- Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, PCPA
- Rev. Scott Binet, M.D.
- Br. David Buer
- Bishop Ellis Chacour
- Captain Paul K. Chappell
- Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF, PHD.
- Franciscan Connection of St. Louis, Missouri
- Char Hipp SFO
- Immaculee Ilibagiza
- Deacon Mark Keely
- Gaylord A. Nelson
- Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, OFM, Cap.
- Jim O’Neill, SFO and Barbara O’Neill, SFO
- Alan Ouimet SFO
- Jeffrey Raymond Proulx, SFO (Deceased)
- Fr. Regis Scanlon OFM Cap.
- Fr. Paschal D. Siler, OFM Cap.
- Stephanie Sormane SFO
- Starcross Community of Annapolis, CA
- Fr. John Stowe
- Reta Tombaugh
- Ron Wakefield
- By Saint Margaret of Cortona Fraternity of Secular Franciscans, Las Vegas, Nevada:
- By Saint Anthony Fraternity of Secular Franciscans, Tucson, Arizona:
PERSONAL HISTORYChacour was born on 29 November 1939 in the village of Bir’am, in the upper Galilee of Palestine to a Palestinian Christian family of the Melkite Catholic Church, the Byzantine Eastern rite church in communion with Rome. When he was eight years old Chacour and his entire village were evicted by Israeli soldiers during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and became refugees in their own land. The Chacour family fled with most residents of Bir’am to Jish, a neighboring village in the Galilee. After two years of legal appeals to the government of Israel, the residents of Bir’am were allowed to return in order to celebrate Christmas in their original homes. But in September 1953, the Israeli military destroyed the village just before the refugees tried to return. As they reached the top of the hills overlooking their village, they could see the smoke rising from their former homes.
The Chacour family placed a premium on education and remained close to the church. By the age of eleven, Elias was convinced he wanted to become a priest. After completing his primary and secondary education in Haifa and Nazareth he was sent to Paris by the Melkite Church where he studied for the priesthood, graduating with a degree in theology and biblical studies from the Sorbonne University in 1965. A few months after completing the degree Chacour was ordained a priest in the Melkite Catholic Church and was promptly sent by his bishop to the village of Ibillin. It was envisioned as a temporary one-month transition, but has now become a lifetime assignment.
In 1968 Chacour received his master’s degree in Bible and Talmudic studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the first Palestinian Arab to receive such a degree in that department. Returning to Ibillin, he concentrated on the youth of Ibillin, establishing a youth center and summer camp in addition to his regular priestly duties at the church. However, Chacour noted that his ministry would need to be enlarged beyond that of a village priest. From his own youth, Chacour knew that most of the Arab villages did not have adequate schools, libraries, or playgrounds, and that a university education was beyond the reach of over 90 percent of the population. With over 50 percent of the Palestinian Arabs in the Galilee under sixteen years of age, Chacour decided to focus his educational mission on several Arab villages in central Galilee, such as Jish, Tarshiha, Mi’liya, Shefa Amr, and Isifya, in addition to Ibillin. Within three years he established kindergartens, public libraries, tutorial programs, and youth centers in the six villages. Additionally, each summer he organized regional youth camps that involved up to five thousand youth.
Chacour completed his Ph.D. in ecumenical theology at the University of Geneva (Switzerland) in 1971 and again returned to focus on his work in Ibillin and the neighboring Galilean towns. After several years of planning, fund-raising, construction, and appeals to the Israeli Ministry of Education for a building permit, Chacour opened the Mar Elias High School with eighty students in 1982, but without a building permit. Chacour’s persistence, combined with international pressure from his many friends in Europe and North America, eventually secured the permit and official status for the school. Enrollment has steadily grown to approximately fifteen hundred students, with the high school receiving numerous academic awards, including taking first place in the Hebrew language (10th and 11th grades) in the entire country of Israel in 2003.
In 1984 Chacour published his first book, Blood Brothers, which describes his personal journey from the time of his expulsion from Bir’am to the process of building Mar Elias High School. The volume has been translated into twenty-seven languages.
Chacour was elected in 2006 as the Melkite Catholic bishop of the Galilee. The Melkite Catholic community represents the largest body of Christians in the Holy Land with the majority living in the Galilee.
INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS
THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE
Beginning in 1995, Chacour’s vision for additional institutions of higher learning began to be fulfilled with the opening of Mar Elias Technological College in October 1995. The college was fully accredited by the Israeli Ministry of Education and authorized to offer degrees in education and computer technology. In 1997 the Mar Elias Resource Center opened, offering both training and resources for educators throughout Galilee, also the first for the Arab population. In the fall of 1998 another school was added to the growing Mar Elias group as the Mariam Bawardi Elementary School opened with the first-grade class. Each year a grade has been added with the full six grades now in full operation.
The next stage of the vision was realized in October 2003 as the college became Mar Elias University, the first Arab Christian university in Israel. Mar Elias offers three degree programs with U.S. accreditation as a branch of the University of Indianapolis. The university continues to serve the four religions of the Holy Land: Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze, and its faculty also represents the four religions. The university received accreditation from the Israeli Ministry of Education’s Committee on Higher Education, with authorization to grant degrees in computer science, communications and marketing, and environmental science and chemistry.
In April 2002 Chacour authored his third book, J’ai foi en nous , published by Hommes de Parole, Paris. The international awards continued, such as the prestigious Peacemaker in Action Award in August 2002 from the Tannenbaum Center for Inter-religious Understanding in New York City. In December 2002 he was awarded the Dante Alighieri Peace and Human Rights Award in Rome. In 2003 Chacour was appointed by the Vatican as consultant to the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and later received the Prix Meditérranée pour la Paix from the Accademia del Mediterraneo, Naples, Italy. On 20 May 2003 he was voted Man of the Year by the Lions Club of Israel.
The next building on the Mar Elias campus was a long-term dream of Chacour, realized in the fall of 2005 with the opening of the Church of the Sermon on the Mount. The majestic sanctuary is a testimony to peace, reconciliation, and the inclusion of all religions and people. The church quickly became the center of the burgeoning campus of the Mar Elias Educational Institutions. Later in 2005 Chacour received the coveted Americas First Freedom Award in Richmond, Virginia.
6. Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF, PHD.
12. Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, OFM, Cap.
Founder of Franciscan Family Apostolate (FFA) and continues to operate it today.
93 Country Way
Madison CT 06443
email@example.comFollowing is from the website:The FFA was founded in 1971 by Alan Ouimet, SFO. For the first 8 years, Alan worked with a parish priest in India whom he contacted through a mutual friend. The organization came to the attention of the, then, Msgr. Peter Chenaparampil who was forming a Bishop's Relief Fund in the Alleppey Diocese. It was at that time that Msgr. Peter asked the Canossian sisters to provide a member of their community to oversee the program in India, a post which they continue to fill today. When Msgr. Peter was elevated to Bishop of the diocese, the FFA moved forward with him. Today, Bishop Stephen Athipozhiyil continues to give his support to the activities of the FFA to relieve the distress of the poor in his diocese.
St. Conrads has been sponsoring a family for more than 10 years. Our first family became self-sufficient. We are now supporting a second family.
Secretary, St. Conrad's Fraternity
The following person is nominated as a recipient of the NAFRA Peace Award: Alan Ouimet. He has been an SFO since 1967.
Alan is Founder and President of the Franciscan Family Apostolate which cares for the destitute in India. (You can view the Franciscan Family Website.) He is the founding director of Heart2Heart USA, Inc. which cares for HIV/AIDS children in Kenya. Alan is also the founding director of the Connecticut Urban Education Fund which cares for at-risk children in New Haven, CT.
Joan Geiger, Minister, in the name of the Tau Cross Region, makes this nomination.
Father Paschal is the pastor of St. Labre Mission to the Northern Cheyenne people in Montana. He has ministered to the Cheyenne people for nearly three decades. Despite being past retirement age (he will turn 77 in August) and coping with diabetes, Father Paschal drives many miles to serve three widespread parishes on the reservation, due to a lack of priests. This includes his regular 240-mile round trip to visit the sick in the hospital. During the severe Montana winters, these drives are hazardous.
In February students at the St. Labre Indian School honored Father Paschal for his long and continued commitment to them and to the Cheyenne Native Americans. He is a well-loved pastor to a community too often afflicted by broken families, addictions, unemployment and poverty.
Throughout his life Father Paschal has followed in Christ's footsteps, emulating St. Francis, by freely pouring out his own life in love and service to those on the margins of American society. Father Paschal offers his flock the only true peace, the "peace which passes understanding", the "peace which the world cannot give."
We first met Father Paschal in the early 1980s in Saudi Arabia where he was an undercover priest. (Many Americans do not know that the practice of any religion other than Islam is forbidden in that country.) Father Paschal brought the sacraments to the Catholics at the American Embassy. At great personal risk, he also celebrated clandestine Masses for the larger expat Catholic community in Saudi Arabia. His ministry was a great source of comfort and strength to Catholics far from home. Finally he was arrested celebrating Mass with Filipino dockworkers, held in a warehouse at the seaport of Jeddah. He was jailed, initially denied access to American consular officers, treated disrespectfully, and deported weeks later.
In earlier years Father Paschal served in his order's soup kitchen in Milwaukee, providing for the homeless and destitute in that city. From 1966 to 1974 he was the Vice Postulator for the cause of canonization of Venerable Solanus Casey, a member of the same order.
We heartily recommend to the committee Father Paschal D. Siler for the 2010 Peace Award. He is a model to all, and particularly to all Franciscans, of someone who daily lays down his life for God's people. Old age, disease and weather do not deter this priest!
Submitted by Brian and Susan Majewski, SFO (Holy Family Fraternity, Manassas, VA)
Address: 9369 Dahlia Ct., Manassas, VA 201110
Phone: (703) 895-8018