On Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 15 Catholics will receive the Archbishop’s Vatican II Award for Distinguished Service for outstanding contributions to the Church and society. A prayer service and award ceremony will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 812 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee, 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, with a dessert reception to follow.
The Vatican II awards were established in 1991 to honor men, women and young adults who exemplify the Catholic Church’s vision set forth in the Second Vatican Council.
To read the media release about this year's recipients, please click here.
The recipients of the 2012 Vatican II Awards are:
Service in Administration – Mark G. Doll – St. Eugene Parish, Fox Point
After a 40-year career with Northwestern Mutual, Mark Doll retired from his position as chief investment officer this past June. Today, he continues his role as chair of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Finance Council, providing financial and governance advice to Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki in the management of the archdiocese.
Service to the Church – Sr. Mary Elizabeth Cullen, DC
As a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Sr. Mary Elizabeth Cullen has been instrumental in helping minister to the poor and vulnerable in southeastern Wisconsin. She also helped to establish the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton dental clinic. A collaborative program sponsored by Columbia St. Mary’s, the clinic provides care to impoverished people who don’t have access to a dentist.
Service in Communication – Matthew Beardsley – St. Mary Parish, Port Washington
For nearly 20 years, Matthew Beardsley has been living his faith as a radio technician and producer for the Milwaukee branch of Relevant Radio. Helping to produce and air radio programs such as Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki’s “Living Our Faith,” and the weekly Mass broadcast for homebound Catholics from the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee, are just two of the many ways Matthew and Relevant Radio are serving fellow Catholics in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Service in Ecumenism – Steven Shippee, Ph.D – St. Augustine of Hippo Parish, Milwaukee
Dr. Shippee is an associate professor of Systematic Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners. In addition to teaching courses in ecumenism and world religions, he is also the co-founder and chairperson of the School’s Ecumenical Interreligious Task Force.
“Jesus’ own prayer to the Father in John 17, ‘that we may live as one’ (‘ut unum sint’), is my greatest motivation,” Dr. Shippee added. “It reminds me that all of our work for unity is rooted, ultimately, in the eternal unity of the Father and the Son.”
Service in Education – Sr. Coletta Dunn, OSF – St. Francis Convent, St. Francis
Sr. Coletta Dunn, OSF, has led a varied background in education, holding teaching positions on the elementary, high school and college levels. For nearly 50 years, she was a professor of theology at her alma mater, Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, where she initiated and taught Religious Ethical Principles for the Health Sciences. She also worked at Sacred Heart School of Theology, Hales Corners, and is a published writer, twice co-authoring special education programs to assist pastors, catechists, parents and families in the Christian formation of persons with disabilities. This year Sr. Coletta will retire from the university after 48 years of service.
Service to Families – Miguel and Susana Crespo, Jr. – St. Anthony Parish, Milwaukee
Miguel and Susana Crespo, Jr. have embraced the Catholic Church’s teachings by integrating it in their lives on a daily basis. As leaders in the Engaged Enrichment Retreats for Spanish-speaking couples, Susana teaches Natural Family Planning, and Miguel presents Blessed Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body.”
Service in Liturgy – Michael Novak – Ascension Parish, Oak Park, Illinois
After moving to Wisconsin more than 20 years ago, Michael Novak spent three years devoted to Marquette University’s Campus Ministry and eight years in the Office for Prayer and Worship of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, acting as director four of those years. His work for the archdiocese focused on formation for Christian Initiation ministry and liturgical ministry, and encouraging the inclusion of multicultural aspects in archdiocesan celebrations.
Mike also served in liturgical and music ministry at various parishes within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Today, he continues to present talks and workshops on liturgy, music and the sacraments, in parish and school settings around the archdiocese.
Service to the Missions – Dr. Peter L. Emer – St. Anne Parish, Pleasant Prairie
In January 2012, Dr. Emer joined 25 fellow volunteers from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, including fellow Vatican II Award recipient Dr. Victor Stephen Slana, in setting up a makeshift eye clinic at La Sagrada Familia, the archdiocese’s sister parish in the Dominican Republic. During a three-day period, more than 850 locals were recommended for glasses, underwent cataract surgery or received various medications for eye infections.
Service to the Missions – Victor Stephen Slana, M.D. – St. Mary Parish, Kenosha
In January 2012, Dr. Victor Stephen Slana traveled to the Dominican Republic with 25 volunteers, including fellow Vatican II Award recipient Dr. Peter Emer, to serve the people of La Sagrada Familia, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s sister parish. Much like the story of Jesus and the blind man, Dr. Slana, an ophthalmologist, restored “sight to the blind” by performing 45 cataract eye surgeries.
Service to the Priesthood – Reverend Melvin Michalski
Reverend Melvin Michalski is a professor emeritus of Systematic Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology, Franklin. Previously, he served at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary as an assistant professor of Systematic Studies (1981-2006), vice-rector (2003-2006) and interim academic dean (2005-2006).
The Archbishop’s Consultation on Theological Issues (1991-1997), the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (1990-1993) and the Archdiocesan Council of Priests (2004-2005) also benefited from the direction of Fr. Michalski.
A founding member of the Committee on Christian Muslim Dialogue of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Concerns Office, he was a member of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission (1997-2000).
Service to the Priesthood – Very Reverend James Schuerman
Very Reverend James Schuerman has served as a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for the past 26 years, and believes that the story of Jesus’ call to the fishermen reflects his own personal experience and call to ministry. Ordained in May of 1986, throughout the years Fr. Schuerman has served as a pastor, associate pastor, spiritual director and administrator in Milwaukee, Lake Geneva, Delavan and the Dominican Republic.
Service in Society – Sr. Mary Jo Kahl, FSM – St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Milwaukee
Sr. Mary Jo Kahl, FSM, is a nurse care manager for SET Ministry, a Milwaukee community-based health and human services agency that serves children, families, adults and seniors who are experiencing the effects of systemic poverty. Throughout the nearly 60 years she’s spent as a religious sister, she has managed to work in nearly every societal ministry available.
John Paul II Youth Award – Kimberly VanBeek
St. Patrick Parish, Whitewater and St. Mary Parish, Mayville
Kimberly VanBeek is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. For two years in college, Kimberly was on the leadership team for the Catholic Student Coalition (CSC), a nationwide organization that strives to empower students to further the mission of the Catholic Church through spiritual, educational and leadership opportunities. She also served as the liturgical ministry coordinator and sacristan for Sunday night student Masses at St. Patrick Parish, Whitewater for two years, and was the coordinator for the CSC’s fundraiser.
John Paul II Youth Award – Freddie Pettigrew, Jr. – St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Milwaukee
Freddie Pettigrew, Jr. attends Riverside University High School in Milwaukee, where he is entering his senior year. The youth representative on his parish council, his responsibilities include informing members about upcoming youth events and keeping them abreast of possible issues concerning youth within the parish.
Freddie Jr. assists in planning youth group events and retreats, and often helps with the Saturday religious education program for grade school children. He has been the leader of the children’s Christmas Play and Passion Pageant, and volunteers regularly with his parish youth group at the House of Peace in Milwaukee, a Capuchin Franciscan Ministry, for their annual holiday food drive.
The following is a list of previous Vatican II Award recipients: