Pathways to Ministry celebrates catechists and leaders

The annual Pathways to Ministry dinner was held June 8, celebrating catechetical ministry and those who help faith formation students across the diocese know, live, and share the Catholic faith.

   During the celebration, the following individuals were recognized for their achievements:

   Level I Catechetical Certification: Michelle Babbie, Mt. Carmel/Blessed Sacrament, Utica; Colleen Bennett, St. Patrick, Jordan; Karen Fadden, Our Lady of the Rosary, Hannibal; Ann Marie Horan, Notre Dame School, Utica; Michelle McAlhaney, St. Augustine, Baldwinsville; Mary Louise Merle, St. Margaret, Mattydale; Margaret Ostaszewski, St. Stephen, Phoenix; Trasie Procopio, St. Margaret, Mattydale; and Julia Tracey, St. Margaret, Mattydale.

   Level I Catechetical Recertification: Kimberly Lasinski, Church of St. Michael/St. Peter, Syracuse; and Kathryne Sparaco, St. Vincent de Paul, Syracuse.

   Level II Catechetical Certification: Denise Godemann, St. John the Evangelist, New Hartford; Christine Gray, Mt. Carmel/Blessed Sacrament, Utica; and Regina Wright, St. Augustine, Baldwinsville.

   Level II Catechetical Recertification: Kimberly Lasinski, Church of St. Michael/St. Peter, Syracuse.

   Level I & II Catechetical Certification and Recertification through “Into The Fields,” a three-year process led by Diocesan Director of the Office of Faith Formation Cathy Cornue: Elizabeth Case, Mariann Hand, Colleen Lasher, Lyn Pinto, Edward Reichert, Bridget Romeo, and Kristine Skinner, all of St. Augustine, Baldwinsville.

   Formation for Ministry Commissioned Lay Ecclesial Ministers in Catechetical Ministry: Maureen Wills, St. Mary of the Assumption, Oswego; and Diane Zeller, St. Paul, Oswego.

   Associate of Faith Formation Certification: Shannon Jones, St. Joseph’s, Oriskany Falls; and Diane Zeller, St. Paul, Oswego.

   Associate of Faith Formation Recertification: Phyllis Gonzales, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Endicott, and Southern Region Office of Faith Formation.

   Advanced Certificate in Continuing Education through the Loyola Institute for Ministry program (LIMEX): Heidi Buda, Holy Trinity, Fulton; Barbara Hill, St. James, Johnson City; Madonna Hurchla, Saints John and Andrew, Binghamton; Hope Matthews, St. James, Johnson City; and Maureen McNichol, Saints John and Andrew, Binghamton.

   Director of Faith Formation Certification: Catherine Mackey, St. John the Baptist/Holy Trinity, Syracuse.

   Director of Faith Formation Recertification: Deacon Thomas Picciano, St. Vincent de Paul Blessed Sacrament, Vestal; Andrea Schaffer, Southern Region Director, Office of Faith Formation; and Lisa Spooner, St. Patrick, Oneida.

   Milestone anniversaries of service were also acknowledged:

   First Year of Ministry: Molly Brown, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Baldwinsville; Adam Eichelberger, Divine Mercy, Central Square; Karen Engels, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Baldwinsville; LeeRose Hannon-Pickett, St. John the Evangelist, Camden; Danea Hurd, St. Anthony of Padua, Endicott; Sister Patricia Larkin, OSF, Church of the Nativity at St. Joseph, LaFayette; Lisa Matto, St. James, Cazenovia; Mary Beth Meade, Our Lady of Pompei, Syracuse; Kathy Seiselmyer, Our Lady of the Rosary, New Hartford; Kathryne Sparaco, St. Vincent de Paul, Syracuse; and James Tokos, Most Holy Rosary, Maine.

   Five Years: Catherine Mackey, St. John the Baptist/Holy Trinity, Syracuse.

   Ten Years: Mary Badger, St. Patrick, Jordan; Phyllis Gonzales, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Endicott, and Southern Region Associate, Office of Faith Formation; and Paul Loman, St. Daniel, Syracuse.

   Fifteen Years: Theresa Vaga, St. Margaret, Mattydale.

   Twenty Years: Kathy Emmons, Our Lady of the Rosary, Hannibal.

   Thirty Years: Heidi Buda, Holy Trinity, Fulton.

   Thirty-Five Years: Margaret Acciai, Most Holy Rosary, Maine; and Cathy Cornue, Diocesan Director of Faith Formation.

   Retiring leaders were also saluted: Margaret Acciai, Most Holy Rosary, Maine; Kathy Meus, All Saints, Syracuse; Kristen O’Hara, St. Joseph, Camillus; Sharon Secor, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Syracuse; and Nancy West, Our Lady of Lourdes, Windsor.

   Special recognition was offered to Maureen Wills, of St. Mary of the Assumption in Oswego, on her feature as Catechist of the Month in Catechist magazine. Deanne Hall, the Northern Region Faith Formation Associate and the Director of Faith Formation at St. Mary of the Assumption in Oswego, was also recognized for her New Wineskins Award, presented by the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, for her parish program “St. Sebastian Club for Families on the Go.”

   The 17th annual Bishop Frank J. Harrison Award was presented to Madonna Hurchla, Director of Faith Formation at Saints John and Andrew in Binghamton. The award is named after the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse and recognizes outstanding service in catechetical ministry.

   In her remarks introducing the award, diocesan Director of the Office of Faith Formation Cathy Cornue said, “Madonna loves to think outside the box and constantly looks for ways to engage all the children in the program. She was one of the first catechists to truly understand the use of technology for a new generation of students. Her goal is that each child take something away that helps them concretely understand what it is to be a disciple of Christ.

   “Listening to the call to evangelize, Madonna facilitates faith centered book clubs open to all, reflecting on the works of Bishop Barron, Father Richard Rohr, and others. She planned and carried out an outdoor living nativity, exciting the faith formation students, catching the attention of parishioners, neighbors and even people driving by to contemplate the meaning of Christmas. In hearing Pope Francis’ concern for the environment and his call for a merciful church, Madonna met weekly with about 20 people to pray, reflect on the Scriptures and then to make, out of plastic bags, mats for the homeless.”

   By her prayer, example and skills in mentoring, Cornue said, Hurchla has encouraged others to become and continue to be involved as catechists.

   Bishop Robert J. Cunningham closed the event with a prayer and a blessing of the catechists and catechetical leaders.

   The information here was provided by the diocesan Office of Faith Formation.

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