2019 Shine On Grant Recipients

The following Shine On Grants were awarded in June 2019. The next round of Shine On Grants will begin on July 1, 2019. Click here to apply.
Diocese of Crookson (Iowa)  

The Padre Apla’s Leadership Program is dedicated to Blessed Stanley Rother, an American-born, missionary priest from Okarche, Oklahoma who selflessly served the Tz’utujil people of Guatemala for 13 years before he was martyred for the faith on July 28, 1981. The Padre Apla’s Program is an opportunity for young people in the Diocese of Crookston to grow as leaders in the Catholic Church. Just as God stirred the heart of this ordinary man, Father Rother, for extraordinary service, The Padre Apla’s Program is designed awaken the hearts of young leaders to their God-given gifts and seek ways to apply those gifts to the great needs of their communities and world. Throughout the Padre Apla’s Program, participants will be immersed in this rich teaching that calls us all to take part in building a more just society while living lives of holiness, as we courageously engage the world on behalf of the Kingdom of God. The Padre Apla’s Program is divided into three phases: Formation, The Guatemala Experience & Guided Leadership Project.

  • FORMATION: All participants will be required to attend three required formation retreats throughout the year. These will take place on either Saturdays, Sundays, or a combination of Saturday/Sunday. Once participants are established, we will schedule the retreat dates.
  • THE GUATEMALA EXPERIENCE: will take place August 1-10, 2019. During this experience, students will continue their formation through a week of service, cross-cultural exchange, study, pilgrimage and communal prayer. In Guatemala, we are guests. Therefore, we “remove our shoes”. We do this by listening more and speaking less, by seeking to understand and not judge, by having more questions than answers, and by being receptive to what God intends to teach us through the lives of our hosts.
  • GUIDED LEADERSHIP PROJECT: Following the Guatemala Experience, participants will discern a project that allows an opportunity to take on a greater role of leadership in their parish or diocese. This leadership project will be rooted in one of the themes of Catholic Social Teaching.
  • FOLLOW UP: Students will be provided with continued mentorship as they develop and implement their projects. Students will also be able to gather following the experience to process, reflect and encourage each other with their projects.

The Diocese of Iowa was awarded a grant of $4,000 from The Mark D. Pacione Foundation.


Deaf Catholic Youth Initiative of the Americas (DCYIA)

Father Joseph Mulcrone and the Board of Directors of the Deaf Catholic Youth Initiative for the Americas respectfully request a grant of $5,000 from the Mark D. Pacione Foundation to support the efforts of an exploratory DCYIA team to travel to Chile to prepare for an Encuentro for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing. This effort in Chile has been begun at the suggestion of the Holy See in light of the current ecclesiastical situation.

Life for deaf people in the countries of Central and South America are limited. There is no education for many deaf and hard of hearing people beyond the age of 14. Consequently many are unemployed, single and living with family.  They cannot drive, work, and have little to no independence.  Due to the lack of financial independence many never marry and raise families of their own. There is also very little to no ministry for them in the church.  The pastoral workers in the parishes are not trained in how to minister to deaf people.  Many go without knowing the love of God and forming a relationship with Jesus. 

The goal of the Deaf Catholic Youth Initiative for the Americas is to train citizens in the Americas to work in the areas of leadership development and faith formation with Deaf youth. Our strategy is threefold:

  1. At the request of a Mexican or Central American community, a first-response team of three DCYIA members visits to assess the community’s needs.
  2.  We assemble a team of educators, interpreters, and pastoral ministers to go to the community for one week. Once there, they share years of expertise and practices with adult leaders in the Deaf community, who can in turn use these skills with local young people.
  3. Our initial team of three returns six months later to evaluate the effectiveness of our mission and provide further aid, if needed.

We leave small footprints and make great impacts. At the heart of our mission lies the proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” We do not establish permanent offices in these countries; rather, in the span of one week, we empower local members of Deaf communities to jumpstart a self-sustaining movement that lives on long after our stay. We teach the teachers. We pass the torch of vital leadership tools on to Deaf people in Central America who, in turn, pay it forward to their own communities.

The Deaf Catholic Youth Initiative of the Americas (DCYIA) was awarded a grant of $4,000 from The Mark D. Pacione Foundation.


The Northeast Catholic Community (NECC)

The NECC is comprised of the parishes of Blessed Sacrament, St. Matthew, St. Dominic, St. Anthony, Most Precious Blood and St. Francis of Assisi are located mostly in the northeast part of Baltimore City with a diverse community, mostly minorities coming from many ethnicities and nationalities, with a unique set of stories and issues that affect our youth. We are requesting $2500 to use the “See, Judge, Act” method and Joseph Cardijn movements as a template, to accomplish three objectives in a new program for our youth to address these realities:

  • To create a dynamic encounter for young people that does not limit their creativity and directly addresses the reality of their everyday lives. –
  • To connect youth’s own experiences and concerns to the content of our faith and then transfer their observations it into action in their communities around them as Jesus and the Apostles did. –
  • To give an opportunity for formation and leadership to a young adult of color.

The “See-Judge-Act” method of action and reflection developed by the Belgian Cardinal Joseph Cardijn engages young people to take hold of the world around them and transfer it as Jesus and the Apostles did; to SEE the reality of our lives, our communities, and the world; JUDGE the relationship between the situation around us and what we believe should be happening based on the contents of our faith; and finally, ACT to create a change that reflects what we believe should be happening. We can apply this with young people to every aspect of their lives; with their families, with their friends, in their schools, and in their parishes and communities. The program will:

  • Create discussion groups which will be implemented among the existing youth groups
  • Will also reach out to other groups in our communities
  • Topics for the program will come from the youth themselves
  • Participating youth will be invited to develop plans of action for their own lives as well as connect with other youth groups to develop larger action steps
  • With guidance, the groups will be responsible for organizing the action steps they decide to implement in their parishes and/or communities
  • The young adult who facilitates the program will be chosen from the NECC community and will receive formation to help him develop skills necessary to guide the youth of the parish

“This program will not only empower youth to use their faith to change the world around them but it will give the Church opportunity to encounter and accompany young people in a new light.”

The Northeast Catholic Community (NECC) was awarded a grant of $2,500 from The Mark D. Pacione Foundation.

The National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry

In December 2018, the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry (NCCYM) took place in Tampa, FL. The NCCYM gathers and forms adults to inspire, strengthen, and nourish those who accompany young people as they encounter and follow Jesus Christ. The Pacione Foundation was excited to give a grant to the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry to fund multicultural scholarships for NCCYM.

Here is what they learned at the NCCYM:

Arnel Recio

“I was affirmed with the ideas of organizing the ministry more clearly and concisely with expectations of leaders. We have revised our vision and mission statement to better match that of the parish.”

– Arnel Recio



Jaime Gil

“As a ‘millennial’ Catholic minister, it was very enlightening to learn at a break out session by Mr. Mercadante about the similarities and differences between my generation and Generation Z. It is very important to LISTEN and to LEARN about their experience. I came away reflecting and wanting to learn specifically about how they experience the sacred and how we can help in the process.”

– Jaime Gil

Jazmin Santiago

“I plan to share with my youth and other young adults about what unlocked my heart in this conference. Words One part that totally unlocked my heart was Lana Chalfoun with her song ‘Bring Them Home.’ Young people like her give me hope.”

– Jazmin Santiago




Juan y Mirna

” I have learned that we need to advocate for safe and sacred spaces for our youth. I take away affirmation on how we do ministry. I have learned how important it is for us as volunteers to get parents involved in their teens’ faith lives.”

– Juan Rodriquez

Karen Rojas

“I attended the conference with the ministry’s growth as my focus, but it turned out that the conference strengthened my personal relationship with Jesus. Returning to the ministry re-energized help establish goals and communicate to young Latinos the conferences that occur so everyone can get involved. A powerful quote that could help the ministry stay focus in times of conflict, ‘Don’t leave Jesus because of Judas.'”

– Karen Rojas

Marie Ramirez-Pagan

“Since the Conference started, it all came down to one phrase: ‘we have to go back to our roots.’  Meaning, to create a culture of encounter and not event driven. We are called and sent to do this, if not, we will bury our Pastoral Juvenile/Youth Ministry. I learned to not be afraid and be quick to address problems.  To be thought provoking and providing safe spaces for any one regardless of who they are.”

– Marie Ramirez-Pagan

new addition.jpg

“Some key points I took from NCCYM is to reduce stress in youth ministry and bring joy. Seeking to host a just 5 Days middle school summer camp on campus through CMD as both a summer camp and fundraiser for youth to attend future NCYC and as a draw for teens to become involved.”

– Mary Klemm


Robert Barbry

“What I plan to present to our board of directors is the great need (which became more evident) to continue to partner with organizations such as the NFCYM to develop strategies, resources, and other means to strengthen the outreach to Indigenous Catholic youth across North America.”

– Robert Barby



 I learned that as I continue to work with the youth and young adults (Hispanic/Latinos and any other ethnicity) we need to continue to involve the parents and families. We need to emphasize the importance of family in the life of the church and the youth and young adults lives.”

– Mirna Ochoa

2018 Pinkard Scholars Program

In 2018 the Mark D. Pacione Foundation was able to provide partial grants to 2 young people who attended the Pinkard Youth Theological Program at St. Mary’s Seminary and University. As a recipient of the scholarship, these students were asked to share their insight at the completion of the course.

Thank you so much for the scholarship you offered me.  With it, I was able to attend one of the best classes I have ever taken.  I was able to learn how to think deeper into my faith, consider questions I previously would not have, and have a deeper relationship with Christ.  Again, thank you for the privilege of the scholarship, it as very much appreciated.
Patrick McDonald

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11).

The Pacione Foundation has provided me so many wonderful opportunities.  From deepening my passion for and enriching my capabilities of dialogue with the Pinkard Scholars Program, to welcoming me into your family to honor Mr. Mark Pacione’s legacy at your bull roast.  Thank you.  From these experiences have come fruits which I will have with me forever.  The Pacione Foundation, I feel, is truly carrying out God’s word by providing me, and the people like me with so many soul-fulfilling opportunities.  This, along with learning about Mr. Pacione, has truly inspired me and ignited an insatiable desire to continue serving others in the name of Christ.  God bless you.

Kami Ciccanti

Mark D. Pacione Foundation “Shine On” Grant Process

“I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12
The mission of the Mark D. Pacione Foundation is embodied in these words of Jesus – to be a light in the world and encourage others, particularly young people and those who minister with them to shine brightly.  To further this mission, the Mark D. Pacione Foundation is announcing the launch of its grant application process to be known as the “Shine On” process. 
Grant applications will be accepted for new and innovative programs and ministry focused on enriching the faith lives and leadership development of the young church and those who minister with them.  Grants of $1000-$5000 will be awarded twice a year; June 1 and December 1.  
For more information about the grant process and how to apply, please visit: