William J. Kemeza, President of Boston College High School, and the St. Ignatius Award Committee are pleased to announce that Christopher Small, class of 1967, of Jamaica Plain, is a recipient of the 2014 St. Ignatius Award, the highest honor bestowed on a graduate of Boston College High School.
On February 14, Michael A. Papile introduced Christopher to an audience of more than 1600 BC High students, alumni, family and friends gathered at the McNeice Pavilion on the Morrissey Boulevard campus.
Papile told the crowd how for the past 44 years Chris has been an advocate for troubled children and their families, first working at the Home for Little Wanderers and the Robert J. Kennedy Children's Action Corps.
“Presently,” said Papile. “Chris is the Executive Director of the Italian Home for Children in Jamaica Plain. The Home is a facility for children from all nationalities and backgrounds ranging in age from four to thirteen who have emotional and behavioral problems, and who are often victims of trauma.
“At the Home Chris has implemented a religious education program because he and his staff strongly believe that the spirital component helps the children in their therapeutic process. With parental or guardian permission, children can attend various services offered on a rotating weekly basis: Catholic Mass offered by Catholic priests, Baptist services offered by the Blue Hill Missionary Baptist Church, the Jubilee Christian Community, the morning Star Baptist Church and St. John Missionary Baptist Church and Non-Denominational services are also provided.
“Should a child come into the Home who requires a special spiritual plan, the staff locates the appropriate place of worship and attends services with the child. Children can also receive the Catholic sacraments of Baptism, First Penance and First Communion. Altar servers are trained, there is a children's choir, and Bible study classes are held four times a week. The Italian Home is the only child welfare organization in the region to have a spiritual program with so much prominence in its organization.
“Chris has been a Keynote speaker throughout the U.S., he has conducted many workshops and training courses, and provided consultation to agencies and organizations on issues related to the residential treatment of vulnerable populations, especially children of trauma. He has been recognized by many child welfare organizations and was the recipient of the George Washington Honor Medal presented by Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for his work with children at Italian Home. Chris Small is truly a 'Man for Others'.”
The St. Ignatius Award Committee is also pleased to recognize three other men this year: Professor Paul Sally '50 of Chicago and Reverend Richard Conway '55 of Dorchester who won the St. Ignatius award and William A. MacNeill of Scituate who won the Shields Medal.
The Saint Ignatius Award is given to graduates of Boston College High School who possess: high moral character, selfless dedication to service without expectation of material reward or public recognition, while adhering to the principles of honesty, justice, compassion and the preservation of human dignity. The Shields Medal honors a non-alumnus of the BC High community for his character and service.
Boston College High School is a Jesuit, Catholic, college-preparatory school for young men founded in 1863. The school enrolls approximately 1300 students from some 100 communities in eastern Massachusetts. For more http://www.bchigh.edu