In this issue: New bishop, BOOST and Maryland 529 Match deadlines in May, and Foster Care Month
New Bishop for Wilmington
Pope Francis appointed a new Bishop of Wilmington last week to succeed Bishop W. Francis Malooly, who has led the diocese since 2008. A priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York, Bishop-elect William Koenig has been rector of the cathedral and vicar for clergy in that diocese.
He has worked in parish ministry, vocations, and pastoral work with seminarians and clergy throughout his priesthood.
“The Maryland Catholic Conference welcomes the appointment of Bishop-elect Koenig, who brings deep pastoral experience to Wilmington. We look forward to working with him as a member of our Board of Governors in our advocacy in the areas of economic and social justice, Catholic education and respect for life,” said Jenny Kraska, executive director of the Conference.
She added, “I want to thank Bishop Malooly for his leadership, kindness and support of the Maryland Catholic Conference. For the past 21 years he has shared his wisdom, insight and experience as a member of our Board of Governors. He will be greatly missed.”
His episcopal ordination and Mass of Installation will be held in Wilmington on July 13. Bishop Malooly will serve as the apostolic administrator until that time.
Maryland 529 Plans for K-12 Tuition
You may be familiar with 529 savings plans that offer federal and state tax incentives for college tuition, but did you know that Maryland 529 plans also can be used to pay up to $10,000 annually in Catholic school tuition? And that Maryland will match up to $500 in contributions to a 529 plan through the State Contribution Program?
The Maryland Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer College Investment Plan (MCIP), one of the state's 529 investment plans, can be used both for college tuition and for K–12 educational expenses, including tuition. In addition to federal tax benefits, Maryland taxpayers who contribute to an MCIP may be able to receive up to $2,500 in deductions off of their state adjusted gross income per beneficiary (so up to $5,000 if you set up 529 plans for two children, etc.).
Grandparents, godparents, friends and family can contribute to your child’s 529 and get tax benefits. Contributions can be as low as $25.
Get a state $500 contribution match through May 31. The State of Maryland matches up to $500 through the 529 Match Program. Account holders must apply annually to receive the match and the beneficiary must be a Maryland resident. The account holder’s Maryland taxable income cannot exceed $112,500 as an individual or $175,000 as a married couple filing jointly (based on the previous taxable year). The deadline to apply for this year’s State Contribution Program is May 31, 2021.
Note: Nothing herein constitutes tax advice. You should consult a tax professional for more information.
BOOST Scholarship Deadline is May 17
The deadline to apply for a state BOOST scholarship is coming up fast. Applications must be received by May 17. Scholarship funding for the fall academic year is 40 percent higher than the current year, thanks to the Maryland General Assembly approving the full $10 million that Governor Larry Hogan put in the state budget.
Scholarships are income-based and applicants must have filed their 2020 federal income tax return or submit alternative documentation of income, if eligible to do so.
Please encourage low-income families in your parish, family or neighborhood who might be interested to apply. Learn more and get a link to the state application (in English and Spanish) at www.marylandboost.org.
May is National Foster Care Month
More than 4,000 children in Maryland are in foster care. Many are survivors of abuse or neglect from their family of origin. When youth age out of foster care without a family, they are at increased risk of homelessness and 60 percent of trafficked youth come from the foster care system.
Consider becoming a foster parent to provide these vulnerable children a stable, loving home or volunteer to help struggling families be able to stay together in a healthy way through programs such as Building Safe Families for Children.
Check your diocesan news site soon for a column about foster care by Molly Sheahan, associate director for respect life advocacy and download English and Spanish resources, including intercessions and a blessing for those involved in foster care, plus bulletin announcements.
COVID Vaccines: All Marylanders, age 16 and older, are eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. New sites have been added around the state and getting an appointment is easier than ever. Visit the Maryland COVID Link website to find locations near you, schedule an appointment at a mass vaccination site, get answers to common questions and more.
Tax Deadline: Federal tax returns for 2020 must be filed by May 17, 2021 and Maryland tax returns by July 15, 2021.
Join the Marathon of Prayer this May: In this month of Mary, Pope Francis has invited shrines around the world to pray the rosary daily, at 6 p.m. Rome time (12 noon here), in a “marathon” of prayer for an end to the pandemic and the ability to return to a regular life. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, will lead the rosary on May 17. See the daily intentions and shrines here and the liturgical guide to join in this international prayer effort.
Year of the Eucharist: Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori has called for a Year of the Eucharist in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Read his pastoral letter and explore the many resources to help “connect with the Lord and experience his never-ending light.”
Laudato Si’ Week: Laudato Si’ Week 2021 will be celebrated May 16-24. Learn more about daily observances at the Laudato Si’ Week website and consider using the discussion guide from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to reflect upon this encyclical and our call to care for creation.
Celebrating Mother’s Day times five: As we wish all mothers a blessed Mother’s Day, we share this heartwarming story of the Eze family, who just had quintuplets – yes, five babies – baptized at St. Matthias in Lanham. The little ones also have a big sister. The babies were born at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, which has the state’s largest neonatal intensive care unit and delivers more babies than any other hospital in the state. Read the story in the Catholic Standard.
Finally, please keep in your prayers our school graduates and the new priests who will be ordained in May and June here in Maryland.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2020 is an important deadline in three areas: 2019 taxes must be filed; it is the last day for uninsured Maryland residents to take advantage of a special window to enroll in health care and it is the deadline to apply for a Maryland state BOOST scholarship for your children to attend a non-public school this fall.
The state will be awarding $7.5 million in need-based scholarships. The application deadline was delayed due to the pandemic and change in tax filing date. The state has indicated plans to start reviewing applications later this month.