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Catholic Charities honors Notre Dame faculty, staff and programs with special centennial awards

by Notre Dame News

October 20, 2010

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Faculty, staff and organizations of the University of Notre Dame were honored with special awards from Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) at an Oct. 19 presentation ceremony in the press box of Notre Dame Stadium.

CCUSA, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, is presenting special Centennial Awards to 100 recipients throughout 2010 for their contributions to the reduction of poverty in the United States and an extraordinary commitment to the vision and mission of CCUSA.

Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president emeritus; Rev. Daniel Groody, C.S.C., associate professor of theology; and Thomas Harvey, Luke McGuinness Director of Nonprofit Professional Development, all received awards, as did Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program and Mendoza College of Business.

“This is a singular achievement for Notre Dame,” said Jean Beil, CCUSA’s senior vice president for programs and services. With the exception of the Catholic Charities organization itself, Beil said, no other institution has as many individuals and programs being honored by Centennial Medals as does Notre Dame.

In addition to his 35 years as Notre Dame’s president, Father Hesburgh’s service to four popes and his 16 presidential appointments over the years have involved him in nearly all major social issues, including civil rights, the peaceful uses of atomic energy, campus unrest, immigration policy reform, and development of some of the world’s most economically challenged nations.

Father Hesburgh, who was traveling and unable to attend the event, will be personally honored at a later date.

Father Groody’s scholarship and teaching concern the Church’s pastoral response to immigrants, the spirituality of immigrants and a theology of migration. In addition to studying, serving and accompanying immigrants at the U.S. border and other borders in Latin America, he has worked with immigrants at the borders of Morocco and Spain, Malta and Libya, Slovakia and Ukraine, and Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“For more than two decades, you have walked with immigrants in some of the most painful places in their journey: in the deserts, in the mountains, and in the border towns,” Beil said in recognizing Father Groody. “But beyond their physical struggles, you have shared in the deep wells of spirituality that bring healing and empowerment to their lives.”

Groody said in his acceptance: “I would like to honor my colleagues from the Institute for Latino Studies and hope that this award will give impetus to all those who work on behalf of migrants and for immigration reform.”

Harvey, who joined the Mendoza staff in 2005 and was recognized by CCUSA at an earlier event, has for some 40 years led local and national organizations committed to confronting the challenges of poverty, discrimination, and access to health care and human services. Before coming to Notre Dame, he served as senior vice president of the Alliance for Children and Families, an international association of 350 non-profit child and family-serving agencies. He also is a past president and chief executive officer of CCUSA.
The Alliance for Catholic Education has been serving hard-pressed urban Catholic schools and preparing dedicated teachers and leaders for those schools for 17 years.

In conferring a Centennial Medal on ACE, Beil recognized the program for “forming and empowering many generations of the poor and vulnerable to take their place as citizens and leaders.”

In accepting the award, John Staud, senior director of pastoral formation and administration, said: “We are very humbled to be recognized. I accept this award on behalf of the 1,200 teachers and 200 principals who have been trained by ACE, and all those who work to promote Catholic education throughout this country.”

As an initiative of the University, ACE has led the way in addressing the crucial challenges in Catholic K-12 education, helping numerous dioceses around the United States to provide excellent and sustainable schooling to the Church’s valuable treasure, her children. There are now nearly 1,200 graduates from ACE’s Service through Teaching Program, which forms faith-filled, committed educators through a two-year curriculum combining rigorous academics, community life, and spiritual growth.

The growth and success of ACE Service through Teaching inspired additional programs and initiatives, which now include graduate-level preparation for Catholic school principals, professional services that help schools adopt problem-solving strategies, outreach efforts to build a movement in support of Catholic education and school-choice policies, and a “Catholic School Advantage” campaign to substantially increase the number of Latino children benefiting from the hope and enrichment found in Catholic classrooms.

Co-founders of the continuously growing ACE apostolate are Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., and Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C.

A Centennial Medal was awarded to the Mendoza College of Business in recognition of its long relationship with the college, for the “From Mission to Service” program developed under the leadership of Carolyn Y. Woo, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College, and for the College’s emphasis on ethics in the training of business students. 

Beil cited Mendoza for its extraordinary business curriculum, which is combined with a “commitment to the values of Catholic Social Teaching and … work in pursuing ethical leadership in the business community.”

In her acceptance speech, Woo said: “I am grateful to all those who have said ‘yes’ and generously volunteered their time to teach in this program during the past six years.”

In particular, she cited support from former CCUSA president Rev. Bryan Hehir, Notre Dame’s Office of the Executive Vice President and Department of Theology, the University of Portland, the Indiana Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and the faculty and staff of Mendoza. “I am inspired by the Catholic Charities staff I have met who advocate for the poor with so much heart,” Woo added. “They are the prophets of today, who remind us to not be blind to the suffering around us.”

Offered to Catholic Charities agencies at no cost and now in its sixth year, the “From Mission to Service” program invites senior leaders from CCUSA organizations to the Notre Dame campus for the purpose of developing effective decision making and organizational practices within the scope of their faith-based missions. The sessions cover a range of topics, from an historical examination of the early Christian Church’s heritage of service, to strategic business applications, such as incorporating service missions into operations and building effective networks with similar groups. Between the sessions, the teams work on action-learning projects specific to their organizations that focus on current challenges. Past projects have included developing mission and vision statements, creating a social venture plan to generate revenue, and revising a food distribution plan.

At the Oct. 19 event, Brother Joseph Berg, C.S.C., was honored for 37 years of service on the staff of Catholic Charities USA. Brother Berg currently resides at Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame.

Further information about CCUSA and its centennial celebration is available online