The School of Ministry is presenting its "Dei Verbum" and "Lumen Gentium" Distinguished Alumni Awards to two deserving alumni after the ceremony was delayed nearly a month due to the ice storm in early December 2013. Mary Elizabeth Morgan (center), a Catholic Biblical School graduate from Bossier City, La., was honored with the "Dei Verbum" Award in early January. Lari Newman-Williams of Dallas was given the "Lumen Gentium" Award, an honor bestowed upon an alumnus of the School of Ministry graduate program, on Sunday, Jan. 26.
"With these annual awards, we acknowledge two graduates whose established records of outstanding accomplishment reflect the fruit of theological education for transformative service," said School of Ministry Dean Mark Goodwin. "They have given exemplary service to their local church in general, the work of faith formation in particular and the larger community, especially the poor and in-need."
Mary Elizabeth Morgan graduated from the School of Ministry Catholic Biblical School in 2013 as part of the first class from the Diocese of Shreveport, LA. Mary is a member of Christ the King Parish in Bossier City, LA, and she currently works as a nurse at the Shriners Hospital in that area. Mary is well-known in the diocese as a self-less and caring minister who is generous with her time and energy for the sake of others. Among other commitments, she is active in assisting with RCIA, prison ministry, home visitations, taking food to the poor, working in a free clinic, learning Spanish to better serve the Hispanic community, and doing Pre-Cana at her home parish. Mary and her husband, Bob, have four grown children and six grandchildren.
Lari Newman-Williams graduated with the master of pastoral ministry degree in 2007. After serving many years as a catechetical volunteer in the parish, Newman-Williams now works as a parish administrator at Holy Cross Catholic Church in southeast Dallas. She returned to the classroom as the first student in the School of Ministry's church management program, a joint venture with the University of Dallas Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business. She completed this graduate certificate in 2012.
Newman-Williams serves in her parish as a cantor, liturgist, pastoral council member and volunteer with the youth ministry program. She is integrally involved in the black Catholic community and has chaired the diocesan black Catholic "Come Home for Christmas" initiative. In 2012, she was awarded the Servant of Christ Award in recognition of outstanding leadership and service to the African American Catholic community of Dallas. In 2013, she demonstrated her continued support for her alma mater when she began working on a research project on contemporary parish life with undergraduate pastoral ministry majors at the School of Ministry. Newman-Williams and her husband Ronnie have been married for 31 years. They have one daughter, Annelle.
*image of Lari Newman-Williams courtesy of Michael Roberts*