WASHINGTON (May 21, 1999) -- Dr. Eugene J. Fisher, Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) and the first director of their Secretariat for Catholic-Jewish Relations, has received a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, from St. Mary's Seminary and University, Baltimore.
Operated by the Sulpician Fathers, 208-year-old St. Mary's trains candidates for the Roman Catholic priesthood. The degree was conferred on Dr. Fisher at commencement exercises, May 13.
"No single American Catholic has done more to foster these teachings (the Second Vatican Council's declaration Nostra Aetate on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions) and to promote the 'good fellowship' between Catholics and Jews called for by the Council than Dr. Eugene J. Fisher," the university declared in conferring the honorary degree.
The citation noted that Dr. Fisher's writings have been especially useful to St. Mary's, and other Catholic seminaries, in showing how the Church's commitment to relations with the Jews inspired by the principles of Nostra Aetate can be fostered in various areas of the priestly formation program. Many of his publications deal with topics central to seminary formation, such as biblical studies, liturgy and social justice.
Dr. Fisher joined the staff of the NCCB in 1977. He had been director of catechist formation for the Archdiocese of Detroit and adjunct professor of Hebrew Scriptures at the University of Detroit.
Eugene Fisher earned a doctorate in Hebrew culture and education from New York University. He is the author of twenty books or monographs and over 250 articles, many of which have been translated into other languages.
Since 1981 he has been a consultor to the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.
Dr. Fisher and his wife, Catherine, are the parents of a daughter, Sarah.