Recognition Ceremony Honors Service of Catechists

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The archdiocesan Catechetical Office held its annual Certification and Recognition Ceremony Nov. 5 at the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Building, Ossining. The event celebrates “handing on the faith with excellence.”

The Terence Cardinal Cooke Award was presented to Father Robert Jalbert, M.M., on behalf of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, and Mario J. Paredes, presidential liaison for Roman Catholic Ministries/American Bible Society. Father Jalbert is director of Maryknoll’s Church Engagement Division.

The Cardinal Cooke award is given to catechetical leaders, clergy, parish directors and coordinators of religious education, and others directly involved in catechetical leadership. It attests to extraordinary commitment, support and leadership in handing on the faith with excellence.

The Good Shepherd Award was presented to William Sadlier Dinger, president emeritus of and special adviser to William H. Sadlier Inc., and Frank Sadlier Dinger, chairman of and special adviser to William H. Sadlier. The company is a leading catechetical and educational publisher.

The Good Shepherd Award is given to outstanding persons serving in the catechetical ministry who, by their life and service, have lived in the spirit of Jesus the Good Shepherd; they have exhibited outstanding leadership, compassion and wholehearted dedication.

There also was a special tribute to Sister Kevin John Shields, O.P., the regional catechetical director for Sullivan and Orange counties, who was honored for 40 years of catechetical ministry in two of the upper counties of the archdiocese. Sister Kevin John was presented with a dolomite statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child, from the monastery of Bethlehem in Sullivan County.

Auxiliary Bishop Gerald T. Walsh, who was presented with the Catechetical Medal of Honor for Distinguished Service to the Ministry, was honored as a “bred-in-the-bone New York priest.” Bishop Walsh, whose resignation was accepted by Pope Francis in September, had reached 75, the normal retirement age for bishops, in April. He has accepted a one-year reappointment by Cardinal Dolan as archdiocesan vicar for clergy.

The bishop led the prayer service and offered a homily during the ceremony. Sister Joan Curtin, C.N.D., director of the archdiocesan Catechetical Office, gave welcoming remarks.

The Catechetical Office Medal of Honor, for 25 years or more of dedicated service, was presented to Lourdes Reyes, St. Augustine/Our Lady of Victory, the Bronx, 35 years; Virgilia Castro, St. Jude, Manhattan, 30 years; Paulette Carlucci, St. Denis, Hopewell Junction, 25 years; Christina Heim, St. Aedan, Pearl River, 25 years; Patricia Knecht, Our Lady of Pity/St. Anthony, Staten Island; Deacon James F. Maher, St. Aedan, Pearl River, 25 years; Cynthia Tavolacci, St. John and St. Mary, Chappaqua, 25 years; Nina M. Velez-Lopez, Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Benedicta and St. Mary of the Assumption, Staten Island, 25 years; and Sister Josita Worlock, P.V.M.I., Sacred Heart, Monroe, 25 years.

The Catechetical Office Cardinal Dolan Letter of Appreciation was presented to Elizabeth Upright, St. Charles Borromeo, Gardiner, 45 years; Margaret Hoblin, St. Paul, Bullville, 40 years; and Annamaria Maciocia, St. Charles Borromeo, Gardiner, 30 years. They are catechists who have achieved Level I and Level II certification, as well as the Medal of Honor.

Special Recognition for Extraordinary Service to Catechesis and the Community of St. Augustine/Our Lady of Victory, the Bronx, was presented to Lourdes Reyes, 35 years, Ana Hiciano, 25 years, Glennys Thomas, 20 years, Nancy Cardona, 15 years, Astrid Cova, 15 years, Iraida De Jesus, 15 years, Edgar Flores, 15 years, Madonia Martinez, 15 years, Dilcia Torres, 15 years, Aniuska Perdomo, 13 years, and Cira Lopez, 10 years,

Also awarded were more than 340 other certificates for Advanced Catechetical Leadership Certificates of Completion; Catechetical Office Pins for the completion of the Basic Leadership Training for Religious Education and the Basic Leadership Training for the Catechumenate (RCIA); certificates for Level One, Two, Three, Four and Renewal Catechist Certification for Religious Education; certificates for Level One, Two, and Renewal Catechist Certification for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA); and Level One Catechist Certification for Religious Education (presented to high school students).

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