School presents Archbishop Kurtz with award

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz accepts a surprise leadership award presented by St. Xavier High School President Dr. Perry Sangalli. The award honored the archbishop's leadership efforts as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz accepts a surprise leadership award presented by St. Xavier High School President Dr. Perry Sangalli. The award honored the archbishop’s leadership efforts as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

At St. Xavier High School’s Dec. 2 Mass to celebrate its Blue Ribbon Award and its patron’s feast day, school administrators also honored Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz.

The school presented him with a surprise award for his leadership in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archbishop Kurtz completed a three-year term as president of the U.S. bishops last month. Prior to that, he served a three-year term as vice-president of the conference.

During his homily, the archbishop reflected on “handing the baton” to his successor as president, and noted the recent national elections.

“Anytime there’s something new, there are challenges. But there are also new opportunities,” he said.

At the fall meeting of the bishops’ conference, which took place days after the Nov. 8 presidential election, he noted, two things stood out. One, the archbishop said, is a need to begin with constructive dialogue. And secondly, the need to promote the common good, which he described as an environment in which every person is able to thrive.

“There are people in our country now that need a protective voice. … I have spoken up very much on the child in the womb and on people like my brother Georgie, who had Down syndrome.

“But, we now also have to speak up for people who may be frightened because they’ve come to the United States as refugees or as immigrants,” he said. “They are gifts to us. … As I said publicly, we need to be humane as we seek to be safe. We do both.”

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