wherever I may go I know that the Lord will be by my side.”

Deacon Belleza is grateful for having heard this call and especially grateful for a Catholic Community Foundation endowment that helps make his journey to the priesthood possible. In September of 2022, Deacon Belleza received word that he was awarded a scholarship from The B. Larry and Catherine H. Jenkins Family Trust. In a letter thanking Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins, he said, “My words fall short as I express my heartfelt gratitude for your generosity.”

Deacon Belleza’s journey to the Archdiocese of Baltimore was somewhat circuitous. He grew up in the Philippines and came to Baltimore for the first time in 2010. Two years later, he returned to the Philippines and entered a Religious Community, the Oblate Apostles of the Two Hearts, but longed to return to the U.S.

Unsure of where he belonged, he recounts that while praying one day he came across Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.” At that moment, he knew it was time for him to take the next step.  So, in 2020, he returned to Maryland to enroll in Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. Deacon Belleza’s journey will ultimately culminate in his becoming a priest in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Reverend Steven Roth, Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese, says how very grateful that seminarians are for scholarships like this. He said, “They realize that attending Seminary is an incredible gift.” He also emphasized, “I think the Church is very grateful. We’re ensuring that we have good priests for the future. We realize that our love for the Eucharist is rooted in the priesthood and that without the priesthood, there’s no Eucharist.’

Father Roth added, “I think anyone that is a practicing Catholic needs to realize, if we want to continue to pass on our faith, we need priests.” Deacon Belleza is just one Seminarian fulfilling that need, and thanks to endowments in the Catholic Community Foundation like the Jenkins Family Trust, our Seminarians are aided in their discernment.


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