Remembering Monsignor John F. Meyers
Leesburg, VA – Employees, board members, alumni and members of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) remember Monsignor John F. Meyers, NCEA President from 1972 - 1986. Msgr. Meyers passed away on June 23, 2022, at the age of 91. He had been a priest in the Diocese of Dallas for 66 years. Visitation and vigil will be at San Juan Diego Catholic Church, Dallas, on July 15 and he will be laid to rest on July 16 at St. Monica Catholic Church also in Dallas.
From 1994 – 2005, Msgr. Meyers was pastor of St. Monica Catholic Church. In 1997, he founded San Juan Diego Catholic Church as a mission parish for the growing Mexican immigrant community in northwest Dallas. Today, San Juan Diego is one of the largest parishes with a predominantly Spanish-speaking congregation in the diocese.
His celebrated 66-year career toggled between the Diocese of Dallas, where he served as superintendent of Dallas Catholic Schools from 1962-1967, and 18 years in Washington, D.C, mostly at NCEA, as president from 1972 - 1986. The diocese and NCEA name annual educational awards for him. The NCEA annual Msgr. John F. Meyers Award is part of the NCEA President’s Awards and honors a person or organization that has provided substantial support to Catholic education through development, public relations, scholarship programs, financial management, or government relations.
Adjectives such as loving, dedicated, insightful, distinguished have been used by colleagues and parishioners to describe Msgr. Meyers over the years. Len F. DeFiore, NCEA President from 1996 - 2001, remembers Msgr. Meyers: "My nine-year tenure as Supt. of Schools for the Archdiocese of Washington overlapped with Jack’s presidency of NCEA. In my view he was the most effective president of NCEA in its nearly 120-year history. He served in a most tumultuous period in Church and American history—dealing with the upheavals of the ‘60s and’ 70s. He did so with great success and with unfailing good cheer—a rare combination. During his tenure, NCEA launched a number of new and effective initiatives in governance, religious education, marketing, public policy, etc. Among those whom he invited to address the annual convention were Mother Teresa and President Reagan, twice. The one major failing I can recall is his backhand in tennis. It was my privilege to serve with him and to collaborate with him in a number of activities."
A veritable “fixture” at NCEA Conventions, Msgr. Meyers already was planning on attending the 2023 NCEA Convention in Dallas. When he learned that the Convention was going to be close to his “backyard,” he said, “Please send me an invitation. I want to be there!” During his tenure at NCEA, he invited Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta and President Ronald Reagan (twice) to Convention and Pope John Paul II attended the 1987 NCEA Convention in New Orleans.
Lincoln Snyder, NCEA President/CEO said, “Monsignor Meyers will be missed at the upcoming Convention and for years to come. NCEA continues to honor his spirit by working to inspire, encourage and support Catholic school educators and leaders to remain rooted in the message and values of Jesus.”
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In service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, NCEA strengthens Catholic school communities by providing professional development, formation, leadership and advocacy.