Bishop Blanchette Scholarships Awarded to Several Catholic High School Students

By Pat Cetera, JDCCW past president

On May 22, the annual Bishop Blanchette Scholarships were awarded to Catholic high school students following Mass in the St. Francis Xavier Chapel at the Blanchette Catholic Center.  Mass was celebrated by the Most Reverend Joseph M. Siegel, auxiliary bishop, and Reverend John Sebahar, spiritual advisor of the Joliet Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. The recipients were Krista Birutis of Holy Trinity Parish in Westmont, who will be attending Benet Academy; Liliana Suarez of Immaculate Conception Parish in Elmhurst, who will be attending Immaculate Conception Catholic Prep; Maria Fernandez of St. Teresa Parish in Kankakee, who will be attending Bishop MacNamara High School; Angel Silveyra of St Isadore Parish in Bloomingdale, who will be attending Montini Catholic High School; Anna Gendusa of St. Matthew Parish in Glendale Heights, who will be attending Immaculate Conception Catholic Prep; and Matthew Kelly of St. Petronille Parish in Glen Ellyn, who will be attending St. Francis High School.

The scholarship was established by the Joliet Diocesan Council of Catholic Women in 1982 in honor of Bishop Romeo Blanchette.  Scholarships have been awarded annually since then to students nominated by their parish council of Catholic women to Catholic high schools within the diocese.  A monitoring committee, composed of Joliet Diocesan Council of Catholic Women past presidents, oversees the scholarships and selects the winners each year.  To date, 197 scholarships totaling $427,650 have been awarded.

The scholarship is funded by donations. Remembrance cards are available for the Bishop Blanchette Scholarship Fund.  There are several fund raising events each year.

At the 2016 Joliet Diocesan Council of Catholic Women Biennial Convention, the Father John Sebahar Servant Leadership Award was established as a tribute of gratitude to Father Sebahar for his many years of spiritual guidance and support to the council.  Each spring this award will present $500 to a high school senior boy and girl planning to attend a college or university the following fall. Students must be nominated by a religious  education director or youth minister from any parish in the Joliet diocese. The nominees must have displayed outstanding Christian service to their parish and community through their high school years.  

The recipients of the 2017 Father John Servant Leadership Award are Mary Eterno of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Darien, and Evan Shoup of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Naperville.

A reception followed for all the students and their guests. For information contact, the JDCCW office at 815- 221-6249 or