Joliet, Ill. – University of St. Francis (USF) trustee Fr. James Lewis, O. Carm., has enjoyed two tenures at Mount Carmel High School (MCHS) in Chicago. His first tenure was as a faculty member from January 1984 to July 1988. His second and current tenure as a guidance counselor began in July 2015. On Friday, April 29, 2022, Fr. Lewis’ place in Mount Carmel history will be cemented with his official induction into the Mount Carmel Hall of Fame at the school’s annual alumni banquet. Alex Austin, Director of Alumni Relations and Special Events at MCHS, feels that Fr. Lewis exemplifies what it means to be a Man of Carmel. “Fr. Jim is a perfect inductee because of his extensive record of forty years of service in the Carmelite order as well as his being active in his community. This is long overdue for him. He is definitely a special case because he is someone that is still here every day that we get to interact with,” Austin said. For Fr. Lewis, his rewarding experience at MCHS began when he was a student at the all-boys Catholic high school. “My years as a student at Mount Carmel coincided with the political and social turbulence of the late 60’s and early 70’s.  The Carmelites of the school were able to fuse a genuine prayerfulness with an engaging, graceful manner. Their humor, simplicity, and sincerity were memorable and impressive. Those characteristics were foundations of a school community that, to this day, finds joy in remaining connected,” he said. “From my first encounters of the Carmelites, I found those characteristics to be impressive and memorable.  They fused genuine prayerfulness with a graceful manner that was engaging. As such, priesthood began to reflect service among rather than service over. Such behavior was enlightening for a newly influenced Vatican II church, and served as a standard for this curious lad,” Fr. Lewis added. Following his ordination as a Catholic priest, Fr. Lewis returned to his alma mater and continued his rewarding connection with its students, faculty, staff, school community. “As a newly ordained priest and teacher at MCHS in the mid-to-late1980’s, I was happy to experience the same spirit that existed when I was a student; a timeless blend that somehow articulated that Carmel’s work is God’s work.  The enthusiasm of students remains inspiring today. This provides renewal and challenge: a restoration of the fine witnesses offered in my youth and a call to evoke creative responses to the challenges of the Good News,” said Fr. Lewis. “Finding joy in the success of students and inspiration from the administration and faculty are towering gifts.  In our Mount Carmel counseling department – of which I am a part – my three colleagues have nine small children between them that they are raising with their spouses. They mix utter devotion to family with professional excellence every day,” Fr. Lewis said. With Fr. Lewis soon to be inducted into the Mount Carmel Hall of Fame, his journey with MCHS will come full circle. “Being a small contributor to Mount Carmel’s substantial history is meaningful. The school’s longevity and multi-faceted contributions are tributes to the Carmelites and countless devoted teachers, students, and families over many decades.  Having navigated those waters over the years as student, teacher, and counselor has been my privilege.  Receiving this honor is appropriately humbling. Enriching the occasion is the fact that this is the fiftieth anniversary celebrating my graduation from Mount Carmel,” Fr. Lewis said. Fr. Lewis has been a member of the USF Board of Trustees since 2008. : : The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 52,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose. # # #