Annual CAPP Breakfast Celebrates Longtime Catholic Educator

News Story: January 20, 2017

Sr. Mary Grace Walsh and
Bishop Frank Caggiano

Longtime Catholic educator Sr. Mary Grace Walsh, provost for education at the Archdiocese of Hartford, is this year’s honoree for Sacred Heart University’s Ninth Annual Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice (CAPP) Educator’s Breakfast.

Walsh will receive the Educator of the Year award at a breakfast in SHU’s University Commons on Sunday, March 12, and Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will be the keynote speaker. The event, which will begin with Mass at 9 a.m. at SHU’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit, is co-sponsored by CAPP and SHU’s Isabelle Farrington College of Education. The homilist at Mass will be Rev. Robert M. Kinnally, director of Vocations for the Diocese of Bridgeport and SHU trustee.

As provost of Catholic education, evangelization and catechesis in the Archdiocese of Hartford, Walsh is responsible for the continuation of Catholic education. She is also responsible for the supervision and coordination of the offices that serve Catholic schools; faith formation programs for children; youth and young adult ministry; adult faith formation in Catholic schools and parishes; Hispanic catechesis; the Hartford Catholic Biblical School; campus ministry in the archdiocese’s high schools, colleges and universities, and the permanent diaconate program.

In addition, she recently became president of St. Thomas Seminary, responsible for its academic administration and accreditation. She serves on a number of boards and councils, and before assuming her responsibilities in Hartford, she was the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Walsh has been a defender of Catholic education, especially in times of economic recession and state cutbacks. Her commitment to Catholic social teaching extends to higher education. During her time in Bridgeport, she was the diocesan liaison to Fairfield University and SHU, where she served as community representative on the Institutional Review Board.

Born and raised in New Haven, Walsh was one of four children. She attended St. Aedan School and then went to Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden for high school. She entered the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus immediately after graduation. Walsh earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Albertus Magnus College, a master’s degree in educational administration from St. Louis University and a doctorate in educational administration and church leadership from Fordham University.

Caggiano will celebrate Mass before the breakfast and then, after Walsh receives her award, he will present his keynote address, “The Mission of Catholic Education: To Live the Truth in Love.”

Caggiano, a Brooklyn native, became Bridgeport’s fifth bishop in 2013. Before coming to Bridgeport, he served in Brooklyn. Pope Benedict XVI named him auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn and titular bishop of Inis Cathaig in 2006.

Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice was founded in 1993 to encourage business people, academics and other professionals to study and promote Catholic social teaching. It is named for Pope John Paul’s encyclical of the same name, which marked the 100th anniversary of a landmark papal document on social responsibility, Rerum Novarum. The Diocese of Bridgeport is one of three pioneering dioceses in the United States to establish a chapter.