Archdiocese honors those who let 'the light of Christ' shine for youth

Keynote speaker Superintendent of Catholic Schools Kathy Mears takes a "selfie" photograph with award recipients at the Youth and Young Adult Ministry awards banquet April 29. Pilot photo/Christopher S. Pineo

RANDOLPH -- The Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Office for Lifelong Faith Formation and Parish Support honored those who serve and participate in youth ministry, April 29, during their annual awards banquet at Lombardo's in Randolph.

Archdiocese of Boston auxiliary Bishop Peter J. Uglietto offered an invocation for the banquet.

"Heavenly Father, bless those who receive awards this night. May their service ever give you honor and glory," Bishop Uglietto said.

Archdiocese of Boston Superintendent of Catholic Schools Kathleen P. Mears gave the keynote at the event, which honored 87 middle school youth, high school youth, young adults, and those who serve them in Catholic Youth Organization athletics, scouting programs, Catholic schools and youth ministry.

"I want to thank you very much for showing us what it means to live a Christ-filled life. This is a room full of students, a room full of learners, a room full of disciples, and we are grateful to you," Mears said.

Tom Olson, a seminarian who serves at St. Columbkille Parish in Brighton, received the St. Paul the Apostle Award, presented to honor an adult who mentors young adults in the Catholic faith, for his work with the St. Columbkille Young Adult Commission.

Jessica Keefe of St. Francis in Dracut, Louisa Simeon of St. Matthew in Dorchester, and Nicholas Terranova received the Blessed Pier Frassati Award, an archdiocesan leadership award presented to young adults and those who serve them for demonstrating a commitment to their faith that reaches beyond the community they serve.

Other awards presented to adults included the Light of the World Award, the Companions on the Journey Award, the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award, the St. Sebastian Award, and the St. George Emblem.

Joe Depalo of St. Mary in Franklin and John Filip received the CYO Hall of Fame Award, which honors coaches and athletic directors for ministry to young athletes for more than 10 years.

Scouts received the Pillars of Faith Award for the receipt of four Catholic faith religious emblems available in scouting programs. Richard Abbott of St. Cecilia Parish in Ashland received the award along with Jonathan Bruynell, Thomas Bruynell and Antonio Chase of Immaculate Conception Parish in Weymouth.

Gabrielle Caceras of Our Lady of Lourdes in Brockton and Zach Stueve of St. Mary High School in Lynn received the St. Timothy Award, the highest recognition from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry presented to a high school junior or senior.

Other awards presented to high school age youth included the Cardinal's Youth Award and the Discipleship Award, with the St. Dominic Savio Award presented to middle school age youth.

After the award presentations, those who supported the award recipients received thanks and recognition from organizers and guests at the banquet. Father Matt Williams, director of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, thanked the parents of the recipients, and invited parents to stand for applause.

"The greatness of society can very much be measured by the strength of our families, and the reality in the life of the Church is that the stronger our family unit is -- the domestic Church -- the more the light of Christ will shine through in the life of our Church," Father Williams said.

Dong Su Kim, a native of South Korea and a junior at St. Joseph Prep in Brighton, received the Discipleship Award in recognition of his service to others. He recently returned from a service trip to the Dominican Republic, and spoke with The Pilot at the banquet.

His service trip involved construction work and manual labor, building homes for poor people in need. He said his experience with the people he served struck gave him deep respect for their faith.

"The thing is, even though they are poor in the material things, they are not poor in their heart," he said.

Debb Pabon, the director of Kujenga-Viongozi Leadership Retreat for the Office of Black Catholic Ministries, received the St. Elizabeth Seton Award.

"I am a life-long fan of youth and their development," she said.

"It's my being, it's who I am. To get rewarded for being, it's humbling," Pabon said.

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