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Since its inception, Tepeyac Leadership, Inc. (TLI) has not only worked to form the next generation of lay Catholic leaders for civil society. Early on TLI started the St. Juan Diego Leadership for the World award (SJLW). According to the award’s site, the SJLW award recognizes lay Catholic leaders in any field of social, professional, cultural, and political life, for acting in accordance with–and courageously promoting–the truth and the law brought by Jesus Christ to mankind. The criteria come from the organization’s adopted prayer, which was the prayer of St. John Paul II during his visit to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City in 1979.
In 2019, the first SJLW award went to Alan Sears, founder of Alliance Defending Freedom. Sears spent decades building an international team committed to a comprehensive legal strategy—resulting in important roles in 52 religious liberty landmark victories at the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2020, the award was given to justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, William Montgomery, a West Point graduate who served as Maricopa County Attorney. Montgomery was nationally recognized for his innovative victim services programs, prosecutor led diversion options for substance abuse and first-time felony offenders.
By 2021, TLI was already occupying the national stage. So its award started going to three annual recipients. They were: Dr. Maria Chavira, chancellor of the Diocese of Phoenix. A key advisor to the bishop, she is also well regarded in academia. Dr. Chavira pioneered online learning at Mesa Community College and has earned many accolades. In addition, the SJLW award was given to Dr. Arturo and Mrs. Letty Ibarra. Both are business owners and founding members of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders. They are prominent leaders in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and very close supporters of Archbishop Jose Gomez.
In 2022, the board of directors for Tepeyac Leadership, will be handing out their SJLW award to the following three lay Catholic leaders:
Dodson is a constitutional lawyer and Executive Director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference. He is a lobbyist working on behalf of the bishops of North Dakota and was recently in the news presenting their arguments against a controversial policy proposal at the University of North Dakota. He is a strong champion for the pro-life movement before the North Dakota legislature. He is well regarded and known as a defender of the Catholic faith.
Eberstadt is an American writer whose contributions to the intellectual landscape traverse genres. An essayist, novelist, and frequent public speaker, she is author of several books of non-fiction. Mrs. Eberstadt’s public service includes two years on the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Staff during the Reagan administration, where she was speechwriter to Secretary of State George Shultz. She also served as a speechwriter to the Hon. Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
Sorensen is COO of Catholic Answers, the world’s largest and most respected media company dedicated specifically to Catholic Apologetics and Evangelization. Jon’s career in secular marketing, deep understanding of content and storytelling, integrated Catholic identity and openness to new technologies and approaches to evangelization have helped form, convert, and nourish millions of people all over the world.
Everyone is welcome to join the award ceremony, during Tepeyac Leadership Night, TLI’s annual premier event. This is a virtual event, which will be live-streamed from Facebook on June 24 at 7 p.m. EST.
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