Catholic Leadership Award
"I have had no major accomplishments in my life," says the recipient of the Catholic Leadership Award. "My biggest accomplishments," he says after 46 years of ordained priesthood, are "having been true to myself and to the people I have been called to serve." All of us wish we might achieve this much in our lives, and in doing so Monsignor George Farland, Class of 1964, has answered his call to follow and imitate Christ, serving as a model of servant leadership.
After graduating from Saint Anselm, Monsignor Farland entered the seminary and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts in 1968. He would go on to earn a Masters in Psychology and a certificate in Advanced Studies in Psychology from Springfield College.
A talented priest and homilist and the pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Springfield where he has served for over four decades, the much beloved "Father George," was named Monsignor by Pope Benedict in 2006. He has faithfully served the people of the Springfield Diocese in a variety of ways beyond his parish, where one is well advised to arrive early in order to get a seat. He served as Chaplain of the Springfield Police Department for 38 years, and as the Director of Psychological Services for priests of the Diocese for over three decades. He has served as a Dean, as Co-Vicar for Clergy and as a Member of the Presbyterate Council, Board of Consultors and as a Trustee of his alma mater, Cathedral High School.
Credited especially for his service to Springfield's Irish community, Monsignor Farland may admit to knowing his way around the green grasses of Springfield's golf courses that occasionally lead to the nineteenth hole, and if it were not contrary to his nature he might boast that he was once the Grand Marshal of Springfield's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
In honoring Monsignor Farland, we heed the words of Sister Alice Kenney who finds in her lifelong friend "the virtues the people of God look for in their priest." He is, she says, "faithful, funny, friendly, holy, and happy."
In this Father George has accomplished much, and we proclaim in the words of Matthew's Gospel: "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23).