FIDELIS AWARD WINNERS

The Fidelis Award was begun by the Society in 2004 in order to recognize an outstanding Catholic for that person's uncompromising commitment to the Catholic faith, an unyielding interest in justice and steadfast dedication to the ideals of Saint Thomas More. The proceeds of the dinner honoring the Fidelis Award winner are given to various Catholic charities. Since the Fidelis Award’s inception in 2004, the Society has raised over $25,000 for worthy Catholic charities.

The St. Thomas More Society was honored to bestow the 2009 Fidelis Award upon Carol Houghton, S.T.D., J.C.D. Ms. Houghton is Director of the Diocesan Office of Canonical Concerns. That office addresses matters of canon law which affect the offices, parishes, schools, agencies, employees or members of the Diocese of Harrisburg. Ms. Houghton is also the Chancellor of the Diocese. The Office of the Chancellor (or "Chancery") is concerned with the official documents of the diocese, especially of the Diocesan Bishop. The Chancellor is the principal Notary of the Diocese, and the ordinary Notary for the official documents issued by the Diocesan Bishop. As Chancellor, Ms. Houghton is also a canon lawyer and therefore serves as a canonical consultant to the Bishop and others on the diocesan staff, and fulfills other tasks as assigned by the Bishop or Judicial Vicar/Secretary for Canonical Services. Ms. Houghton selflessly gives of herself to the Diocese in these positions and serves the Diocese in many other ways as well.

The St. Thomas More Society was very pleased and honored to bestow the fourth Fidelis award on Professor G. Randy Lee of Widener Law School on June 23, 2008 at the Fidelis Dinner held at the Harrisburg Hilton and Towers. The dinner followed a Mass that was celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral by the Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Harrisburg. The Very Reverend William J. King, Vicar General of the Diocese of Harrisburg, offered an inspiring and sometimes humorous homily. >Professor Lee has written on a variety of topics, including Catholic perspectives in American law and social justice. (Many of Professor Lee’s writings can be found on this website). Professor Lee is a graduate of Butler University and Harvard Law School. He joined the faculty at Widener in 1989, teaching and writing in the areas of Torts, Professional Responsibility, and Constitutional Law. A member of the St. Thomas More Society along with multiple other community involvements, Professor Lee continues to be an exceptional role model to both Widener students and the general legal community for steadfastly displaying Catholic values and morals in both the legal academic world and the community in general. In addition to honoring Professor Lee, the Society used the Fidelis dinner to raise funds for Laudatio, a special Diocesan ministry that coordinates Renewal Through Eucharistic Praise and Worship Programs, as well as for the Honorable Genevieve Blatt Red Mass Fund.

The Society held its third Fidelis Award event on the evening of Tuesday, June 20, 2006 and bestowed the award to the late William B. Ball, Esquire. Attorney Ball, a prominent and highly respected Catholic lawyer, showed an uncompromising commitment to promote Catholic teachings and moral values, and embodied the virtues of faithfulness and integrity championed by St. Thomas More. Attorney Ball was a 1948 graduate of Notre Dame Law School, was a Commander in the United States Naval Reserve and was the premier constitutional litigator and authority in the twentieth century on matters of church and state. Mr. Ball was involved in 25 cases before the United States Supreme Court, appeared before the Supreme Courts of 12 states and appeared before numerous Congressional committees. Bill Ball was truly a man for all seasons in the complicated law of church and state.

The 2005 Fidelis award was presented posthumously to the late Robert P. Casey, Governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995. Governor Casey was born in 1932 and died in 2000. Governor Casey was honored with the Fidelis Award for his lifelong commitment to the Catholic faith and his unwavering defense of Catholic principles. Governor Casey is perhaps best known nationally for his outspoken defense of the right to life at a time when few had the courage to publicly voice that opinion. Governor Casey truly walked in the footsteps of St. Thomas More during his lifetime of public service.

Governor Casey's widow, Mrs. Ellen Casey, graciously accepted the award and eloquently thanked Bishop Rhoades and the other attendees at the dinner on behalf of her late husband. Monsignor Joseph G. Quinn delivered a very moving homily to Governor Casey at the Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral which preceded the dinner. Monsignor Quinn is currently Pastor of the Church of St. Rose of Lima in Carbondale and was formerly the Rector of St. Peter's Cathedral in Scranton for fifteen years. The link to Monsignor Quinn's homily is below.

The 2004 Fidelis Award was presented to United States Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania. Senator Santorum was honored for his devout Catholic faith and his strong public stance on moral issues at a time when many in public life shy away from standing up for just, but sometimes unpopular causes.

During his acceptance speech, many in attendance at the 2004 Fidelis Award dinner were moved to tears as Senator Santorum recited an incident in which a young lady decided not to have an abortion after watching Senator Santorum speak on television against a proposed bill on partial birth abortion.