‘This Award Means A Great Deal To Me’: Michael Power

WELLAND — Michael Power was presented the Canadian Catholic Historical Association’s G.E. Clerk Award during the group’s virtual Annual General Meeting, Friday, October 9. 

The Welland resident and member of St. Kevin parish was announced as recipient of the award in June. It is presented “to honour an individual who has distinguished him/herself in one of three categories: research and writing of the history of the Catholic Church, or service to the CCHA, or exceptional work in the preservation and promotion of materials in Catholic archives,” according to a news release from the CCHA. 

The Clerk award, the Association’s highest, is presented every two or three years. While it is “very rare” that a recipient has demonstrated excellence in all three categories, Power “has worked with distinction in all of them,” says the release.

G. E. Clerk Award recipient Michael Power. (Photos: Kathleen Power)

The inscription on the plaque reads:

“Michael Power’s dedication as a CCHA President and various other Executive Positions (1980-1988), his dedication to preserving and promoting Catholic archives, and his extensive written contributions to the CCHA and the Ontario Catholic Education System has fundamentally preserved and promoted Canadian Catholic studies.”

Below is the acceptance speech Power made for the virtual annual meeting. It is presented in its entirety: 

“To my Colleagues and Friends in the Canadian Catholic Historical Association:

I am deeply grateful and humbled to have been chosen to receive the G.E. Clerk Award for 2020. I am now in the excellent company of sixteen previous recipients. This Award means a great deal to me. It is an affirmation of the highest order of my work as a Catholic historian. The smartest move I ever made in my career as a writer and researcher was to join the CCHA, which welcomed and nourished me, published three of my articles and allowed me to participate in its operations at the executive level. I have fond memories of our annual meetings at different campuses across Canada. The fellowship was always congenial, with plenty of stories and laughter filling the air. The beer was good; the wine was even better.

It is impossible to thank everyone who has been a blessing to me in the great adventure of Canadian Catholic historiography. You are as numerous as the stars in heaven. And among those stars are all the wonderful people at the archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. Time and again, you were a lifeline. You have my gratitude.

I would be remiss, however, if I did not acknowledge by name at least four people who have done so much on my behalf: Father Ed Jackman, for his kindness and generosity over the years; the late Jack O’Farrell, professor, historian and friend; Mark McGowan, the gold standard of Catholic historians who taught me a great deal about the history of the Church in Ontario; and Kathleen, my wife. Her wide knowledge and appreciation of the English language, and her gentle editorial suggestions, from one assignment to the next, especially during the early years when I was in the swim or sink phase of my writing life, made me the writer I became.

God Bless! May the good work of the CCHA continue.”

A story about the CCHA’s announcement of Power as recipient of the Clerk Medallion can be found on the blog, as can a story based on a personal interview with Power, by correspondent Wayne Campbell. Both were posted in June.

Power accepted delivery of the medallion at his home.

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