Written by Fr. Michael Sweeney, OP, on January 2020 at the Induction in the College of Fellows
Michael Grace, husband and father, attorney, Knight of Malta, the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology salutes you:
In his homily to the pastoral workers of the Diocese of Rome in May, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI stated:
it is necessary to improve pastoral structures in such a way that the co-responsibility of all the members of the People of God in their entirety is gradually promoted, with respect for vocations and for the respective roles of the consecrated and of lay people. This demands a change in mindset, particularly concerning lay people. They must no longer be viewed as "collaborators" of the clergy but truly recognized as "co-responsible", for the Church's being and action, thereby fostering the consolidation of a mature and committed laity.
You have made it your personal mission to promote the lay vocation in the Church by “fostering the consolidation of a mature and committed laity”.
An attorney by profession, you have gained the respect of the legal community for your work on intellectual property and in international business. In addition to your leadership in the legal profession, you have generously offered your expertise and counsel for the sake of the Catholic community, serving as a director of the Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, and member of the Board of Governors of Thomas Aquinas College.
Your zeal for the faith has led you to pursue advanced degrees in theology, holding the Masters Degree of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology and the Licentiate of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. While continuing to pursue your work in the legal profession, you have accepted teaching appointments for seminarians in Rome and at St. John’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
A lay member of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, you accepted election as President of the Western Association in 2018, guiding the 800 members of the Order of Malta in the Western United States. You have promoted the significance of lay membership in the life of the Order and have emphasized the significance of lay leadership in the Order’s governance, worldwide.
You have written that the full dignity of the Royal Priesthood “will be realized, and the Church begin to flourish as never before, when laypersons receive the formation befitting their nature and accept the responsibility for full membership in the Church in accord with their charisms and experience.” This commitment well expresses the hope of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology for its lay alumni, of whom you are among its most distinguished members, and we are delighted that you have consented to be numbered among the Fellows of our school.