KANSAS CITY — Honoring outstanding lay ministers, volunteers and leaders, the diocesan Office of Youth Ministry and Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry combined talents to produce the first Youth and Young Adult Appreciation Dinner Aug. 15 at the downtown Catholic Center.
“This dinner is a small way to recognize the heroic love and service by hundreds of volunteers and staff from around our diocese who witness Christ’s love,” said Jon Schaffhausen, director of Youth Ministry. “It is humbling and inspiring just to be around so many passionate disciples at an event like this.”
Allison Keegan, director of Young Adult and Campus Ministry, told the guests of how appropriate it was to hold the first dinner on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, “because of how much your lives of service and love emulate the virtues of Mary.”
“She was always in the background, and always pointing to her son,” Keegan said. “We don’t serve to be thanked. We will never see the fruits of our labor. We have faith that we are making a difference.”
Highlighting the awards was the “1303 Award” given to an outstanding youth. The award this year was earned by Mark McKellar of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Gladstone.
Schaffhausen said the award gets its name from Paragraph 1303 of the Catechism of Catholic Church, which speaks about the grace of the Sacrament of Confirmation and its “special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action
Eight parish youth ministry “Volunteers of the Year” were honored. They were:
• Sean Cailteux, St. Peter Parish, Kansas City.
• Rex and Jane Baer, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish,
• Lizzy Burkemper, Church of the Annunciation, Kearney.
• Chris and Jan Patterson, XII Apostles Parish, Platte City.
• Bob Cooley, St. Gabriel Parish, Kansas City.
• Jamie McAdams, Holy Family Parish, Kansas City.
• Tony Simone, St. Therese Parish, Parkville.
• Abbey Stallbaumer, Sacred Heart Parish, Warrensburg.
The Excellence in Youth Ministry Award for dedication to accompanying young people on their pilgrimage of Christian discipleship was earned by Heather Neds of Holy Family Parish, Kansas City.
The Our Lady of Ephesus Award for lifetime achievement in youth ministry was earned by Chris Koile of Good Shepherd Parish, Smithville.
The Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry honored seven people with four awards.
The Blessed John Paul II Award honors individuals who live the mission of evangelization with dedication and zeal. It was earned by Eric Wombwell and Rachel Hansen.
The St. Francis of Assisi Award, honoring a person who demonstrates a selfless heart of service, was earned by Tim Wuebker.
The St. Therese of Lisieux Award was established to honor those who carry out God’s work in ways that often go unnoticed but produce great results. The honorees were Dan Darrow and Jamie Menown.
The St. Joseph Award is earned by individuals who bring others to know Christ through their own strength of character, compassionate heart and humility. It was earned by Fred Niemann and Sean Cailteux.