This year’s award is presented to Dr. Kathleen E. Carey for representing the core values of Pius X throughout a career that continues to be marked by excellence, faith, integrity, and humble service.
The contributions of Kathleen E. Carey Ph.D. to the post Vatican II Catholic Church have enriched the spiritual lives of countless people. As a Director of Liturgy and as an educator, Kathy was among the first to bring the theology and practice of the Second Vatican Council to communities around the country. At local, archdiocesan, and national levels alike, her work has yielded a wealth of joyful celebrations, deep insights, and life-changing experiences in the context of Catholic liturgy, and it continues even today to inspire many whose lives she has touched.
After her graduation from Pius X in 1965 and from the College of St. Mary in 1968, Kathy taught in the Omaha Catholic schools. She spent her summers studying at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota under some of the most prominent theologians of the day. In 1979, she received the degree of Master of Arts in Theology and Liturgical Studies from St. John’s. One of the areas of expertise she gained there was in the newly-emerging Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. (RCIA)
In the years following, Kathy served as Director of Liturgy and Coordinator of RCIA for parishes in Alamosa and Longmont, Colorado, and on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In these communities, she created and facilitated worship for both children and adults, recruited and prepared ministers of Eucharist and of the Word, developed small faith communities, initiated the RCIA process, and instructed staff and parishioners in every aspect of liturgical life.
In 1986, she was named Director of the Office of Worship, Art and Music for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. There, she brought her considerable skills to the archdiocesan level in sacramental theology, RCIA, and catechetical ministry, serving a vast community from diverse cultural backgrounds. Her work ranged from planning ceremonies for the Archbishop to preparing individuals in ministry to the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned. She was also a member of the Interfaith Committee for the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. A highlight of her service in San Francisco was her position as Co-director of the Liturgy for the Papal Visit of Pope John Paul II in 1987—a celebration of national importance which St. John Paul himself personally assured her was “beautiful”!
Kathy received her PhD in Philosophy and Religion in 2001 from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her dissertation topic was: “The Journey Beyond Christian Initiation: Mystagogia, Women Living the Mystery of Faith.”
Seeking a return to parish life, Kathy next served as Liturgy Coordinator in Burlingame, California; and at parishes in San Francisco, including 4 years at San Francisco’s Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, where she again directed Archdiocesan celebrations. Her final diocesan assignment was as Director of the Office of Worship and Spiritual Life for the Diocese of Pueblo, Colorado, where, in addition to her liturgical work, she taught World Religions at Colorado State University.
Now retired, Kathy does volunteer work and serves on the Board of Directors of the St. Vrain Historical Society of Longmont, Colorado. Her lifelong stewardship of Catholic knowledge, prayer, and celebration marks her as richly deserving of this award.