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(ST. LOUIS) – Aquinas Institute of Theology is pleased to honor His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, as the 2010 recipient of its annual Great Preacher Award. The Great Preacher Award will be presented to Cardinal George on Thursday, October 28, 2010, at Rose of the Hill, 2300 Edwards, in St. Louis.

Aquinas Institute, run by the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), instituted the Great Preacher Award in 1995 to recognize those who by their words and actions have contributed in an outstanding way to the building up of the Catholic community. Aquinas Institute considers the Great Preacher Award a powerful means of renewing the Church and promoting good preaching while sharing its Dominican charism. The award is intended not only to sustain preachers of the Word but also to help Catholics become more attuned to hearing the Word.

Aquinas Institute wishes to honor Cardinal George for his service as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and his work with many of the activities of that body, including his service as a delegate to the 2008 World Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church, the work of which has been to re-affirm the importance of Scripture within the Church. Cardinal George’s appointment by John Paul II to the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples has brought him further into spreading the Gospel through the mission work of the Church. His passion and dedication to his role as pastor are evident in his Episcopal leadership in Chicago, Portland and Yakima.For these reasons and many more, Aquinas Institute recognizes Cardinal George’s work and leadership in preaching through both word and action, and wishes to affirm him in his ministry and hold him up as an example of preaching in its broadest and finest sense.

Born in Chicago in 1937 to Francis J. and Julia R. McCarthy George, he entered the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1957, and was ordained a priest in 1963. After his ordination, he earned a masters degree in philosophy at the Catholic University of America in 1965 and a doctorate in American philosophy at Tulane University. He earned a masters degree in theology from the University of Ottawa in 1971. In 1988, he earned a Doctorate of Sacred Theology in ecclesiology form the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.

Cardinal George was ordained a bishop and installed as the Fifth Bishop of Yakima, Washington in 1990, and was appointed Ninth Archbishop of Portland, Oregon in 1996. Appointed in 1997 as the Eighth Archbishop of Chicago in 1997, he was named Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

Since 2007, Cardinal George has been president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Prior to his presidency, service with the USCCB goes back to 1991, including membership in the USCCB Committee on Liturgy and the ad hoc Committee on Shrines. He also serves as consultant to the USCCB Committees on Doctrine and Pro-Life Activities and the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry.

From 1990 to 2008, he was Episcopal Moderator and member of the board of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities (now known as the National Catholic Partnership on Disability). He brought personal experience to his role after a five-month bout with polio at age 13 left him with permanent damage to his legs.

Cardinal George has written and contributed to many books and articles, publishing on a wide variety of pastoral, theological and philosophical subjects. He is also the publisher of The Catholic New World, Chicago Catolico, and Katolic, the official newspapers of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the October 28, 2010 award dinner, please contact Aquinas Institute of Theology at (314) 256-8857, or e-mail great.preacher@ai.edu.

Aquinas Institute of Theology is a Saint Louis-based Roman Catholic graduate school of theology and ministry administered by the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). Offering both residential and on-line degree programs, Aquinas Institute of Theology is the only Catholic institution in America to offer a Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) degree in preaching.

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