Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Tom Tracy - Florida Catholic
BOYNTON BEACH | At the conclusion of its annual Friends of the Seminary Mass, held virtually this year due to the pandemic, St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary announced the recipients of its annual award.
Three persons were honored with the 2020 St. Vincent de Paul Award for exemplary dedication to the seminary's mission: the late Father Gerald Grace; Msgr. Christopher Schreck; and Father Michael McNally.
The new rector/president, Father Alfredo Hernandez, announced the awards following the Mass at St. Vincent Chapel celebrated by Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, the seminary's chancellor, with Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer of Atlanta concelebrating. The homilist was the seminary's former rector/president, now Bishop David L. Toups of the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas.
Father Grace was ordained June 13, 1965, at St. Patrick’s College, Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland, and studied at Manhattan College in New York and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome, receiving degrees with distinctions. He also received a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University in 1975.
He was incardinated into the then-Diocese of Miami in 1965 and later became a priest of the newly established Diocese of Palm Beach (formed in 1984). In July 1976, he was appointed to the teaching staff of St. Vincent de Paul Seminary, where he continued to serve until 1993.
In 1994, Father Grace was appointed parochial vicar of St. Vincent Ferrer, Delray Beach. He was named pastor of St. Lucy Parish in Highland Beach in September 1996 and retired in April 2017. He died Aug. 10, 2018 at the age of 78.
Msgr. Christopher J. Schreck, a priest of the Diocese of Savannah and pastor of St. William Parish in Simons Island, Georgia, has served as the 16th rector/president of the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio, as well as professor of sacred scripture in the School of Theology (2012-2019).
He devoted more than 30 years to seminary education and administration, first as academic dean, associate professor, and professor of sacred scripture at St. Vincent de Paul, and subsequently as professor of sacred scripture and vice rector at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Philadelphia.
Since 1978, Msgr. Schreck has taught and given conferences and workshops in pre-ordination and post-ordination formation programs for permanent deacons, as well as continuing formation programs in numerous dioceses.
Father Michael J. McNally, a priest of the Diocese of Palm Beach, was ordained in 1973 after receiving a bachelor's degree, and master's degrees in divinity and theology, from St. Vincent de Paul Seminary. He went on to receive a master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Notre Dame.
Father McNally taught at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami from 1975 to 1979, St. Vincent de Paul from 1982 to 1993, and St. Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia from 1993 to 2005.
He was appointed pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist Church in Fort Pierce in 2005, serving there until his retirement in 2018. Since then, he has served as chaplain to the Poor Clare Nuns at San Damiano Monastery in Fort Myers Beach.
Father McNally is the premier Catholic historian of Florida and a prolific author of book reviews, scholarly articles, and books. He recently published a biography of Bishop John Moore titled: “John Moore: Catholic Pastoral Leadership During Florida's First Boom, 1877-1901” (Jacksonville, FL: Diocese of St. Augustine, 2020). He is also the author of: “Catholic Parish Life on Florida's West Coast,” 1860-1968 (St. Petersburg, FL: Catholic Media Ministries, 1996) and Catholicism in South Florida, 1868-1968 (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1984).