MSGR. SALVATORE MITCHELL LEAVES $1.27 MILLION BEQUEST FOR SCHOLARSHIPS TO KENNEDY CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL
HERMITAGE — The Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania has announced the largest gift received from an individual in its history: a $1.27 million dollar bequest from the estate of Msgr. Salvatore Mitchell to enhance the education endowment he established during his lifetime.
Those who knew him say the Monsignor Salvatore Mitchell Education Endowment captures his personality in its generosity and simplicity. Funds will support scholarships for tuition assistance to students attending Kennedy Catholic High School, with priority given to the youth of the parish he pastored, Church of the Good Shepherd in West Middlesex.
“This is wonderful news for Kennedy Catholic and will impact scholarships available to their students in a big way every year beginning in 2021,” said Lisa Louis, executive director of the foundation.
Msgr. Mitchell, who served as a Navy chaplain on the Island of Okinawa during WWII, was especially committed to the ideals of service.
“He believed the reward of serving others was the cornerstone of the well-rounded child,” said Janet Taylor, director of advancement for Kennedy Catholic. During his tenure at the school, he implemented the requirement for service hours to be completed by each student and initiated the school’s Christo Servire Award.
“This award continues to be the highest Kennedy Catholic High School accomplishment awarded to a senior,” Taylor said.
Msgr. Robert Smith, retired vicar general of the Diocese of Erie, served as an altar boy at St. Joseph Parish in Oil City when Msgr. Mitchell was an assistant pastor there. He later offered the homily at Msgr. Mitchell’s funeral.
Msgr. Mitchell lived out his priesthood joyfully, faithfully and tirelessly — for 74 of his 99 years of life, according to Msgr. Smith. “He was always an integral part of people’s lives. He had unshakable belief that good people, working together, could do great things,” Msgr. Smith said in his homily.
Regarding the extraordinary nature of the gift, Msgr. Smith said many could bear witness to the fact that Msgr. Mitchell was notoriously frugal.
“He was very conservative when it came to spending money,” Msgr. Smith said. “It doesn’t surprise me he was able to leave such a large gift. He also was very sharp when it came to investing his money.” Msgr. Smith also noted his pleasure that endowment will be used to support students at Kennedy Catholic High School.
“Msgr. Mitchell spent many years as pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd in West Middlesex,” Msgr. Smith said. “He was well-known in the area and deeply connected to the people in the valley.”
Louis said it is always moving to receive a bequest.
“It is humbling when someone creates a lasting legacy for a purpose near to their hearts,” she said. “We’re grateful Msgr. Mitchell knew the foundation would be able to honor his intentions to help students seeking a Catholic education in perpetuity.”