Distinguished Alumnus Award conferral speech given at the 2008 Alumni Reunion
Delivered on July 29, 2008 by Fr. Brendan Moss, OSB
years, the alumni of Saint Meinrad have gathered on an annual basis to
celebrate their affiliation and love for this place. Eighteen years ago, the alumni association
began honoring deserving alumni as “distinguished” at this annual reunion.
recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award was the late Monsignor Alfred
Horrigan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville and founder of BellarmineUniversity.
recipients of the award are Benedictine Father Theodore Heck; Baltimore Archbishop
William D. Borders; the late Father Jim Sweeney of Indianapolis; Benedictine
Father Boniface Hardin; Monsignor Jack Bendik of the Diocese of Scranton; the
late Monsignor Jerry Neufelder of the Diocese of Evansville; Father Larry
Richardt of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis; musician Charlie Gardner of
Indianapolis; Benedictine Father Cyprian Davis; the late Fr. Bill Deering of
the Diocese of Evansville; and Evansville Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger.
this esteemed alumni association honored its first alumna as
distinguished.We are pleased to note
the presence of that distinguished alumna this evening – Ursuline Sister
Margaret Ann Hagan.Welcome back, Sister
Margaret Ann.We want to thank you for
joining us again this year, as well as your fellow Distinguished Alumni,
Charlie Gardner and Fr. Larry Richardt.
this esteemed alumni association honors its 14th recipient.
Charles Doyle entered
Saint Meinrad in the summer of 1945, just as the Second World War was coming to
a close.He was raised in the small
northern Indiana town of Nappanee, well known for its Amish
population.So well known for its Amish
population was Nappanee that the Doyle family was the only Catholic one in
School in South Bend
before entering Saint Meinrad. Once here
he would serve in a number of leadership roles: Editor of Campus Chatter,
Sacristan, and Student Body Treasurer.
Following ordination, he continued to prove himself as a leader in all
of his assignments – as an elementary school administrator, as a high school
educator, as chaplain at Norman Beatty Mental Hospital, as counselor for
troubled youth at Hoosier Boys Town, as an inner-city pastor, as a civil rights
leader, as a lawyer and public defender, as a death row abolitionist, to name only
To help give
us a clearer picture of the work and ministry of Father Charles Doyle, we have
with us this evening four of his brother priests from the Diocese of Gary. Each one will speak briefly about certain
aspects of Father Doyle’s life. We will
begin with Monsignor
Joe Semancik, a classmate of Father Doyle’s at Saint Meinrad. Monsignor Semancik…
Some of us
may not be aware that Father Doyle also had a career in law. To share a bit about Father Doyle’s service
as a court-appointed public defender and attorney, I am pleased to introduce Father Joe Murphy of
the Ordination Class of 1967.
Doyle was motivated to pursue his law degree as a means of justice for the
incarcerated who had no one else to speak for them.He knew this because of his work as a prison
chaplain.To give us a glimpse into this
area of Fr. Doyle’s ministry, it is my pleasure to call upon Father Tom Mischler
of the Ordination Class of 1981.
addition to all his other ministries, Father Doyle kept a full-time job as
well.For nearly 30 years, he served as
pastor of St. Anne of the Dunes in BeverlyShores.I am pleased to ask his neighboring pastor,Father Jerry
Schweitzer of the Ordination Class of 1971, to share some insight into the
kind of parish pastor Father Doyle was.
Meinrad Alumni Association is not the first to recognize Father Doyle’s
contributions to church and society.A
few of these other recognitions include:
“A Man for All Seasons Award”
from the Academy of Fine Arts of Chicago in 1975.
“Honorary Chaplain to the Indiana House of
Representatives” - 1980.
In 1984, an Indiana House of
Representatives resolution was made recognizing Father Doyle’s services to
the disadvantaged of his community and the state of Indiana.
In 1996, Father Doyle received
The Life Achievement Award from the Indiana Public Defender Council.
He was honored with The
Whittock Award from the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in 1998.
Also in 1998, Father Doyle was
recognized with The Exceptional Lifetime Services Award from the Indiana House
Again in 1998, he was honored with The Sagamore
of the Wabash Award conferred by then-Governor Frank O’Bannon.The Sagamore of the Wabash Award is the
highest honor given by the Governor of Indiana.
Father Doyle received The Humanitarian
of the Year Award from the Michigan City Human Rights Commission in 2001.
As mentioned previously, he
received the Liberty Bell Award from the Michigan City Bar Association in
Father Doyle has been recognized many times for his remarkable
contributions.It is hoped that the
Saint Meinrad Distinguished Alumnus Award will be one of Father Doyle’s most
heard from a number of his brother priests, all of whom have given us fitting
testimony to Father Doyle’s worthiness of this award.There is one more side to Father Doyle that I
would like to share with you, and that is his heart of prayer.
called upon to lead the invocation at the Indiana House of Representatives in
January 1973, Father Doyle proceeded with the following:
this chamber snaps and crackles with power. Its voltage will shortly run out of
here on invisible lines, tingling some, shocking others; warming some, burning
others; until it touches nearly every man, woman and child in this state. Those
most vulnerable to its thrust and most needful of its support are the most
powerless: the guy at Michigan City making license plates; the teenager eating
his starch at Boys School; the woman with the vacant stare weaving potholders
at Beatty Hospital; the welfare mother trying to make $25 last 30 days; the
second grader learning to read with a tattered text.
truly an awesome responsibility – wielding this kind of power. These men and
women have courageously accepted its fearsomeness. Let them now enjoy the light
of Your Wisdom so that in their legislation they may balance caution with
boldness, and a dispassionate study of complicated problems with a human
caring. But most of all, they need compassion in order to help heal the bruises
by which daily brushes with unfairness, injustice and hardship mark us all.
these are divine attributes I am asking for, but nothing less will do the job.
Indeed, amen.Father Doyle, nothing less will do now than
to honor you, and thank you, and present you with Saint Meinrad’s Distinguished