2016 Harry A. Fagan Roundtable Award Winner

Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, J. D.

Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, J. D., is a priest, an attorney, and a member of the Central and Southern Province of the Jesuits. He has been director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute (JSRI) since March, 2009. JSRI works to transform the Gulf South through action research, analysis, education, and advocacy on the core issues of poverty, race, and migration. The Institute is a collaboration of Loyola University New Orleans and the Society of Jesus rooted in the faith that does justice. Fred is the editor and regular contributor to JSRI’s publication “Just South” and writes regular columns on Catholic Social Teaching and current issues.

From 2002 to 2008, Fred was the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province, guiding their post-Katrina recovery and service to the devastated region’s poor and needy. From 1992 to 2001, he was the President/CEO of Catholic Charities USA, the nation’s largest voluntary human service network. Fred has worked in a number of programs for the underprivileged, both as a lay volunteer, an attorney, an advocate, and an administrator. From 1990 to 1992, he was the Policy Advisor for Health and Welfare Issues, Department of Social Development and World Peace, U.S. Catholic Conference. Prior to that, from 1984 to 1989, he was Executive Director of Catholic Community Services of Baton Rouge, Inc. Earlier, from 1977 to 1983, he was Director of the Senior Citizens Law Project of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.

Fred’s first book, Doing Faithjustice: An Introduction to Catholic Social Thought, was published by Paulist Press in May, 1991 (second printing, 1992; third printing, 2005). This book is considered by many in the U.S. to be “essential reading” for those committed to the “faith that does justice.” It is used as a text book for social justice and morality classes in a number of high schools and colleges. His second book, Salted with Fire: Spirituality for the Faithjustice Journey, was published in January, 1995, again by Paulist Press, and republished in 2008 . His latest book, Faith. Works. Wonders.–An Insider’s Guide to Catholic Charities, was published in September, 2009, by Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Fred native received his J.D. from Yale University and M. Div. from Loyola University in Chicago. He holds honorary doctorates from Fairfield University, Gonzaga University, Creighton University, Spring Hill College, and the University of San Francisco (1999).

Fred currently serves as chair of the board of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. He has also had a long association with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps as a founder of JVC:South, a leader for over 30 “Re-Orientation” retreats and now as a JVC board member. He has a strong commitment to nurturing in young people a passion for social justice. In fact, most people who meet and work with Fred would describe him as a passionate, dedicated, smart, tireless advocate for the poor and marginalized, one who has been able to stay in this work for the long haul because he is so firmly rooted in his faith and his Jesuit vocation. He has been a leader and role model for many people in the Catholic Church and in the Catholic church and health care arena for many years. He would never seek this kind of honor, but I’m sure it would mean a great deal to him to receive it at this time from peers at the Roundtable who I’m sure he admires – and who cherish the contributions he has made to their work through his writing and his witness.

The Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors presents the Harry A. Fagan Award annually to a person or persons whose work, in the tradition of Catholic social teaching, has led to significant progress towards greater social justice and dignity for all members of society at the national or international level.

The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors honors an individual or individuals who have made unique contributions to the achievement of the Catholic vision of social justice in the national and/or international community.

Their work will:

• have made an impact on significant numbers of persons, or set a precedent or example which affected many
• have affected progress in the national or international communities toward eliminating social, economic, or political injustice or discrimination
• have affected progress towards guaranteeing basic human dignity and rights as defined in Catholic social teaching

They will have shown evidence of linking faith and justice, in light of Catholic social teaching, through education which leads to action (advocacy, empowerment, and organizing) on issues, policies, and social structures that contribute to the building of God’s kingdom on earth.

View past recipients