2017 Pinkard Scholars Program

In 2017 the Mark D. Pacione Foundation offered 2 full Scholarships to 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.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my immense gratitude for helping me embark on this journey of a course which has allowed me to deconstruct and reconstruct my theological, social, and cultural views and opinions.  This experience has truly transformed the way that I see society as a whole.  It has opened my eyes to areas of my life and the lives of people around me that I can change for the better, like my dialogue skills.  This class has also helped me answer the questions that have bugged me for a long while, like how evil interacts with God.  Without the help of you and your donation towards me in my attempt to pursue my interest in theological studies, I would not have been able to attend this course and have come to the many realizations I have come to through the many dialogues and few assignments I received thought these past weeks.  Again, I would like to thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity.  I truly enjoyed the experience.

Jacob M. Serio, Pinkard Scholar
St. Mary’s Seminary & University
St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church
Archbishop Curley High School


I would like to take time to thank you for giving me the full scholarship so that I could participate in the Pinkard Scholars Program at Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in the fall semester of 2017.

Participating in this course has meant a great deal to me, and I cannot stress enough how grateful I am for being given this opportunity.  This class has made me go outside of my comfort zone, and has pushed the boundaries of, and even changed, the way that I think.  Theology class this year was not traditional, in a way that I mean it was different from all of the religion classes I had been taking since Kindergarten.

One thing that I have learned during this course is that Human Trafficking affect more than just the people directly involved in it.  We are affected by it by the clothes we wear and the items that we buy.  Some other things that I have learned in this class are: that nothing is certain and that nothing is simply black or white.  Coming to that realization that nothing is certain was hard for me because I had been used to thinking that everything was black and white, and that there were no gray areas.  Relinquishing control was also hard for me.

Something that I wish to learn more about in the future is Human Trafficking and just how it affects our nation.  I believe that it affects us more than we realize, but it is not being brought to people’s attention.  I not only want to learn more about this, but I also want to do something about it.  I want people to understand just how much this industry affects our day to day lives.

This course has personally impacted me because I was blissfully ignorant of the challenges that the world is facing today.  I knew a little about Human Trafficking, but I was more concerned with that was happening in my life to really pay attention to the outside world.  It has also personally impacted me because I have been blessed enough to be able to have taken it.  A lot of people are not presented with this opportunity, and the small group who are, may not take it seriously.  I took this class very seriously, and because of that, I learned more about myself in fifteen weeks than I had in seventeen years.

Finally, I would once again like to thank you for your generosity in giving me a full scholarship so that I could participate in this one-in-a-lifetime class.  I felt, and still feel, truly blessed and honored that you had chosen me to be one out of two recipients of the scholarship.  Thank you once again, and I hope you have a blessed day.


Catherine Chmiel, Pinkard Scholar
Saint Mary’s Seminary & University
Sacred Heart Church, Glyndon
Maryvale Preparatory School