The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will honor one of its retired auxiliary bishops when it celebrates its annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Religious Educators at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul Jan. 13.

Retired Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald will receive the Saint Paul VI Award in recognition of his leadership and contributions to evangelization and catechesis over the course of several decades.

This recognition is the highest catechetical award bestowed by the local Church. Past recipients include Cardinal John P. Foley and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Bishop Fitzgerald, who served as an Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia from 2010 until his retirement in 2023, held various positions of administrative and pastoral responsibility during that time, including oversight of Catholic education.

Although officially retired, Bishop Fitzgerald continues to serve the Church of Philadelphia generously in a pastoral capacity.

During the Mass, around 150 volunteer catechists along with several directors, coordinators, and administrators of Parish Religious Education Programs (PREP) who work in parishes throughout the five-county region will also be honored for their years of service.

The Mass is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Catechetical Formation and the Association of Parish Directors, Coordinators, and Administrators of Religious Education.