This award is given in recognition of outstanding leadership in advancing the FutureChurch mission and vision in one or more of the areas of advocacy, administration, teaching, research, publication, and pastoral service.
In October 1978, in Chicago, Illinois Dan and Sheila Daley organized a group of concerned laity, priests, Catholic school teachers and nuns to urge follow-up on the issues generated by the U.S. Bishops’ 1976 Detroit “Call to Action” conference. The Chicago group chose to focus especially on one conference declaration: “that the Church must stand up to the chronic racism, sexism, militarism and poverty in modern society.” U.S. bishops had distanced themselves from the 1976 conference, due to some of the church-justice issues raised. This Chicago gathering of 400, represented the launch of a local, soon to become a 25,000 strong national church reform organization, called Call To Action (CTA).
The visionary and prophetic leadership of Dan and Sheila Daley, co-founders and co-directors of CTA for thirty years (1978 to 2008) gave birth to a group of Catholics seeking to act out God’s vision in society and hold leaders accountable. Recalling CTA’s early years, Dan said “from it’s inception, Call To Action had a dual focus. One eye was on church institutions that need reform and renewal, and the other eye was on the larger society and issues of justice and peace that ought to have church involvement. The emphasis has shifted from time to time.”
In 1990 the CTA board developed a Call for Reform in the Catholic Church, a pastoral letter that captured the organization's cry for a church responsive to the world's needs and therefore willing to examine its own record on issues of justice, equality and participation. Within a few months, the document attracted thousands of signers, and CTA became a national entity. The Call for Reform remains the organization's basic platform. The Call for Reform also became a seminal document to the 1990 founding of the Cleveland based FutureChurch.
FutureChurch is proud to have collaborated with CTA on projects through the years, including the Call for National Dialogue on the Future of Priestly Ministry, Women in Church Leadership, St. Mary of Magdala celebrations and the Corpus Christi Campaign leading up to the 2005 Synod on the Eucharist. These campaigns educated and advocated about the priest shortage, optional celibacy, loss of Eucharist and the need to address women’s roles in the church.
Building support through the “gathering of the clan” the CTA annual conference, became the place that “gave the opportunity to people who have been silenced or marginalized a place to speak,” states Sheila. CTA conferences remain an incubator for ideas - a place where new ideas can be spoken and challenged.
When asked what they believe has been their greatest accomplishment, Shelia said “I think we have been a very significant support to people who are trying to live out this kind of vision of their Christianity and Catholicism and have felt isolated and alone. Through us, they have found other people that they can gather with who have that similar vision. That is the most important thing.”
“Dan and Sheila are not only the Co-Founders of Call To Action but they could be called co-founders of the Church reform/renewal coalition in the United States. They respected and nurtured the Spirit’s action in an amazing diversity of reform groups springing up like wildflowers across the North American landscape. For thirty years they led with humor, gentleness and a certain savvy wisdom. Their gospel nonviolence created a true culture of reform that will long endure. The U.S. Church, and FutureChurch have been greatly blessed by their leadership.”
Christine Schenk, csj, Executive Director, FutureChurch
“Sheila and Dan Daley founded Call To Action - an organization that serves as a home for thousands of progressive Catholics from across the country. Thanks to them, the church justice movement in the United States was ignited and three decades later, it continues the work of transforming the Catholic Church into a just and inclusive Catholic community. Dan and Sheila are blessings and I rejoice as they receive FutureChurch’s 2011 Father Louis J. Trivison Award for their outstanding lifetime achievement.”
Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director, Call To Action
The Fr. Louis J. Trivision Award will be given to Dan and Sheila Daley at our 21st Annual Benefit on Thursday, October 13, 2011. Click here for tickets to the event.