The Dei Verbum Award and the Lumen Gentium Award, which are presented annually, acknowledge two graduates of the School of Ministry whose established records of outstanding accomplishment reflect the fruit of "theological education for transformative service." In particular, these awards honor graduates who have given exemplary service to the local church in general, the work of faith formation in particular, and the larger community, especially the poor and needy. The Dei Verbum Award annually honors a graduate of the Catholic Biblical School, while the Lumen Gentium Award is presented each year to an alumnus of the School of Ministry graduate program.
If you would like to nominate someone for one of our distinguished alumni awards, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in contact with the Nomination Committee.
Read a bit about some of our past distinguished alumni.
Sr. Cruz graduated from the School of Ministry with a master's in pastoral ministry in 2005. She currently serves as vice-chancellor of the Diocese of Fort Worth, and prior to that, she served as Director of Children's Catechesis for the diocese. She has worked in catechetical ministry in several parishes in the Fort Worth, Mexico, and her native New Jersey. A Sister of Saint Mary of Namur, she serves on the provincial council and has worked in a variety of leadership positions within the order. She has done extensive work to promote vocations to religious life, not only for her own community, but more broadly in the local church, assisting with "Come and See" weekends and other discernment programs across diocesan borders.
Mr. O'Connor graduated from the School of Ministry Catholic Biblical School in 2007. An active member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Azle, TX, Bill currently serves as a lector, Eucharistic minister, RCIA catechist and sponsor, director of the altar servers, and member of the Pastoral council and Liturgy committee. Four years ago, Bill began a weekly bible study at the parish, drawing nearly 25 attendees each week from his parish of only 300 families. A rancher by trade, Bill is also very active in the Azle community. He serves on the board of directors for Green Light in Azle, which provides housing and other services to battered women, and he sponsors the Azle Future Farmers of America, FFA, and Beef Show Team, providing cattle, facilities, training, and transportation to Azle youth who would not otherwise have the opportunity to show cattle.
Arnold Picon was ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Dallas in 1992. He serves at St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Plano and throughout the Diocese wherever a Spanish speaking deacon may be needed. He has been Director of Diaconal Ministry and Formation in the Diocese of Dallas since 1997. He coordinates the ministry of deacons in the Diocese and the formation of candidates for diaconal ministry. He also chairs the Deacons' Advisory Council and the Deacons' Personnel Board, serves on the Hispanic Leadership team, and the Landregan Lecture Series Board.
Ms. Tena Allain is a longtime member of St. Ann Catholic Church in Coppell, Texas. Her generosity and skill have been applied in multiple areas of ministry to assist the parish in its mission of proclaiming and living the gospel. A partial list of her accomplishments includes service as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, finance council member, leader of adult mission trips to Mexico, Sunday School catechist, communications director for youth ministry, LifeTeen Parents for Life leader, coordinator of the parish Sunday School, and chair of the parish Pastoral Council.
Elchlepp chairs the Theology Department at Jesuit College Preparatory School, where she has taught since 1994. She has been recognized for excellence in teaching and served in leadership positions of the Jesuit Secondary Education Association, a national coalition of educators serving schools staffed by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Described by colleagues as "indefatigable," Ms. Elchlepp's effort, while always centered on her students, extends to faculty development, curriculum design, and an innovative program of volunteer service for Jesuit alumni. A graduate of Ursuline Academy, she serves the larger community through participation in a variety of charitable and civic organizations. Ms. Elchlepp called her studies at the School of Ministry "a touchstone" in her work with students. "That knowledge has given me a base which I use while interacting with my students as part of the formation of their knowledge and the development of their personal relationship with God."
Castelán, a volunteer Bible study leader at the Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Worth for over ten years, had been helping out at the federal prison on Fort Worth's south side for several years when she began studies in the Catholic Biblical School. That experience opened up the riches of the bible in a new way. "The classes gave me more than just information about the Bible, "Ms. Castelán said. "They helped me know at a new level that God loves us, no matter what. The teachers' love for the Scriptures inspired me to share that deep truth with my brothers in prison." After graduation, she arranged with professors at the School of Ministry to lead a small group of Spanish speaking inmates through the comprehensive curriculum. A long time volunteer for Tarrant County Aids Outreach Center and an ardent supporter of the work of Catholic Charities, Ms. Castelán is also an associate of the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. She also served as an employee of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth for over 20 years.