By Kenneth J. Souza, Anchor Staff
FALL RIVER, Mass. — Father Jay Maddock, V.F., will receive the 2015 Distinguished Pastor Award from the National Catholic Educational Association for his dedication and commitment to excellence.
Father Maddock, who has served as pastor of Holy Name Parish and School in Fall River since July 2010, will be recognized during the annual NCEA Convention and Expo that will take place April 7-9 in Orlando, Fla.
“This is the first full-time assignment I’ve had which has a parish school,” Father Maddock said. “There are many challenges these days in running a parish school but the great benefit they bring to the faith of young people and their families makes it all worthwhile.
“I accept this award on behalf of the countless number of priests, principals, faculties, staffs, parents, grandparents, and benefactors here in the Diocese of Fall River who make so many sacrifices to see the mission of parish schools succeed.”
Pastors, principals and teachers who have demonstrated a strong Catholic educational philosophy as well as exceptional ability, dedication and results, will be honored during the annual awards ceremony. Also being recognized will be home and school associations whose excellent programs are outstanding contributions to Catholic elementary schools.
“Catholic elementary schools have a rich tradition of dedicated pastors who inspire their communities with their leadership,” said Jim King, interim director of the Elementary Schools Department for the NCEA. “These awardees are a blessing to their communities. Catholic education reaches deserving families because of these pastors’ guidance and support.”
“Father Maddock is a highly dedicated and supportive pastor for Holy Name School,” agreed Dr. Michael S. Griffin, superintendent of the Fall River diocesan schools. “He regularly gives of his time to be present at the school, to celebrate Mass with the students and faculty, to recognize student achievements, and to provide Spiritual support and guidance to the school community.”
Griffin noted that Father Maddock’s level of involvement with the school’s advisory board and administration, along with his focus on high academic standards, were among key reasons for this deserving recognition.
“Father Maddock is representative of the many pastors and priests of the diocese who recognize the value of Catholic schools and give of their time and energy to help ensure their future for the benefit of our Church,” he told The Anchor.
Recipients for the NCEA Distinguished Pastor Award were selected from a slate of nominees submitted by teachers, principals, parents, and school board members.
Parent and Holy Name School Advisory Council member Goretti S. Joaquim was among those who nominated Father Maddock for the honor.
“When I initially recommended Father Maddock for the award, one of his strongest characteristics that kept resonating with me was his deeply strong and compassionate commitment to his parishioners, students and everyone he meets,” Joaquim said. “As a council member and parent of a child at Holy Name School, I have seen Father Maddock lead with an upmost level of integrity. His communication skills and his ability to listen and care for those he interacts with are some of his exceptional leadership qualities.
“Father Maddock also has an ability to display a strong positive attitude that is apparent to everyone he meets — to the students at Holy Name School, to the prospective parents at our Open House, and to all his parishioners — he greets everyone with a caring smile and a sincere interest in what they have to say. We are so very lucky to have him at Holy Name and are very happy and proud of this well-deserved recognition.”
Tom Librera, another Holy Name School parent and board member, echoed Joaquim’s sentiments.
“Father Maddock is vital to the continued success of Holy Name School,” Librera said. “He brings together and oversees a variety of voices from the school and parish community to assist in achieving the school’s mission. He is also very active in the day-to-day activities of the school, ensuring that the students receive Spiritual guidance and instruction. Father Maddock doesn’t seek this recognition, but he is certainly most deserving of it.”
“For his outstanding support to Catholic elementary education everyday, I can’t think of anyone who deserves this award more,” agreed Suzanne Lefevre, a teacher at Holy Name School. “Father Maddock’s devotion to Holy Name School is evident in many ways, including his frequent meetings with the principal, his always being available to the faculty, staff, students, and anyone who needs his help and guidance, his regularly providing for the Spiritual needs of the school, and his attendance at all the special activities at the school.”
“Father Maddock is a pastor who witnesses to his faith at all times, is a Catholic role model (and) a wonderful person and priest,” Lefevre said.
NCEA’s annual convention, held this year in collaboration with the Diocese of Orlando, is the largest private education association gathering in the country. It draws participants from all facets of Catholic education, including elementary and secondary schools, Religious Education programs, and colleges and universities. The event features professional development sessions, Liturgies and an exhibition of educational products and services.
Founded in 1904, the NCEA is a professional membership organization that provides leadership, direction and service to fulfill the evangelizing, catechizing and teaching mission of the Church. NCEA’s members include elementary schools, high schools, parish Religious Education programs and seminaries.
“The Catholic Schools Office is very pleased that Father Maddock will be honored for his service by the National Catholic Educational Association and we look forward to the recognition ceremony in April,” Griffin said.
For more information, visit www.ncea.org/convention.