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

Foundations in Faith recognizes that parishes in the Diocese need creative and innovative approaches to faith formation for children and teenagers. And the St. John Paul II Fund for Religious Education and Faith Formation can be an invaluable tool for such endeavors.

­To:                      Pastors, Youth Ministers, Directors / Coordinators of Religious Education

From:                Foundations in Faith, Carol Incarnacao-Schirm, Grant Manager

Date:                 February 1, 2023

Re:                      Program Support Application Window – New Platform for Applicants and Grantees | St. John Paul II Fund for Religious Education and Faith Formation

At Foundations in Faith, we recognize that invigorating faith formation, especially for children, teenagers, and young adults is at the heart of parish life throughout our Diocese.

The St. John Paul II Fund for Religious Education and Faith Formation supports parishes and diocesan organizations with innovative approaches to religious education and youth ministry programs. Since it was founded it has funded diverse programs typically running from September to June.

Pastors and ministry leaders in the Diocese of Bridgeport are invited to apply for grants up to $10,000 in support of faith formation and religious education programs.

Application Window: Wednesday, February 15 to Friday, March 31

New Platform for Applicants and Grantees

In 2023, applicants will be required to create an account and submit applications via Foundations in Faith’s Grant Applicant Dashboard.

Details matter—include specific and measurable goals.

Numbers matter too—a descriptive, itemized budget is required.

Questions? Assistance? Contact Carol Incarnacao-Schirm, Grant Manager at 203-416-1393 or


The programs proposed by these grants usually run from September to June, and applicants can apply for up to $10,000. Applications typically go live on February 15th and close on March 31st, with a final decision being made by the Board of Trustees in June. In order to apply you must be a Catholic Church in the Diocese of Bridgeport or a Diocesan Faith Formation program.

Past recipients of parish support grants have emphasized three criteria: creativity, innovation, and youth engagement in planning.

For the 2022-2023 academic year, Foundations in Faith awarded $142,000 to 22 parishes and ministries through the St. John Paul II Fund's parish support grants. Learn more about past proposed programs below:

  • Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, Stamford: Recipient of two grants. The first will help fund the Catholic Adventures program at the parish, while the second will provide 15 half-scholarships for youth group members to attend Camp Veritas.
  • Christ the King Parish, Trumbull: Will provide students in the parish sacramental preparation programs and their families with needed materials, including the Great Adventure Catholic Bible.
  • Church of the Assumption, Westport: Will plant a garden where parishioners can pray, contemplate and gather together.
  • Holy Name of Jesus Church, Stratford: Will offer choices for faith formation efforts, including in-person and Zoom classes, homeschooling, and monthly family activities.
  • Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Quasi Parish, Bridgeport: Will help the young parish's 100-member strong youth group provide more vibrant, faith-based activities.
  • Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Fairfield: Will create a service-oriented program for students in first through fifth grades, mentored by teen parish leaders.
  • Saint Ann Church, Bridgeport: Will promote the church's bilingual faith formation group.
  • Saint Augustine Cathedral Parish, Bridgeport: Will help fund a catechism program and a DRE, in addition to a youth group of post-Confirmation teenagers.
  • Saint Catherine of Siena Parish, Trumbull: Will help fund the formation and recruitment of members for a parish youth group.
  • Saint George Parish, Bridgeport: Will help fund a children's ministry, a family catechesis program, and a children and teen choir.
  • Saint Mary Parish, Stamford: Will help implement a religious education project for the parish's younger members.
  • Saint Patrick Church, Redding: Will help create new youth ministry programs and activities outdoors to combat the spread of COVID-19.
  • Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church, Greenwich: Will create a four-time forum for parents to engage speakers and learn about their role as their children's primary religion teachers.
  • Saint Rose of Lima Church, Newtown: Will help build a digital missionary initiative where high school students can use social media as an evangelization tool.




(on pause for now)

Dear Friends of Foundations in Faith,

As many of you are likely aware, Foundations in Faith provides grant support to youth and young adult ministries through the Youth in Action grant program, available through the St. John Paul II Fund for Religious Education and Faith Formation. Applications usually go live in early October and are awarded in January of the following year.

Unfortunately, Foundations in Faith will not be providing Youth in Action grants this year. However, you do not need to wait until next February to request grant funding for your youth or young adult ministry.

Foundations in Faith can still support your ministry through its mini grant program. These grants provide between $500 and $2,000 in funding to ministries demonstrating exceptional innovation or exceptional need.

Limited mini grant funding is available on a rolling basis by invitation only. If you are interested in applying for a mini grant, please reach out to or call (203) 416-1392 to pitch your idea.

Thank you, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you or your ministry.




Applications for mini-grants occur on a rolling basis by invitation only

Mini-grants are provided to parishes or Diocesan initiatives that demonstrate exceptional innovation or need related to faith formation. Applicants can request up t0 $2,000 in funding.

Recent mini-grant recipients include the following:

  • Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, Stamford: Funded scholarships for youth group members to attend Camp Veritas.
  • Catholic Adventures, Stamford: Provided microphones to record the "Restless Young Catholic Adult" podcast.
  • Office of Clergy, Bridgeport: Will fund a convocation for all active and retired Diocesan priests.
  • Parish of Saint Cecilia, Stamford: Funded scholarships for youth group members to attend Camp Veritas.
  • Saint Charles Borromeo Parish, Bridgeport: Helped renovate church grounds and enable youth group to build a fire pit for use to bring community together.
  • Saint George Parish, Bridgeport: Provided faith formation materials for religious education for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • Saint James Parish, Stratford: Funded several sessions of prayer and reflection to "name, claim, and heal" the sin of racism within the community.


About Our Namesake

St. John Paul II was the head of the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005, making him the second-longest reigning Pope in modern history. His papacy was marked by collaboration with the youth, perhaps most evident in his pioneering of the Church's World Youth Day events, the most recent of which took place in Panama City in 2019.

He was beatified in 2011 on Divine Mercy Sunday, with the miracle of healing a nun of Parkinson's Disease being attributed to his intercession. His second miracle occurred in 2013, and he was beatified the following year, once again on Divine Mercy Sunday.

His feast day is celebrated October 22. However, his feast day does not occur on the anniversary of his death -- as is the case with many other saints -- but rather on the anniversary of his papal inauguration.