EAST AURORA — Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, diocesan director of Catholic Charities of Buffalo, will deliver the commencement address at Christ the King Seminary on Friday, May 12. The ceremony will be held in the St. John Vianney Chapel at the seminary, beginning at 7 p.m.
Twelve graduates will receive master's degrees and 13 will receive certificates at the event, including eight individuals who will receive certificates in the Hispanic Pastoral Ministry Program offered in conjunction with the Diocese of Buffalo. Several of the graduates will also be ordained to the priesthood or permanent diaconate in the near future. In addition, Sister Mary will receive the degree of doctor of humane letters, honoris causa.
The event is the culmination of years of study for the graduates in areas such as scripture, theology, church history, pastoral ministry and canon law. Students of the graduate program complete as many as 112 credit hours of academic study, up to 12 credit hours of pastoral field education, and extensive personal and spiritual formation to prepare for ministry.
Sister Mary is being honored in recognition of her lifelong commitment as a religious woman, exemplified by her service to those in need throughout Western New York. "It gives us great pleasure to recognize Sister Mary for a lifetime of responding to the Gospel and reaching out to the most vulnerable members of our community," said Father Joseph Gatto, president-rector. "The lives of more than 152,000 individuals in our diocese were impacted during the past year alone by Catholic Charities under Sister Mary's leadership."
In 2010, Sister Mary was appointed the eighth diocesan director of Catholic Charities of Buffalo, the most comprehensive human service organization serving the eight counties of Western New York. She is the first woman religious to serve in the role. Sister Mary is responsible for the annual appeal, and she is involved in mission integration, board development and advocacy for social policy.
During her tenure, she has initiated and directed multiple improvements in the structure and function of the appeal, and developed an advancement-focused department. Her relationship-building efforts with donors has significantly contributed to a 30 percent increase in the average gift per donor since 2010.
She currently serves on the boards of directors of D'Youville College, the Response to Love Center, The Foundation for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, the Diocesan Counseling Center and Delta Development of Western New York.
Though she has served in three other dioceses, Sister Mary has spent most of her life in service to the diocese of Buffalo. Under her leadership as provincial minister of the Stella Niagara Franciscans, the community took over sponsorship of Heart, Love and Soul, a food service and poverty outreach center and began Francis Center, an afterschool education program. Both are in a high poverty area of Niagara Falls.
Sister Mary has been a Sister of St. Francis for 40 years and has served nationally as chair of the research committee of the Franciscan Federation and as a retreat and meeting facilitator nationally and internationally. In 2007, Sister Mary joined the board of trustees of Catholic Charities.