Msgr. Eugene O’Connor Recognized by Spring Hill College
May 28, 2009
Mobile, AL – Rev. Msgr. Eugene O’Connor, V.F., pastor at St. Barnabas Church, was honored by Spring Hill College at a dinner on April 18 for his support of the graduate theology programs, offered in conjunction with the Birmingham Diocese since 1990.
Msgr. O’Connor received the Portier Award named in honor of Mobile’s first bishop, Michael Portier. The criteria for the award recipient is defined as a person who has made significant contributions toward advancing the mission of the graduate programs in theology and ministry but is not a graduate of the program.
During the early years of the Birmingham program, when classes were held at the Diocesan headquarters at St. Thomas on the Hill, O’Connor generously offered to house the Spring Hill faculty, who had traveled to Birmingham to teach, at the St. Barnabas rectory. Staying at the rectory was a huge advantage for the faculty because of its proximity.
“Msgr. O’Connor’s generosity did not stop at providing a room,” said Dr. Timothy Carmody, professor of theology and past director of the graduate programs at Spring Hill. “He opened his home, by sharing his Friday evening and Saturday morning meals with us. His interest in the courses being offered in Birmingham, developments in Mobile at the Archdiocese, and theology in general always led to stimulating conversations. Even after the Diocesan headquarters moved to its current location on 3rd Avenue, he continued to offer faculty the option of staying at St. Barnabas. Msgr. O’Connor is a true friend to the college, and the graduate program at the diocese.”
In addition to Msgr. O’Connor and Dr. Carmody, Sr. Marie Leonard, O.S.B., director of lay ministry at the Diocese and extension director for Spring Hill, and Rosemary Gagliano, director of religious education at St. Barnabas and a graduate of Spring Hill’s Master of Theological Studies program, and her husband, were present at the celebration. The award was announced in November during the annual graduate theology homecoming festivities.
Spring Hill College is the oldest college in Alabama and the third oldest of the 28 Jesuit Catholic institutions of higher education in the U.S. Its theology and ministry programs are offered in Jackson, Miss.; Atlanta, Ga.; and Birmingham, Ala.; in addition to the main campus in Mobile. For more information on these programs visitor call (800) 524-8957.