The St. Damien of Molokai Scholarship is established for students completing their ninth, tenth, or eleventh grade year at Bishop Neumann High School and are acknowledged as outstanding in service to their neighbor. Five percent of the value of the Msgr. James T. O’Connor Scholarship is to be distributed each year to the awarded student’s Bishop Neumann tuition the following year.
The scholarship recipient is selected from among all Bishop Neumann students in light of their work in the school’s Service Program. As such, the Service Hours Coordinator will work with the Religion teachers to determine the best candidates, and the name they put forward will be presented to the school’s administration for final selection.
This scholarship was begun from the estate of Msgr. James T. O’Connor, who had a great devotion to St. Damien. Msgr. O’Connor was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and a member of the Faculty of St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers. He authored four scholarly books: The Eucharist and the Rule of Christ, The Hidden Manna, The Father’s Son, and The Land of the Living. Msgr. O’Connor spoke eloquently about the call of Jesus to serve others, particularly in his instructions on Social Justice, a course he taught for many years at St. Joseph’s Seminary. After 22 years teaching at the Seminary – where he was part of the education and formation of many priests of the Lincoln Diocese – Msgr. O’Connor was named the Pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, Millbrook, New York on July 1, 1994 until his retirement on July 1, 2014.