HARTFORD – It was a day for people who teach about the faith and evangelize to be rewarded for their efforts.The Cathedral of St. Joseph was the scene on June 10 of the inaugural Archdiocesan Awards Ceremony, at which Archbishop Leonard P. Blair presided over the presentation of pins and certificates to almost 300 people in a crowd that filled the cathedral to capacity.
Recipients were recognized for service and accomplishments in several archdiocesan ministries.
The programs for which awards were presented included the Catholic Biblical School, Hispanic Lay Ministry Formation Program, Scouts, adult Scouting, religious education service and discipleship.
Special recognition was given to the Catholic Biblical School graduates, who attended a morning prayer service in the Blessed Sacrament chapel at the cathedral, followed by a reception in the lower church before participating in the combined awards ceremony. Barbara Jean Daly Horell directs the Catholic Biblical School.
“In the past,” said Sister Mary Grace Walsh, provost for education, evangelization and catechesis, “these awards were presented every year in separate ceremonies, often without the benefit of the presence of the archbishop.” Observing that young people at this year’s ceremony could see first-hand, for example, those recognized for long years of service, said Sister Mary Grace, an Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “honorees of all ages can see what the others are doing.”
In introductory remarks, Sister Mary Grace said the program began with daytime prayer and ended with eucharistic adoration and Benediction, “situating us in the context of prayer.”
Archbishop Leonard P. Blair said, “The presence of so many of you from every one of the four corners of the Archdiocese of Hartford makes this a very special celebration and a fitting finale to Pentecost week.
“By the gift of the Holy Spirit, each of us is called by name for a unique mission in this world, however humble or great. Whether we know it or not, we are unique servants not only for our salvation but the salvation of our neighbor and for the world.
“We are not just so many individuals, parishes or institutions, but we are united as one archdiocesan family of faith within the universal communion of the Catholic Church.”
Before presiding over the individual categories of awards, the archbishop said, “Everything you have done to merit recognition as part of your association with your church, parish, scout group, study program, everything, is all tied to your mission from Baptism … it’s all tied to evangelization, catechesis, and education in the faith in some form or another, because it’s all about witnessing to Jesus Christ.”
Later, Sister Mary Grace told the Transcript that she was grateful for the beauty of the ceremony, also saying that it was wonderful to see the cathedral filled with people who were lingering in the sanctuary and aisles, chatting and taking photographs.
“That’s so important,” she said, “to have people who are in a variety of different ministries or entities come together as one and a great way to lift our hearts in prayer for all of them.”
Ms. Hidalgo spoke along the same lines. “Doing it all together has an even more powerful effect because … it’s the young and the experienced all sitting together,” Click here to download full list of awards and awardees.