In between all the sad news about the death of Cardinal Dulles, you may have missed some wonderful news about one of his Jesuit brothers. John Foley, SJ, the founder of the Cristo Rey network of schools (providing education, funded in part by work-study jobs, for poor youths across the country) was honored on December 10, with the Presidential Citizens Medal at the White House.
Here is the explanation of the accolade from the Cristo Rey website: "The Presidential Citizens Medal was established in November, 1969 to recognize U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for the nation. Bestowed by the President, it is our nation’s second highest civilian honor, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Past recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal include Henry “Hank” Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Elizabeth Taylor, Senator Bob Dole, and pioneering HIV researcher Dr. David Ho."
The White House citation reads: "Father John Foley has successfully reached some of our Nation’s most vulnerable youth and instilled in them a love of learning. Through his spiritual leadership of a faith-based education system that partners with the community, he has provided opportunities for young people to achieve their dreams. The United States honors Father John Foley for his commitment to helping his fellow citizens lead lives of integrity and achievement."
The Cristo Rey network is one of the greatest successes begun by American Jesuits in recent years. We salute Father Foley for this recognition and his accomplishments, ad majorem Dei gloriam.
James Martin, SJ