Providence College renews commitment to Catholic Education

Johnston’s St. Rocco School joins initiative


Providence College has announced that it is making a second gift of $100,000 to the Diocese of Providence Catholic School Office (CSO) to support Catholic education in Rhode Island through its innovative FriarServe program.

The funding will continue to be paired with a service component involving PC students, faculty, and staff. Five hundred twelve (512) Providence College students, faculty, and staff have volunteered more than 2,500 hours of service over the first four years of FriarServe. The service component of the program has now also been renewed for another four years.

This year, Johnston’s St. Rocco School will also benefit from the program over the next four years. They saw how much this program has helped other local Catholic schools, especially during the pandemic, with virtual after school activities and tutoring and wanted to be a part of it for their families and students.

“St. Rocco School is excited to be one of the five Catholic elementary schools who will be part of the FriarServe Program this year,” said St. Rocco School Principal Gina Hand. “As a first time FriarServe school, we look forward to building a strong relationship with Providence College and the volunteers who will serve in our school community. I was blessed to see firsthand during my years teaching at St. Pius V School, the good the program does and the unique bond the students form with the college volunteers. The Providence College students were able to share their talents and the elementary students benefited from being with enthusiastic, young adults in an educational environment. It was a win-win for everyone. I know it will have the same positive impact at St. Rocco School."

“We are pleased to renew our commitment to Catholic education at the K-12 level in the Diocese of Providence with a new, four-year commitment to the FriarServe program,” said Providence College President Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P.  “I am immensely proud of the work of our students, faculty, and staff who have volunteered their services in the five FriarServe schools over the initial years of the program, and, especially, how we were able to pivot to offering some of those services virtually during the last year. In addition, I know that our financial support has made a substantial difference in the lives of dozens of children attending Diocesan Catholic schools, and I am so pleased that we are able to continue this commitment.”

 “I am very grateful to Providence College for the financial support it has offered once again for several of our Catholic elementary schools,” said the Most Reverend Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence. “This very generous contribution recognizes the importance of Catholic education in our community, and will certainly be a blessing for our students, their families and our schools. Thank you, Fr. Sicard!”

The first contribution of its kind to the diocese was made in 2017 in honor of PC’s Centennial. The College’s second gift will once again be made through the CSO in equal sums of $25,000 for four years. The money will be used for scholarships to students attending Catholic elementary and secondary schools via the CSO’s Anchor of Hope Fund, a diocesan financial assistance fund that helps financially strapped families secure a Catholic school education for their children. Part of the gift will be used to continue the Bishop Matthew Harkins Founder Fund, which was created in recognition of the founder of Providence College, to provide tuition assistance to students attending four urban Catholic elementary schools in the City of Providence and one in Johnston. Schools participating in this round of FriarServe are Bishop McVinney School (South Providence), Blessed Sacrament School (Mt. Pleasant), St. Augustine School (Mt. Pleasant), St. Pius V School (Elmhurst) and St. Rocco School (Johnston), which is new to the program.

The five elementary schools all have Reading Weeks, Service Days, and other events where the presence and support of members of the Providence College community will be of great benefit to the individual school communities. Many students at these schools will also benefit from having PC students as mentors and/or volunteer tutors. The College will work with the CSO as well as each individual school to ascertain individual school needs and coordinate volunteer opportunities for PC students, faculty and staff.

The scholarships and service component of the program are beginning with the start of the new academic year.

Founded in 1917, Providence College is the only college or university in the United States administered by the Dominican Friars. The Catholic arts college has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 3,900 students and offers degrees in 49 academic majors. Since 1997, Providence College consistently has been ranked among the top five, liberal regional universities in the North according to U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.”


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