CARA AwardeesWashington, D.C. – On October 16, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, honored Dr. Robert Miller, Director of Planning and Research for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities for their contributions to Church research.

Sr. Sharon Eurat, RSM, J.C.D, vice-chair of CARA's Board of Directors, presented Miller with the Rev. Louis J. Luzbetak, SVD, Award for Exemplary Church Research. The Luzbetak Award, named in honor of CARA's first executive director, is given annually to a researcher who has made a significant lifetime contribution to research on the Catholic Church.

Dr. Miller's efforts in support of the Archdiocese's 1.4 million Catholics in 275 parishes in five counties have set a national standard of excellence in how the creative and purposeful use of research can further the pastoral mission of the Church. Among his achievements has been the development of the information management system, the promotion of effective parish self-studies, the facilitation of inter-parish collaborative planning, and the use of research and planning in broad consultative processes to develop consensus in achieving necessary but difficult reorganizations. His leadership, experience, and judgment also made him a key part of the Steering Committee for Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning, the Planning Committee of the Board of Education, and most recently the Archdiocesan Blue Ribbon the Commission on Catholic Education during a time of unprecedented change and re-organization in the Archdiocese.

In addition to his fruitful service within the archdiocese, Dr. Miller's distinguished contributions to the Church extend to membership on the boards of the Center for Study of Church Management at Villanova University, and the Conference for Pastoral Planning and Council Development. In 2003, he was named a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great for meritorious service by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.

The Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities received the Richard Cardinal Cushing Medal for the Advancement of Church Research, named after the Boston archbishop who was one of the principal founders of CARA, and is awarded annually to a person or organization that has advanced Church research through their active support of research and their understanding of its uses. Noell from Raskob

Founded in 1945 through the generosity and vision of philanthropists John J. and Helena S. Raskob, the Foundation today involves over 100 members of the Raskob Family spanning five generations. Over the years it has distributed more than $150 million in grants, including in 2011 more than $4.5 million to deserving Church-related international and domestic projects. As in years past, these included a variety of important awards for practical and applied research.

The following is just a sampling of grants in the past year which support the use of applied research in furthering the pastoral mission of the Church:

  • a pilot program to set standards which will address critical ethical issues affecting public health, human dignity and rights, and access to quality healthcare and essential medicines;
  • researching and identifying resources to promote a vocation among students as responsible caretakers of the Earth, as part of a pastoral statement on the environment by the bishops of New Mexico;
  • focus groups among faculty and students to improve summer institutes for Catholic Education Leadership;
  • evaluating middle schools in the nationwide 65-member, non-tuition Nativity/Miguel Network, which provides a faith-based academic, spiritual, and social education to underserved inner-city communities;
  • developing a 21st Century application of the Matteo Ricci model for the evangelization of China, including conferences in China on living Gospel values and seminars in the U.S. on the moral foundation for life in a global age;
  • and to Catholic Charities USA, working with CARA, for a national assessment of services provided by local Catholic Charities agencies to victims of human trafficking, to identify what is needed to service the victims more effectively, broaden public attention to the problem, and reduce human trafficking in the United States.

Noelle M. Fracyon, Vice President of the Raskob Foundation Board of Trustees, accepted the Richard Cardinal Cushing Medal for the Advancement of Church Research on behalf of the Foundation.

"We are honored to present these awards to Dr. Miller and the Raskob Foundation" said Fr. Thomas Gaunt, S.J., executive director at CARA. "We are grateful for their contributions to research in service of the Church and especially for their work in advancing the Church's self-understanding."

View Photos from the Event Read Dr. Miller's Talk CARA Researchers' Presentation