St. John Paul II  Fund

for Religious Education & Faith Formation

3 Types of Grants
  • Annual Parish Support Grants - Applications go live in February, due April, FIF Board approves in June, funding in July. Funding range $1000-$10,000. Programs often run September-June.
  • Youth in Action Grants - Applications go live in October, due November, FIF Board approved in December, funding in January. 3 grants for up to $5000. Open to Young Adult programs, Parish High School Youth Groups, the Catholic High Schools in the Diocese. Projects are "By Youth and For Youth" and run Jan-December
  • Mini-Grants - Applications are on a rolling basis and are provided to Parishes or Diocesan initiatives that demonstrate exceptional innovation or need related to formation. Funding range $500-$2000.


2021 JPII Application Announcement

Annual Parish Support Grants

  • Click here for the JPII Fund Application for Religious Education and Youth Ministry. Folks have asked about ways to edit the application. Here is a useful video
  • Click here for Budget Form
  • Click here to view a PDF of the Application for your planning purposes. All applications must be submitted online.
  • Click here for a copy of the budget form which you will need to upload into the online application for submitting.

As St. John Paul II said of young people, “The Church needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the Gospel of Life penetrate the fabric of society.”

How then will your Parish re-engage our children and teens in programs this fall? Imagine the possibilities of Autumn 2021 after the vaccine. Finally, a return to some semblance of normalcy; a ‘new norm’ that we, especially our youth desperately seek and need.

Foundations in Faith recognize that Parishes in the Diocese are currently poised to begin making plans now for Fall Religious Education and Youth Ministry programs. Faith Formation teams are invited to imagine what the youth programs will look like post-pandemic. It will be exciting to see how Parish teams leverage the new technologies that they used during the pandemic and enhance those tools with in-person community fellowship to draw the youth back in.

According to Kelly Weldon, Director of Foundations in Faith, “we have a historical and unique opportunity as we re-emerge and hit the reset button on how we approach our youth. How do we best empower them in their lifelong journey of encountering Jesus? It is imperative that we take time to ask the youth what they need and how they envision programs that will help them heal as they re-enter the community and actively participate in our Catholic Faith. As St. John Paul II taught us “The Church needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals”.

Foundations in Faith through the St. John Paul II Fund has funding available for Parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport for Fall Religious Education, Youth Ministry, and Faith Formation programs. Applications go LIVE on February 10th and are due April 2nd. Creativity, youth engagement in planning, and innovation are encouraged.

Sign up to receive grant announcements and updates by visiting - Follow us on Instagram – foundationsinfaithbpt. Contact Kelly Weldon at with questions or interest in supporting or volunteering.


Youth in Action 2021 Recipients Announced - Foundations in Faith announced that the second year of the Youth in Action Grant opportunity launched this past Fall. The grant recipients include Crossroads 4 Christ, Our Lady of Fatima Church in Bridgeport, and St. Theresa Church in Trumbull. Read about their projects here.


  • The 2021 Grant Application is now live. All applications must be submitted online and by November 13th, 2020
  • We are inviting 1) Catholic High Schools 2) Parish high school Youth Groups and 3) Young Adult Catholic Youth Groups (ages 20-35) to apply for up to $5000 in funding.
  • The projects that receive grant funding will run from January-December 2021
  • Project ideas are 'by youth and for youth" to deepen and enhance how youth experience Catholic faith Formation
  • Projects must incorporate 2 or 3 of the following elements: 1) Evangelization 2) Collaboration 3) Racial Justice and Equity
Youth in Action Application
Youth in Action Budget template
View Only- Youth in Action Application must submit online


Last Year 2020 - St. John Paul II Parish Program Support Grant Recipients

A total of $66,800 In funding was distributed to the following Parishes

Basilica of St. John's
Christ the King Parish
Church of the Assumption
Holy Family and St. Emery Parish
Holy Name of Jesus Church
Holy Name of Jesus Church
St. Catherine of Siena Church
St. Joseph Parish
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish
St. Mary Church- Stamford
St. Paul Roman Catholic Church
St. Peter Church
St. Philip Church
St. Pius X & St Thomas Aquinas Churches
St. Thomas the Apostle Church
The Cathedral Parish


Last year 2020 - St. John Paul II Parish General Operating Support Grants 

A total of $24,500 in funding was distributed to the Leadership Institute for the following:

Bulk Zoom subscriptions for religious education programs to provide online catechesis during COVID-19Faith Formation/team building  for DRE/CREs

Bulk discounted subscriptions of for online religious education curriculum for Parish use during COVID-19 online catechesis

Catholic Youth Council for Anti-Racism to work in conjunction with Bishop Caggiano's  Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism

Grant to underwrite the cost of the "Conversations About Race" Webinars.


JPII Fund Program Support Grant Applications open to DOB Parishes

for submission annually in February and are due in April.

Funding is distributed in July for faith formation programs that run September through May. 

Dear Priests, DREs, CREs, Youth Ministers and Parish Volunteers,

Parishes in the Diocese of Bridgeport are invited to apply for funding to spur innovative approaches that will and re-energize religious education programs, youth ministry initiatives, or other faith formation projects that target underserved groups. All applications including the project budget will be submitted online and are due by April 2.

A Grant Committee will review your grant requests and make recommendations for funding to the Foundations in Faith Board of Directors in June.

Please feel free to contact Kelly Weldon with questions after reviewing the criteria.


JPII 2019 - Distributed $115,000 to 25 Parish Projects
Program Support Grants: Responding to Bishop Caggiano’s invitation to lifelong formation, parishes, and churches in the Diocese are invited to reimagine faith formation at every level. The Saint John Paul II Fund for Religious Education and Youth Ministry offers grant opportunities to assist their efforts. These grants are specifically designed to help diocesan parishes serve populations they may not have been able to serve before and to fund new, innovative approaches for vibrant faith formation programs. For more information on the grant process please visit Grants page. Click here to view this year's recipients.

Distributed $12,000 to Diocesan Projects in 2019
General Operating Grant Awards: The Leadership Institute was invited to submit a request for funds to build on the momentum of the very successful and popular Family Bible Challenge program. Additional funds were allocated to scholarship under-resourced youth attending leadership retreats.

Plans to distribute $10,000 to a Catholic High School and a High School Youth Group "Youth in Action" Grant in 2019
Special Grant Opportunities: Bishop Frank is eager to hear young people’s ideas on how best to re-energize the teen Catholic faith experience. According to Bishop Frank, “We need to listen to their voices, and give them space and resources to design programs and projects that will resonate with them.” Bishop Frank challenges the teens to propose a project that includes elements of 1) collaboration 2) evangelization 3) mission work        

Click here for the Youth in Action grant information and the application




Numerous Grants and Awards totaling $437,000 for Pastoral Care Approved by the Foundations in Faith Board of Trustees in 2019

 BRIDGEPORT—On May 23, 2019 the board of trustee meeting began and closed with a prayer. The feeling of gratitude for the donors, priests, parish staff, and the Catholic community who are all striving to grow closer to their faith and rebuild a community of compassion and devotion was abundant.

A full agenda included the St. John Paul II Fund Grant Review Committee recommendation for a total of $115,000 in funding for religious education and youth ministry programs in parishes across the Diocese of Bridgeport. Bishop Frank J. Caggiano stated that priority should be given to the projects or programs that demonstrate fresh new approaches in how we engage our parish members in faith formation.

According to Kelly Weldon, the Grant Review Committee consisted of five members: two Foundation in Faith board members, two staff at the Diocese of Bridgeport, and one retired Director of Religious Education who is a strong community leader. The Grant Review Committee has met as a group four times for a total of approximately 20 hours per committee member. Every application was read, rated, reviewed, and discussed as a committee.

“We were looking for innovation but also listening to needs that exist related to religious education,” says Weldon. “The committee dug deep and used great care to leverage the St. John Paul II funding for innovation as well as providing funding for parishes that need to shore up a solid platform to grow future innovative programs.”

“We are very excited about numerous vital new projects and look forward to showing them off and eventually replicating them in neighboring parishes” Weldon stated. “Of concern, however, was the obvious existence of the ‘digital divide’. An issue that plagues Connecticut. Some parishes in our under-resourced communities lack the basic IT infrastructure to access current teaching tools for the youth and adult faith formation programs. It was also apparent that many parishes do not have money in their budget to hire a youth minister for the high school age youth.”

As one application reflected, “Confirmation does not mean graduation from learning about and experiencing the Catholic Faith. If we engage our teens after Confirmation, they will stay and grow into the next and needed generation of Catholic leaders.”

The Grant Review Committee agreed that parishes should make every effort to have an energetic, proactive youth minister and thus thought it was important to make a few, one-time investments. The committee felt that parishes will need to build the cost into their future budgets. It is evident that there is room for collaboration and youth minister job share opportunities are worth exploring. After meaningful discussion, the Foundations in Faith board unanimously approved the funding recommendations. The awardees will receive letters this week and a list of grants will be published on the Foundations in Faith website with regular project updates.

In addition to the St. John Paul II Fund grants, three other funds received board approval for funding. The St. Charles Borromeo Fund distributed $95,000 in awards for St. John Fisher Seminary, the Office of Vocations, and Redemptoris Mater Diocesan Missionary Seminary. The St. John Vianney Fund, set up to support our retired priests, awarded $40,000 to Queen of the Clergy retirement residence for priests, located in Stamford, Conn. The Elizabeth Ann Seton Fund distributed $175,000 to support initiatives that provide special resources to our Catholic schools in order to keep tuition costs low and affordable to as many young people as possible.

Foundations in Faith currently has a total of eight funds; four are active and four await funding from the We Stand With Christ Campaign.


At the June Foundations in Faith, an additional $22,000 of funding was approved. $10,000 for the Bishop's Youth in Action Grants and $12,000 in General Operating Grants for the Family Bible Challenge and Youth Retreat Stipends under the direction of the Leadership Institute.

(For more information and updates related to these Pastoral Care funds please visit: or email: