May 28, 1975 – Korean Presidential Medal
On May 28, 1975, the Prime Minister of Korea, Kim Jong-Pil, awarded the Korean Presidential Medal, the Order of Civil Service Merit, to Father Aloysius Schwartz in recognition of his work with orphan children in Korea, in a ceremony held at the Capitol. U.S. Ambassador to Korea, Richard Sneider, and Minister of General Affairs, Shim Hum Son, were present for the presentation.
May 16, 1976 – The Korean National Award
The Korean government recognized Father Al’s efforts once again and awarded him with the May 16th National Award in 1976. Father Al was the only non-Korean at that time to be awarded Korea’s highest civilian honor.
May 29, 1977 – Honorary Doctorate from Fordham University, Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
Fordham University conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on Father Aloysius Schwartz on May 29, 1977. In a letter written to Father Al from Father James C. Finlay, S.J., President of Fordham University, Father Finlay said, “I feel that any honorary doctorate that this or any other university could bestow upon you would be unable to measure up to the honor and love in which you are held in so many hearts on the far side of the earth. Nevertheless, I hope this little memento of Fordham University’s 132nd Commencement exercises will serve to remind you, from time to time, of our pleasure and pride in conferring upon you a degree which is richly deserved, and which honor the institution that so gladly bestowed it.”
In Fordham’s commencement booklet it was written, “If love, as someone has said, is perhaps the only glimpse we are given of eternity, then Father Aloysius Schwartz must surely have one of the clearest views of heaven of any of us now living on this earth. Two sentences from the 1963 Coronation Address of His Holiness Pope Paul VI seem to illuminate exactly the already luminous life objective of Father Schwartz: the lines that read, `The fundamental attitude of Catholics who want to convert the world is loving it. We shall love our neighbors and those far a field …’ Fordham today gratefully confers the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon a man who has made caring for others the sole direction marker of his life. But the truest tribute to that life is not to be found on the impression of ink upon parchment. That tribute is locked in the heartbeats of countless thousands across wide areas who call Aloysius Schwartz father, brother and friend.”
August 15, 1977 – Letter of Appreciation Mayor Walter E. Washington from Washington, D.C.
Father Al received a letter of thanks and appreciation from the Mayor of Washington, D. C., his hometown, on the opening of the 2nd Boystown Facility in Seoul, Korea.
March 31, 1979 – AMVETS The Silver Helmet Award – Washington, D.C., USA
At the 22nd Silver Helmet Award Banquet on March 31, 1979, at the Presidential Ballroom at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D. C., Father Aloysius Schwartz received their Special Award. The Presenter, past National Commander Essley Burdine, noted while making the award, “Father Aloysius Schwartz is a man who has accomplished and is accomplishing so much that one can only be astonished at the grandeur of his work for the Korean poor, especially for abandoned, destitute youngsters.”
November 16, 1979 – Signum Fidei Medal, LaSalle College – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Father Aloysius Schwartz was the thirty-eighth recipient of the Alumni Association’s Signum Fidei medal at the annual Awards Dinner on November 16, 1979. Father Schwartz, who was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and ordained there in 1957, has demonstrated a single-minded dedication to the poor of South Korea, a nation ravaged by war in the 1950’s. The Signum Fidei Medal has been awarded annually since 1942, and derives its name from the motto of the Brothers of Christian Schools – “sign of faith.” It is given to recognize personal achievement in harmony with the established aims of La Salle College and is conferred each year on an individual who has made “most noteworthy contributions to the advancement of humanitarian principles in keeping with the Christian tradition.” Previous medalists include: Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, R. Sergeant Shriver and Senator Eugene J. McCarthy.
February 11, 1982 – Honorary Citizen of Busan, Korea
The foundation of Father Al’s work had its humble beginnings in Busan, Korea. He was greatly loved and respected for his tireless efforts on behalf of the abandoned children, poor, sick and destitute of Busan. Praise from Busan came on February 11, 1982, when Father Aloysius Schwartz was named an Honorary Citizen of Busan by the Mayor and given the keys to the city. It was one of the most meaningful honors he could have received. Upon arriving on the shores of Busan as a young missionary, his only dream was to become one of them.
August 31, 1983 – Magsaysay Award – International Understanding – Philippines
The Ramon Magsaysay Award was established to honor the late President of the Philippines, by giving recognition to persons in Asia who exemplify his greatness of spirit, integrity and devotion to liberty. On August 31, 1983, Father Aloysius Schwartz arrived in the Philippines to accept the Magsaysay Award for International Understanding. As part of the award, Father Schwartz received $20,000 and a gold medal. The same award went to Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 1962, and to the United States Peace Corps in Asia in 1963. When interviewed by the Korea Times Newspaper about the award, Father Al said, “I’m a little embarrassed. To work with the true gospel spirit one should work in a hidden manner with the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.” He went on to say, “I’m very happy but I don’t think it’s a question of receiving personal recognition. It’s an honor for the sisters and all the people who help me and all those who have donated to the programs.” He used the prize money toward the erection of a new building for his homeless men. In the course of that one week when Father Al was in Manila for his award, he went out of his way to visit Mother Teresa’s home for the destitute and Tondo’s Smokey Mountain. When he returned to Korea, he carried with him the memory of his encounter with the needy and the deprived of Manila. That encounter played a vital role in Father Al’s expansion to the Philippines.
April 18, 1984 – Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – Maryland, USA
On April 18, 1984, the U.S. Democratic Congressman from Maryland’s 5th District, Steny Hoyer, sent a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Selection Committee in Oslo, Norway, nominating Father Aloysius Schwartz of Seoul, South Korea, for the Nobel Prize for Peace. Congressman Hoyer enumerated Father Al’s accomplishments in Busan and Seoul, Korea. He ended the letter with, “His good works in Korea during the past twenty-five years will bear fruit for many years to come not only in Korea, but throughout the world. In my view, Father Schwartz is an ideal candidate for the Nobel Prize for Peace.”
August 25, 1988 – Mother Teresa Award – Manila, Philippines
On August 25, 1988, the Chamber of Congress of Manila in the Philippines bestowed on Father Aloysius Schwartz the Mother Teresa Award. Cardinal Sin delivered the brief remarks. He said, “The Manila Jaycees are honoring today a great Filipino. He is not only a great Filipino, he is also a great Korean, a great American, a great German, a great Belgian, a great citizen of the world. He is a great citizen of the world because he is a great man of God, a man madly in love with God, a man whose love knows no bounds, a man whose commitment to the poor knows no conditions.”
February 1, 1990 – Elevated to Right Reverend Monsignor – Manila, Philippines
On February 1, 1990, in Manila, Father Aloysius Schwartz was invested with the title, “Honorary Prelate of the Church,” and received the name of Right Reverend Monsignor. In his sermon during the ceremony Cardinal Sin referred to Father Al as a “Man of God, as someone who was sincere when he took his priestly vows.” The Cardinal added, “His work of charity for children, the sick and the less fortunate of Korea and the Philippines are known to God. This honorary title we are conferring on him today is the church’s way of showing appreciation for such an exceptional man of God.” Father Al told us that the great and glorious investiture ceremony brought to him many emotions including embarrassment and gratitude. He said the ceremony was a great morale booster to his Sisters, the children, and the poor he serves, and therefore a great help to his work. After the ceremony Sister Michaela wrote us the following letter: “The grandest and most memorable event in the lives of the Sisters of Mary has just taken place; it was the Investiture of Father Al as Monsignor. (Although Father did not want it for himself). We cannot describe it in mere words but really it was a very successful and moving occasion. With the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal Sin and Cardinal Vidal, seventeen bishops, thirty priests, and many other guests and visitors, you cannot just say it was ordinary. One bishop commented it was more impressive than the investiture of a bishop. Everybody was beaming with joy especially the Sisters and children. Father wanting no praises at all, humbly accepted the title for the glory of God and for the joy of all the poor people he is serving. At first, he wanted only the Sisters and children present for the ceremony, but, Cardinal Sin prepared everything and invited many people. He is quite proud of Father Al.”
Sister went on to say in her letter, “During the renewal of his ordination vows, we could hardly hold back our tears when we heard him say, ‘I do.’ We were thinking how he really lived his total commitment to the Lord.”
September 9, 1991 – Honorary Life Membership of Knights of Columbus
Monsignor Aloysius Schwartz was awarded an Honorary Life Membership in the Knights of Columbus, Council 205 in Baltimore, Maryland. Virgil C. Disbent was the Supreme Knight at that time. This award was made possible through the efforts of a former classmate from St. Charles Seminary, Francis Feily. Msgr. Al was very happy with his support from the Knights of Columbus as he wasted away with ALS.
December 5, 1991 – National Caring Award – Washington, D. C. USA
Monsignor Aloysius Schwartz was the Special Recipient of the National Caring Award presented on December 5, 1991, in Washington, D. C. In the spring 1992, Magazine, Caring People, it was written, “Monsignor Aloysius Schwartz and the Sisters of Mary order have operated four free hospitals and cared for thousands of destitute men and more than 10,000 children in Korea and the Philippines. Philippine President Corazon Aquino has visited Schwartz and former President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan are supporters of his work. Monsignor Schwartz devoted over thirty years to serving abandoned and deprived children, the homeless, the handicapped, and the sick and dying poor in Korea and the Philippines, and more recently, in Mexico. His programs are said to be as effective and modern as any in the world.” His sister, Dolores Vita, accepted the award on his behalf.
February, 1992 – Second Nomination – Nobel Peace Prize – California & Maryland, USA
Just weeks before he died, Monsignor Aloysius Schwartz was nominated a second time for the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, he received two nominations, one on the west coast from Congressman Robert K. Dornan, (R-California) and one on the east coast from William Donald Schaefer, Governor of Maryland. In nominating Monsignor Schwartz for the Nobel Peace Prize, Congressman Dornan called Monsignor Schwartz’s programs for the poor “unequaled anywhere in the world in their effectiveness” and praised their “totally modern approach” to service of the poor. He stated that Monsignor Schwartz “has touched the hearts of a million people” all over the world who contribute to his work caring for poor and often abandoned children. The congressman concluded, “As a result of his tireless efforts and despite his life-threatening illness, he continues to transform the lives of thousands of children, the poor and the sick in Korea, the Philippines and Mexico. With great pride, a full heart and true admiration, I nominate Monsignor Aloysius Schwartz for the Nobel Peace Prize.” In a personal letter to Monsignor Schwartz, Congressman Dornan wrote, “You are a hero and a saint, Monsignor. The humanitarian efforts you have made toward the impoverished is undoubtedly worthy of the highest of all honors. It is for this reason that I have nominated you, Monsignor Aloysius Schwartz, for the Nobel Peace Prize.”
In his nomination letter to the Nobel Peace Committee, Governor William Schaefer wrote, Monsignor Aloysius Schwartz “has devoted his entire priestly life to serving abandoned and deprived children, the sick and dying poor, the homeless and the handicapped in Korea, the Philippines and Mexico.” He noted that Monsignor Schwartz’s programs include child care, medical services, shelter for the homeless, and his own fund raising operation to support his work. In addition to his international humanitarian efforts, and despite his life-threatening struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease, Monsignor Schwartz “founded an order of Sisters, called the Sisters of Mary, which now number 200, and an order of Brothers called the Brothers of Christ, numbering 12, and they have promised to continue his work.”
March 16, 1992 – His Greatest Reward
On March 16, 1992, in Manila in the Philippines, Monsignor Aloysius Schwartz, after a long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), died and went on to receive his highest reward, HEAVEN.
May 1, 1992 – Adoption Hall of Fame Award
At the Sixth Annual Banquet of the National Committee for Adoptions in Washington, D. C. Msgr. Al was awarded the Adoption Hall of Fame Award. His sister, Dolores Vita, accepted the award on his behalf.