People in the pews recognized for volunteerism, parish service

In gratitude for willing service to their parish or school, Bishop Johnston presents each honoree with a token of appreciation during the Recognition Mass Sept. 25 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

In gratitude for willing service to their parish or school, Bishop Johnston presents each honoree with a token of appreciation during the Recognition Mass Sept. 25 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — During a special Mass Sept. 25, celebrated by Bishop James Johnston, Jr., 60 men and women from across the diocese were honored for longtime service to their parishes and schools and willing, friendly volunteerism.

The Mass was concelebrated by Msgr. Robert Gregory, Cathedral Administrator; Father Ken Riley, diocesan Chancellor and Vicar General, and Father Sean McCaffrey, pastor of St. John Francis Regis Church, with assistance from Deacon Steve Livingston.

In his homily the bishop commented that he was “mindful and grateful for the many who have given of themselves and made themselves available in service so that others might encounter Jesus in their lives” when and where they are needed. He reminded the congregation that the Church is the Body of Christ, made up of all the baptized. And there are many who bear witness to the faith by the Word and by being. Those who exercise charity grow in holiness, he said. “We can’t forget that … we are all called to be saints.”

Each of us, he continued, have been given gifts to achieve the extension of the church of God. “In his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis encourages us as ‘missionary disciples … take the first step, … are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy. Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become involved.’”

Being involved, being a witness, a disciple, is a way of life animated by the Spirit of Jesus, he said. There are two important qualities of every missionary disciple — attentiveness and single-mindedness. He said the way he thinks of attentiveness is a mother and father listening to a baby monitor, “listening to a baby’s small noises through the night. And especially for moms, that attentiveness never goes away.”

Single-mindedness made him think of athletes training for the big game or for events like the Olympics. He also offered the example of how “Mother Theresa, now St. Theresa of Calcutta, … embodied both attentiveness and single-mindedness: she was attentive to Jesus at the beginning of each day, beginning her day by receiving Jesus at Mass and adoring him in prayer. This attentiveness to Jesus prepared her to be attentive to him in the ‘distressing disguise of the poor’ on the streets.”

He recapped some of the Gospel reading for the day, the Parable of the rich man and Lazarus. “If we live without God in our lives,” the bishop said, “that’s where our hell begins.”

He urged the assembly to go out to the margins, the peripheries, to seek out the forgotten and the fallen away. “They are found in the jails, food kitchens and abortion clinics.”

In other words, to be a disciple of Jesus, we must get out of ourselves.

Every other year, parishes nominate one or two parishioners who get out of themselves to serve others and their parishes. Those honored at this year’s Bishop’s Recognition Mass volunteer at their parishes and schools, at Morning Glory Ministries, St. James Place, Habitat for Humanity; for parish schools of religion, RCIA and sacramental preparation; on parish ministry teams; they serve as readers, extraordinary ministers of Communion, as musicians and choir leaders; they serve on parish committees, including Altar and Rosary Societies, Youth Groups, parish councils; as money counters, IT and computer persons; are always the first to jump up and say ‘yes” and friends to all.

This year’s honorees:

St. Therese North, Wayne and Barbara Snyder
St. Anthony, Arturo Gonzales and Charlotte Beatty
St. Gabriel Archangel, Mazie Giglio and Joseph McGuire
St. Francis Xavier-KC, Anna Livingston Adams and David Edward Fines
Our Lady of Peace, David and Gloria Carpio
Holy Cross, Liliana Mejia and Bertha Rojas
St. Robert Bellarmine, Bob and Emily Galloway Morris
St. Bridget, Pleasant Hill, Edward Medlock and Rita Pilcher
St. Jude the Apostle, Mike Wheeler and Candy Davis
St. George, Donna Macek and Dawna Schlickelman
St. Andrew the Apostle, JoAnne England and Silvia Torres
St. Francis Xavier-St. Joseph, John and Nyla Bitunjac
Seven Dolors, Katherine Frazier and Mary Bray
Sacred Heart, Hamilton, James and Carolyn Inskeep
Mary Immaculate, Gallatin, Carl and Patricia Wiles
St. Mary, Carrolton, Charles Robert Lock and Mary Lou Sullivan
St. Catherine of Siena, Jim Lee and Mary Roach
Guardian Angels, Leo Hernandez and Peg Prendergast
Sacred Heart, Warrensburg, Pat Martinez and Dave Denfield
Holy Spirit, Lee’s Summit, Kim Sullivan
St. John LaLande, Blue Springs, Mary Lou Romstad and Nora Martin
Visitation, Mike and Joanne Frechin
Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Joseph, Carl and Barbara Johnson
St. John Francis Regis, Glen and Mary Ernstmann
Twelve Apostles, Marlin and Frances Legault and John Boddiker
Holy Trinity, Weston, Paul Mozola and Lorienne Mathews
Our Lady of the Presentation, Diane Shireman and Greg and Mary Yates
St. Mary, Higginsville, Roger Rinne and Mike Ryun
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Ed and Kathy Blasco
Cathedral of St. Joseph, Tom Smith and Joe Lysaght

A reception at the Catholic Center followed the Mass.


October 26, 2016
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph