Role of Law Award Citation
The Reverend Monsignor John J. M. Foster
At every annual convention since 1973, the Canon Law Society of America has recognized one of its members with the Role of Law Award, the Society’s highest honor. The Board of Governors selects the recipient based on his or her (1) embodiment of pastoral attitude, (2) commitment to research and study, (3) participation in the development of law, (4) a response to needs or practical assistance, and (5) facilitation of dialogue and the interchange of ideas within the Society and with other groups.
This year’s recipient was born and raised in the upper Midwest, attending public schools until the third grade and then switching to Catholic schools through the completion of college. Our honoree was both a high school valedictorian and college valedictorian. Discerning that he was not called to the priesthood, our colleague became a National Defense Education Fellow in the counseling psychology program at Colorado State University. As a fellow, he interned at the VA hospital in Palo Alto, California before earning both masters and doctoral degrees in psychology.
Following the completion of his training in psychology, tonight’s honoree served as an assistant professor of psychology and director of the Counseling Center at Clarke College before moving to Loras College, where he rose to be an associate professor of psychology and education and Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students. His résumé in the field of psychology highlights his chairmanship of the Iowa Board of Psychology from 1984 through 1990 and again in 2008 and his service as vice president and president of the Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. In 1995, our honoree served as the general secretary of the First International Conference on Licensure, Certification, and Credentialing of Psychologists in New Orleans. Named a fellow of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards in 1993, he received the Association’s Morton Berger Award in 1996.
Taking the Divine Master at his word to place his talents at the service of the Church, the recipient of this year’s Role of Law Award started his studies for the JCL at the Catholic University of America in 1994. He sat directly behind me in class during the two summers we studied together. In fact, our honoree was the first person I ever heard use the term 1095—as if he knew what he was talking about. Come to find out, he did!
Graduating from CUA in 1998 with a licentiate in canon law, our colleague has served this Society as the chair of the Marriage Research Committee, on the Board of Governors as secretary and consultor, and on tribunal review teams. He has used his education, training, and experience in psychology in numerous presentations at national and regional canon law meetings; as an advocate, promoter of justice, and judge in penal cases; and as a peritus, assessor, and judge in marriage cases. His publications in both psychology and canon law are numerous.
In 1979, tonight’s honoree was ordained as a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Since then, he has served as the assistant director and director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate in Dubuque. At the national level, he has served as the treasurer and secretary of the National Association of Diaconate Directors.
For the first time, the Role of Law Award is presented to a permanent deacon—and a most worthy one at that. Please join me in congratulating Deacon Gerald Jorgensen.