Carol Fay Honored as Woman of Faith, Woman of Action

December 2013 

The Newark Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women honored Academy of the Holy Angels Religious Studies teacher Carol Fay as this year’s Woman of Faith, Woman of Action Award on December 7th at its annual Christmas luncheon held in Lyndhurst NJ. Each year the NACCW honors a Catholic woman who exemplifies the values of Catholic Social Teaching and a commitment to the works of mercy and justice. NACCW President D. Jean Schneider noted in her letter to Holy Angels notifying the school of Ms. Fay’s nomination, “We honor the example of what women can do by using their special gifts as an expression of their faith.” 

Ms. Fay received her BA in Religious Studies from Seton Hall University and her MA from the former Maryknoll School of Theology. She has served as a teacher and Religious Studies Chairperson at The Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, NJ for the past thirty eight years, where she also acts as moderator for the groups “Just Angels”, AHA’s social justice club and “Music Makers”, its liturgical music leaders. Her passion for social justice and service extend far beyond the classroom. Over the years she has taken students on service immersion trips to Honduras, where in addition to doing service work the students have also been able to study the root causes of poverty. For five years following Hurricane Katrina she led student groups to New Orleans to help in the rebuilding process there but also to be present to the people affected by the storm, to pray with them and to study the systemic injustices that contribute to their suffering. Most recently in the summer of 2013, she and her “Angels” joined forces with Rebuilding Together working to restore homes in Moonachie, New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This coming summer Ms. Fay will be on the road again, taking her students Baltimore, Maryland to work with Catholic Relief Services and then on to Washington, DC to meet with congressional representatives about poverty and hunger policies.

Ms. Fay has worked with Catholic Relief Services, traveling twice to Ghana with their Frontiers of Justice program. She has also been a member of Pax Christi USA and Pax Christi NJ. and served as state coordinator twice. She has also led retreats for Pax Christi, The Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, and for a parish JustFaith program.

Accepting this award, Ms. Fay expressed her appreciation for being honored by NACCW, and acknowledged the work of its members, noting their long association with Catholic Relief Services through the Madonna Plan and Water for Life and Works of Peace and Reconciliation. She concluded her remarks by sharing her some of her personal goals and aspirations, “I am a teacher. It has been my hope to introduce students to a life of faith that is prayerful, and takes seriously the Beatitudes, the works of mercy and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.” Ms. Fay then likened her work to planting seeds. “I am not able to do everything, or even much at all on my own, but I can plant seeds. I can help my students, (whether they be in the religious studies classes at Holy Angels, or at parishes where I have given retreats or lead study groups or elsewhere) to meet the people who will inspire them to compassion, who will energize them for service, who will challenge them to faithfulness, and who will encourage them to be the agents of change toward the Kingdom of God.” 

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