HARTFORD – Every year since 2002, pastors from across the Archdiocese of Hartford nominate a person or couple from their parish to receive the St. Joseph Medal of Appreciation for volunteering their time and talent with their church community. Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will present 118 candidates with this medal at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18 during a prayer service at St. Joseph Cathedral, 140 Farmington Ave.
The medal recipients volunteer in a variety of ways that enhance their parish communities. Some are religious education teachers, lectors or eucharistic ministers, while others serve the needy and coordinate parish events and fundraisers.
According to Archbishop Blair, they set an admirable example for others by adhering to the Scripture: “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all the humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:1-2).
Among the many noteworthy volunteers are the following:
• John and Doreen Blondin of South Windsor: Doreen and her husband have been members of their parish for 12 years. When St. Margaret Mary merged with St. Francis of Assisi to form St. Junipero Parish last June, Doreen became president of the merged parish council. She says it is important to her that everyone feel welcome at the newly formed parish. She also works with youth. preparing them for confirmation and helps with youth fundraisers. John assists the parish in other ways including cooking at the parish shelter and transporting food. He is the deputy grand kight of the local Knights of Columbus Council.
• Rose Ann Gulisano of West Haven: Rose is the co-director of Beacon on the Hill, which provides many social justice ministries to people of West Haven and adjoining towns. The “Beacon” provides clothing, canned goods, diapers and other essentials to those in need at her parish. She also serves as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion.
• Marlene Harris of Hartford: Marlene is an extremely active member of St. Justin-St. Michael Parish who serves on the Pastoral Council and Steering and Evangelization committees. According to her pastor, Father Emmanuel Ihemedu, she serves quietly and patiently, always offering sound and clear suggestions and solutions. These skills came in handy when the parishes of St. Justin and St. Michael merged last year, he said. Marlene was a member of the “Faithful Ten” committee, which played an instrumental role in transitioning members of both parishes to the newly established St. Justin-St. Michael Parish. She also uses her nursing talents to organize free health clinics at the parish.
• Kevin Knowle of Naugatuck: Kevin has been a life-long member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish. He serves at many special liturgies and has been an usher for over 40 years. He shares his love for gardening and his handyman skills with his parish community. He plants mums in the fall and says he is looking forward to the flowers this spring. He also recruits members to help him with painting, cleaning, mowing and maintaining the church grounds.
Handicapped accessibility is available at the cathedral via an elevator located from the parking lot on Asylum Ave.