The Dallas Holocaust Museum presented its inaugural Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell Upstander Award to the Cardinal in recognition of his outstanding commitment to human rights and dignity at a special reception at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek on Thursday, Dec. 1.
The new award named in honor of Cardinal Farrell will recognize prominent individuals whose actions are in line with the Museum’s mission to educate school children and adults about the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. The award is one of the Museum’s highest honors.
In videotaped acceptance remarks, Cardinal Farrell, appearing from the Vatican in Rome, said: “I have always believed that we are one human family, and we all have to get together and help each other create a better world for everybody. We all need to love and care for each other.”
On September 1, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Farrell to a new post at the Vatican, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life—focused on the lives of ordinary Catholics around the world—making him the highest-ranking American clergyman serving at the Vatican. Since 2007, he had served as the seventh Bishop of Dallas, as well as the chancellor of the University of Dallas. On November 19, 2016, Pope Francis raised Farrell to the rank of Cardinal.
“Cardinal Farrell has dedicated his life to helping others. As a person who stands up against hatred, speaks out and takes action to assist victims, he exemplifies what it means to be an “Upstander,” said Mary Pat Higgins, President, and CEO of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance. The opposite of a bystander, an Upstander is a person who stands up and speaks up for what is right, even if, at times, they stand alone.
Shortly after his arrival in Dallas in 2007, then-Bishop Farrell quickly demonstrated Upstander activities in the community. He has led marches and spoken at Dallas City Hall to promote immigration reform and compassionate treatment of all immigrants, especially thousands of undocumented migrant children fleeing political violence in Central America. He condemned domestic violence, stressed the importance of female engagement in the Church and brought attention to parishes in need of money. He is honored lay volunteers for their service and commitment. In 2014, he invited the family of a Dallas Ebola victim to stay at a church-owned- house as they waited in quarantine to see if they had contracted the deadly disease.
“We help people because we’re Catholic, not because they’re Catholic,” he said at the time in response to a reporter who asked why the diocese was helping the non-Catholic family.
Following the tragic shooting on July 7 of police officers in downtown Dallas, which killed five officers and injured nine others, along with two civilians, then-Bishop Farrell joined both civic and faith leaders in prayer for peace and healing.
Last year, at the behest of then-Bishop Farrell, the Catholic Diocese of Dallas co-presented the special gallery exhibit Holocaust by Bullets with the Dallas Holocaust Museum. The exhibit presented ten years of research and investigation by a Catholic Priest, Father Patrick Dubois, about the systematic murder of two million Jews who were shot and left in unmarked graves in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine during the Holocaust.
Holocaust Museum Board-Chair Elect Florence Shapiro presented the Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell Upstander Award to Bishop Greg Kelly, Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
“In celebrating an occasion such as this one tonight, I am reminded of the words of Elie Wiesel, of blessed memory, Mrs. Shapiro said.
“Just as man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope. If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future.”
“To our friends at the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, thank you for your gift of hope as you stand with us as partners in every true sense.”
–Chris Kelley, for the Dallas Holocaust Museum