Each year, Our Sunday Visitor— a national Catholic publishing company — recognizes outstanding Catholic leaders from around the country for their contributions to the church and society throughout the year.
This year in particular, OSV looked for Catholic leaders who answered Pope Francis’ challenge to “echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid and love.”
OSV announced the names of nine leaders Dec. 14 as the 2016 Catholics of the Year, including Bishop Donald Kettler of St. Cloud and Benedictine Sister Michaela Hedican, prioress of the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict in St. Joseph.
Bishop Kettler and Sister Michaela were recognized for their commitment to Christian-Muslim dialogue, most notably for their response in the wake of the mall stabbings Sept. 17 in St. Cloud that injured 10 people.
Bishop Kettler called for prayers for healing, peace and unity the day after the violence. Sister Michaela urged Catholics to follow the Gospel mandate in “loving our neighbor, no matter who our neighbor is.”
OSV acknowledged that the work of these leaders might “serve as inspiration to all the faithful as the church continues to be the face of mercy in the world.”