Mission Moment – August 2022

August is a new beginning for so many, as school is back in session and new routines and schedules begin. It’s a month where students have bright eyes as they enter a new classroom and see friends for the first time in a while. So…what better time than now to share our St. Augustine endowment for this month’s “Mission Moment!”

The creation of this endowment actually took place just one year ago, but was unfortunately overshadowed by Hurricane Ida and its devastation. The storm put so many things on pause for our community, but for one man, this cause was so near and dear that nothing could stop its progress — our very own Bishop Shelton Fabre. As someone who loves children, with a strong belief in Catholic education but an awareness of the struggle that so many face — especially children of color, while still serving as bishop for our diocese, Bishop Fabre dedicated $50,000 to establish the St. Augustine endowment. As a product of Catholic education himself, he witnessed the sacrifices his parents made to ensure he was able to attend Catholic school.

Now serving as Archbishop of Louisville, Archbishop Fabre established the endowment with the intent to provide perpetual funding for tuition assistance to children of color within our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux — all part of an overarching plan to find a way to make Catholic education more affordable and available to all children — no matter their ethnic background. 

Today the endowment, handled and overseen by the Catholic Foundation of South Louisiana, is already going to work. Executive Director for the Foundation, Amy Ponson, shared, “As a mom of three, two of whom attend Catholic elementary and one who isn’t old enough just yet, I know the sacrifices many families make to send their children to Catholic school. In working with Archbishop Fabre, we as a Foundation wanted to build a sustainable model for families who desire a Catholic education but need financial assistance. The St. Augustine endowment, coupled with our other endowed tuition assistance funds, have begun to provide for families who need assistance. We hope to continue to grow these assets to provide perpetual support to families who are excited about providing a Catholic education to their children.”

Looking forward to 2023, school principals will be able to apply to receive these funds through our Catholic Foundation this upcoming spring. We are incredibly proud to continue to support schools within our diocese, pushing forward to ensure all students and families have the support needed to have access to a strong Catholic education. Families who are interested in tuition assistance should call their respective Catholic school directly to seek tuition assistance funds directly from their school principal. For more information, please contact Amy Ponson at aponson@htdiocese.org.