March 26, 2018

Catholic Extension honored Jesuit Father William Leahy, the president of Boston College, with its Spirit of Francis Award at a March 20 dinner. He was recognized for his outstanding achievements as an educator and leader and for his instrumental role in forging a relationship between Catholic Extension and Boston College to provide educational opportunities for emerging Church leaders in mission dioceses.

This partnership has enabled young adult leaders, Hispanic lay leaders and religious sisters to pursue graduate degrees and leadership training at the School of Theology and Ministry as well at Woods College for Advancing Studies. Catholic Extension provides scholarships for these studies.

In accepting this award, Father Leahy said, “Our partnership has allowed Church leaders to come to Boston College to develop their talents and to use those talents for the good of others. We are all called to show our faith in action and to extend the message of Christ, which is what Catholic Extension has been doing since 1905.”  

Father William P. Leahy Spirit of Francis Award “The Catholic Church can only move forward in this country if we understand what a great resource our Catholic universities are,” said Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension. “It is vital to connect these rich gifts to the growing and vibrant Church in America’s poorest regions.”

Since 2012, Boston College has helped 29 mission dioceses with educating 62 of their leaders.

“My master’s degree in theology at Boston College drastically changed the course of my life,” said Dan Thies, associate director of campus ministry at Carroll College in the Diocese of Helena, Montana, who graduated in 2012. “It has had a profound impact on my ministry and helps me to listen with the ears of Christ.”

The dinner was attended by 240, many of whom graduated from Boston College. Funds raised will establish the Father Bill Leahy Fund to provide scholarships for leaders in mission dioceses to attend Boston College.

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