33 years of service

Jun 2-8. 05
VOL 124 NO. 21
33 years of service
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Long-time Southern Tier DRE to receive Bishop Harrison Award

When Barbara Kane, DRE, accepts the Bishop Frank J. Harrison Award Monday, June 6, she will be the first recipient from the Southern Region of the Syracuse Diocese in the honor’s six years of existence.

The award presentation, entitled “Pathways to Ministry,” will be held at the Holiday Inn, Electronics Parkway, Liverpool.

Since 2000, the award has been presented to an outstanding figure in catechetical ministry within the diocese.

According to letter of recommendation penned by Father Charles Currie, pastor at St. Ambrose in Endicott, “Barbara embodies service — pure service devoid of ego or recognition — rather utterly altruistic in service to the Lord and the Church.”

Her career in catechetical service began in 1972 at St. Paul’s in Binghamton and continued on a volunteer basis while she was attending the State University of New York at Oswego. From 1984 to 1992, she served as the Director of Religious Education at St. Paul’s before arriving at St. Ambrose in Endicott where she is currently based. She received her master’s degree in theology from Marywood College in 1995.

During her career in religious education, Kane has ministered to youth with special needs as well as high school students.

Among the wide variety of tasks she executes for the St. Ambrose Parish, her primary role is facilitating contact between the parish and its youths and their parents.

“She’s a well-rounded person, strong in faith with a variety of skills that make her well-suited to working as a catechist, especially with the children,” Father Currie said. “Her integrated personality and her enormous faith make her an excellent choice for this award.”

The award was named for Bishop Harrison because of his extraordinary commitment to catechetical ministry, according to Diocesan Director of Religious Studies Sister Katie Eiffe, CSJ.

“Bishop Harrison has been, from the beginning, a staunch supporter of the catechetical ministry,” Sister Katie said. She went on to cite the development of six resource centers throughout the diocese as testament to the late bishop’s enthusiasm for catechetical ministry in action.

“Other dioceses may have a resource center, but we have six scattered throughout the diocese,” Sister Katie said. The Syracuse Diocese boasts one resource center for each region as well as two satellite centers in Cortland and Norwich.

The inaugural award was presented to Gene Lovas, who founded the main resource center in Syracuse. In 2001, Gerrie Kaluzny, the former diocesan director of religious education, was presented with the award. Two awards were presented in 2002, one to Janet Cannistra, who served for 32 years at the Eastern Resource Center, and the other to Kathy Fitzgibbons, the catechetical leader at Holy Cross in Dewitt. In 2003, Lana Riley of St. Margaret’s in Homer received the award and Anne Dobreski of Holy Family Church in Fairmount received the award last year.

A letter sent to parishes throughout the diocese details the criteria used by a committee to select the Bishop Harrison Award recipient. The criteria include length of service in catechetical ministry; whether or not the nominee has mentored or encouraged others; and whether or not the “vision of Vatican II” has been “lived out” in the nominee’s ministry. Other criteria include whether or not the nominee has “witnessed to the importance of ongoing faith formation for self and others” and whether or not the nominee “stands in the midst of the people of God to serve.”

Once nominees are selected, Sister Katie and the four regional directors meet to select a proper candidate.

“We do this very seriously and very prayerfully and really just ask the Spirit to let us know who is the person to recognize for the given year,” Sister Katie said. “Sometimes we do that quickly and sometimes…it’s always a hard decision because we get very good nominations.”

Kane believes a major consideration for her nomination was the length of her service in catechetical ministry and Sister Katie concurred

“She just fulfills all of the criteria,” Sister Katie said.

Sister Katie added that Kane, “Just runs a great program.”

Since Kane’s selection, Sister Katie said she has received repeated affirmation for the selection from other individuals in the Southern Region.

Nevertheless, Kane said the selection caught her off guard.

“I was surprised and excited to receive the award,” she said.

The fact that Kane was from the Southern Region also factored into her selection, according to Sister Katie.

“It’s a conscious effort….It’s certainly one of the things that we think about,” she said. “We don’t always want it to be someone from Syracuse.”

Sister Katie believes that the award serves a crucial role in honoring those members of the diocese who have committed themselves to catechetical service.

“I think it’s very important to recognize the people of God who have responded to their baptismal call to ministry and to affirm that and to hold them up as models for all of us who claim to be disciples,” Sister Katie said.

Registration for the dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. and a cash bar will be available. Attendees should be seated at 6:15 p.m. and the buffet-style dinner will be served at 6:45 p.m., followed by the presentation ceremony.

Along with Sister Katie, Bishop James Moynihan and Bishop Thomas Costello will attend.

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