By Katherine Long | Editor

The behind-the-scenes heroes of parishes across the diocese took center stage Dec. 9 as the Immaculata Awards for Service were presented at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

The Immaculatas were instituted in 2011 as part of the diocese’s 125th anniversary celebration. The awardees, nominated by their parish leaders, are “those who generously and unselfishly give of themselves to their parishes and whose love for the Church has been shown through their devotion to the Holy Father, as well as to our Diocese. They are the unsung heroes in our midst who build up our parish communities by extraordinary service in parish ministry in volunteer service.”

This year, 113 honorees from 84 parishes and apostolates were recognized for their dedication and commitment to their faith communities.

“You are the ‘living stones’ who know, live, and share your Catholic faith,” Bishop Robert J. Cunningham told the awardees in his homily during the Vespers service. “True missionary disciples that proclaim the Gospel in both word and deed.”

“These are difficult days for the Church. Its beauty has been seriously tarnished by those who should have been exemplary witnesses to the Gospel and faithful to the people entrusted to their care,” Bishop Cunningham said, acknowledging the recent painful revelations of clergy sexual abuse in the local and global Church.

“Today, however, is a celebration of hope. Dear honorees, your steadfast faith, your good example, and your selfless generosity in sharing your faith by reaching out to others as Mary did are heartwarming and vibrant signs that the Body of Christ — the Church that we love — is blessed with good and faithful disciples. Thank you so much.”

Two of those faithful disciples are Connie Bertrand and her son Daniel Bertrand, of St. Joseph’s Parish in Lee Center, one of two mother-son duos honored with Immaculatas this year.

Connie and Daniel are “just lovely people, very warm, and very faithful,” said their pastor, Father Robert Kelly. Their decades-long service to the parish has been wide-ranging, from helping with parish dinners and picnics to Daniel’s three terms as president of the parish council.

Connie said she and her late husband brought up “three wonderful boys” in the parish and that she and Daniel “just love helping other people!”

“We help out wherever we’re needed,” she added.

Both said they are thankful to be able to minister in the parish they’ve been part of for so many years.

“We thank the Lord for blessing us with St. Joseph’s. It’s a beautiful church,” Daniel said.

Therese Chawgo is this year’s honoree from Christ the Good Shepherd at St. Stephen the King in Oswego.

Well known for her tireless work as chair of the parish’s festival — an annual event that involves numerous volunteers producing a feast of traditional Polish dishes — Chawgo also does much more, noted Deacon Nick Alvaro, administrator of the parish.

“She’s also a trustee, she does finance, she does parish council, she’s on the leadership committee for the new church,” he said. “That’s just this year!”

Like so many of her fellow honorees, however, Chawgo was quick to share the credit.

“I’m humbled,” she said of the award. “But I have to accept it on behalf of the volunteers from the parish, not just me. There are so many people and I couldn’t do it without them all.”

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2018 Immaculata Award honorees listed by region and pastoral care area

Peter B. Olson Immaculate Conception, Fayetteville
Raymond Shandorf St. Vincent de Paul, Syracuse
Jerry Ball Blessed Sacrament, Syracuse
Joseph P. and Janice A. Procopio St. Mary, Minoa
Walt and Debbie Gardner St. Francis of Assisi, Bridgeport
Michael and Susan Rauer St. Matthew, East Syracuse
J. Claude Pilon Holy Cross, DeWitt
Vincent Smith Forester Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Syracuse
James and Patricia Prettyman St. Anthony of Padua, Syracuse
Martha Tamayo De Vergara Spanish Apostolate – West, Syracuse
Joan Hantke Our Lady of Hope, Syracuse
Bernard Feldman Most Holy Rosary, Syracuse
Patricia Schramm St. John the Baptist-Holy Trinity, Syracuse
JoAnne A. Merola Our Lady of Pompei-St. Peter, Syracuse
Joan M. Leskoske Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Syracuse
Abraham and Leslie Morelli St. Augustine, Baldwinsville
Roberta Lee Boyden St. Mary of the Assumption, Baldwinsville
Patrick and Madelyn Duffy St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Baldwinsville
James and Maureen Bowers St. Joseph the Worker, Liverpool
Anne Marie Lara  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Liverpool
Michael and Kathryn King  Pope John XXIII, Liverpool
Thomas J. Hachey Christ the King, Liverpool
Dan and Cindy Hoosock  St. Daniel, Syracuse
John and Donna Iannuzzi  St. Margaret, Mattydale
Terese L. Money  Sacred Heart, Cicero
Robert and Kathleen Lane  St. Michael-St. Peter, Syracuse
James and Maureen Brown Holy Family, Syracuse
Penelope P. Anderson St. Francis Xavier, Marcellus
Philip and Leslie Felice Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Syracuse
Anne Marie Masterpole St. Cecilia, Solvay
Marie D. Iadanza Our Lady of Peace, Lakeland
Madeline C. Nolan St. Patrick, Jordan
Lucas Erno Church of the Nativity at St. Leo, Tully
Gayle Bays  Church of the Nativity at Immaculate Conception, Pompey
Shane Michael Manthey  St. Patrick Mission, Otisco
Lynn Marie Bridget Handy Cunningham Church of the Nativity at St. Joseph, LaFayette
Kathleen C. Moore St. Margaret, Homer
Rosemarie Tenney St. Malachy, Sherburne
Carlotta J. Iannello  St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus, New Berlin
Gene and Cathy Rood St. Joseph, Oxford
Anita C. Urda Immaculate Conception, Greene
Bill and Millie Coughlin St. Thomas Aquinas, Binghamton
Francis J. McManus St. Patrick, Binghamton
Walter and Lorraine Kessler Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Binghamton
Paul Davis St. John the Evangelist, Bainbridge
Thomas and Emma McMullen St. Agnes Mission, Afton
Michael Meagher  St. Paul, Binghamton
Bernadette Mars St. Mary of the Assumption, Binghamton
Lawrence Koch  St. Francis of Assisi, Binghamton
Carolyn Pignatelli St. James, Johnson City
John W. and Mary S. Choynowski Holy Trinity, Binghamton
Pauline Utimazrui St. Vincent de Paul-Blessed Sacrament, Vestal
Marjorie Telfer Our Lady of Sorrows, Vestal
Eugene D. Flood  Ss. John and Andrew, Binghamton
Margaret M. Hale  Our Lady of Lourdes, Windsor
Frank and Constance Cardullo St. Joseph, Sanitaria Springs
Alex Muehl St. Mary, Kirkwood
Brigitte Pettersen St. Joseph Church, Deposit
John and Doris Rovente  Most Holy Rosary, Maine
Richard Fiori  Holy Family, Endwell
Donald V. Mastro  St. Joseph, Endicott
Roberta Sullivan  St. Anthony of Padua, Endicott
Anna Vezendy Christ Our Light, Pulaski
Judith LaMay St. Anne, Mother of Mary, Mexico
Mary V. Orr St. Stephen, Phoenix
Gene E. Piasecki Holy Trinity, Fulton
Therese Chawgo  Christ the Good Shepherd at St. Stephen the King, Oswego
Murphy James Brancato  Christ the Good Shepherd at  St. Joseph, Oswego
Catherine (Kay) Pullen and Roger Pullen  Christ the Good Shepherd at St. Paul, Oswego
William B. Spath  Christ the Good Shepherd at  St. Mary, Oswego
Jacqueline McKelvey Our Lady of the Rosary, Hannibal
Anthony Paolozzi  Our Lady of Lourdes, Utica
Michael V. Bambino Our Lady of the Rosary, New Hartford
Joseph and Maxine Szeliga Holy Trinity, Utica
Hank and Patty Esser Sacred Heart-St. Mary Our Lady of Czestochowa, New York Mills
Sean and Jennifer Clive St. Anthony, Chadwicks
John and Theresa (Grassi) Reale St. Mary of Mt. Carmel-Blessed Sacrament, Utica
Scott and Susan Evans St. Mark, Utica
Richard James Dukette III  St. Joseph-St. Patrick, Utica
Steven R. Jones  St. Joan of Arc Mission, Morrisville
Brian and Doreen Kelly St. Paul, Rome
Daniel Bertrand and Connie Bertrand St. Joseph, Lee Center
Roger and Diane Bartholomew St. Mary-St. Peter, Rome
Sally Haley St. John the Evangelist, Camden

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