October 5, 2017

At a ceremony in New York on the evening of October 4th, Catholic Extension was honored to present Father Joseph P. Parkes, S.J. with the 2017 Spirit of Francis Award. During his more-than-30-year career in Catholic education, Father Parkes has taught students how to contribute to the common good, providing them with the opportunity and tools to develop into great leaders.

Father Parkes has thirty years of experience working in high schools and has served as President of Christo Rey New York High School since the school opened in 2004. As a career educator, he is committed to serving students who have demonstrated the potential and motivation to achieve success, but do not have the educational background or financial means to attend a private, college-prep school.

At Catholic Extension, we share Cristo Rey and Father Parke's dream and commitment to opening up new paths to leadership for those who do not normally have access to them. The proceeds from the 2017 Spirit of Francis Award Dinner will fund graduate scholarships for the Young Adult Leadership Initiative at Fordham University.

This initiative gives students who work in ministry in poor dioceses such as El Paso, Texas, or Yakima, Washington, the opportunity to study at Fordham and earn a graduate degree in theology or ministry. With this education, they multiply their effectiveness in ministry and their ability to better serve the people of God throughout this country.

During the ceremony, Nathan Stell of our Young Adult Leadership Initiative shared how his participation in the program led to personal growth and a fulfilling career in service to the Church. Watch the video below to hear a clip from Nathan or click here to watch his entire speech. 

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