The SPA in England and Wales runs the Sponsorship Scheme with five seminaries in five countries, which we support every year: India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sri Lanka. These are seminaries with which we have had a long-standing, mutual relationship.
The SPA funding is also distributed each year to other countries which vary each year according to need. However, those countries are not part of the Sponsorship Scheme.
Supporters who wish to be sponsors (whether individuals, parishes, families or prayer groups) and commit to £500 per year for four years, are given the name and photograph of an individual student in the first of his final four years of Theology studies and he will be given their name. They can then pray for each other especially.
The academic years begin at different times: the SPA is normally given names from India in July; Kenya in September; Sri Lanka, Malawi and Nigeria in November. The SPA does not allocate new sponsors to students during the summer break but will retain details for when the new academic year begins.
The SPA cannot of course guarantee that every sponsored student will be ordained. With the support of his bishop and the seminary staff, the student will discover through the seminary programme whether his desire for ordination is a genuine calling from God. If not, the student will leave. This should not be seen as a failure. Our experience is that ex-seminarians put their education and formation to the service of the Church and society at large. If a student leaves, the sponsor will be offered a new student name at no extra cost.
Anyone, or any group, offering £500 or more a year to the SPA for four years can become a sponsor, and support a student in his final four years of study.
Parishes and individuals are encouraged to take on the sponsorship of a seminarian as part of their Advent support or Lenten programme.
The money does not go to the student but to the seminary rector as part of the seminary grant. You may sponsor more than one student at a time. Donations may be spread over the period convenient to you, e.g. monthly, quarterly or annually. Donations may be made by Direct Debit, cheque, card or CAF.
Some of our seminaries - Kenya and Malawi - include a pastoral year as part of the student's training programme. This will mean that it will be five years before ordination to the priesthood. However, the cost does not increase – it remains £2,000 in total per student.
Sponsors are given the opportunity to correspond with a seminarian. Some prefer not to correspond; others feel that correspondence is an essential part of being a sponsor. Letters, news of local parishes and photographs can be exchanged.
To avoid any misunderstanding, the sponsor's address is not disclosed to the student and all correspondence goes through this office and the rector of the student's seminary.
Gifts may not be sent to the students but a gift cheque may be sent to the rector at ordination time to be shared among all the new priests.
Please sponsor a seminarian
If you wish to sponsor a seminarian please contact the SPA for further information: