By Katherine Long
Editor

Ninety-seven lay volunteers from 78 parishes across the diocese were honored for their service at the annual Immaculata Awards celebration held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse Dec. 6.

Now in their fifth year, the awards were instituted by Bishop Robert J. Cunningham to recognize the “unsung heroes in our midst who build up our parish communities by extraordinary service.” Recipients are nominated for the award by their pastors and/or parish councils.

Noting the approaching Year of Mercy, Bishop Cunningham spoke to the “messengers of mercy” being recognized. “All of us are recipients of God’s mercy. In turn we are called to be heralds of God’s mercy, announcing by our words and deeds the lavish mercy of God who reaches out to all with the warm embrace of his forgiveness and peace,” he said. “Through you, God’s mercy is visible to others.”

At 35, Michael Fanto of St. Peter’s Church in Rome may be a young honoree, but he’s already offered more than a decade of service to his parish. A physicist by trade, Fanto is a Eucharistic minister and a Confirmation teacher, and he tries to show his students that science and religion don’t need to be mutually exclusive, he said.

Humbled to receive the award, Fanto believes community is built on acts of kindness. “Whatever I can give back, I will,” he said.

Honoree Dorothy Leonard has been a member of St. Joseph’s Church in Deposit for 73 years. In charge of recruiting, training and scheduling Eucharistic ministers, lectors and altar servers, she’s on the phone every Saturday morning making sure coverage is in place. On Sunday mornings, she and her husband open the church and prepare the space for liturgy. Why does she do it, after all these years? “It’s my parish,” she said simply. “It’s my church.”

Despite all her efforts, Leonard said she doesn’t feel “quite worthy” of her award. “I don’t feel I deserve it, because I like what I do.”

Honoree Dolores Brulé was nominated for her extensive contributions to the parish, the diocese and beyond over more than half a century. A champion for civil rights, opportunity and equality, Brulé’s past service includes the Bishop Foery Foundation, the Catholic Interracial Council, the New York State Catholic Conference, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Advisory Council, and the diocesan Office of Black Catholic Ministry, which “served to seek out, to encourage, to evangelize in whatever way they could, to enhance the presence of our lives within this Church” which had been overlooked or not seen, she said. As a parishioner of St. Anthony’s of Padua in Syracuse, she was a lector and a member of the parish council. (Since moving, she now attends All Saints Church.)

Brulé cites Msgr. Charles Brady, whom she first met in 1949, as a great influence in her life. “He was a man to be admired,” she said. “He represented a side of the Church that I would have not known about had it not been for him.”

She drew on his example when asked about receiving the Immaculata. Msgr. Brady was initially uncomfortable receiving the title “monsignor,” but his friends ultimately convinced him it was a reflection of his service. The Immaculata is not an award for Dolores, she said, but “an award for the faithfulness of the people of St. Anthony’s.”

Below are photos and video from the celebration (part of the Dec. 9 edition of “Around the Diocese”) and a complete list of honorees.

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2015 Immaculata Award honorees
Honorees are listed by region and parish/PCA
 
Northern Region
 
Anthony and Marjorie Corsoniti
Holy Trinity, Fulton
 
Suzanne Powers
St. Anne, Mother of Mary, Mexico
 
Laura L. Kehoe
Christ Our Light, Pulaski
 
 
Southern Region
 
Bonnie Mandyck
St. Anthony, Endicott
 
Lillian M. Babicek
St. Joseph, Endicott
 
Mary Inman
St. Ambrose, Endicott
 
Hope Hannon
Holy Family, Endwell
 
James Tokos
Most Holy Rosary, Maine
 
Dorothy Leonard
St. Joseph, Deposit
 
Dennis and Jane O’Dea
St. Mary, Kirkwood
 
Joseph and Linda Sanderson
St. Joseph, Sanitaria Springs
 
Corinne Mott
Our Lady of Lourdes, Windsor
 
Greg Hrostowski
St. Vincent Blessed Sacrament, Vestal
 
Nancy Hargrave
Our Lady of Sorrows, Vestal
 
Joanne S. Pucek
Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Binghamton
 
Marianna Diehl
St. Patrick, Binghamton
 
Gloria Rokicsak
St. Thomas Aquinas, Binghamton
 
Joan Trepa
Immaculate Conception, Greene
 
Sandy Beckwith
St. Joseph, Oxford
 
Ann Marie Lenkiewicz
Holy Trinity, Binghamton
 
Sheila B. Madigan
St. James, Johnson City
 
John Desimone
St. Mary of the Assumption, Binghamton
 
Doris Homan
St. Paul, Binghamton
 
George and Elizabeth (Betty) Mayerhauser
St. Agnes Mission, Afton
 
Theresa Mary MacAvoy
St. John, Bainbridge
 
 
Eastern Region
 
Robert Fetzko
St. Malachy, Sherburne
 
Sharon Norton
St. John, Camden
 
Barbara C. Thomas
St. Mary, Rome
 
Michael Fanto
St. Peter, Rome
 
Sharon Reilly
St. Paul, Rome
 
Lorraine A. Withers
St. Mary, Hamilton
 
Elaine Gray
St. Joan of Arc Mission, Morrisville
 
Sharon Zombek
St. Joseph, Oriskany Falls
 
Katherine I. Peck, OCDS
St. Bernard, Waterville
 
Vincent and Patricia Zaleski
St. Mark, Utica
 
Lucille LaVine
St. Mary of Mt. Carmel-Blessed Sacrament, Utica
 
John and Regina Aliasso
St. Anthony-St. Agnes, Utica
 
Carol Parker
Our Lady of Lourdes, Utica
 
Valerie Elacqua
Holy Trinity, Utica
 
Ann Krol
Sacred Heart-St. Mary, Our Lady of Czestochowa, New York Mills
 
Les and Marie Carroll
St. Patrick-St. Anthony, Chadwicks
 
Marybeth K. McCall
Our Lady of the Rosary, New Hartford
 
Doris M. Goff
St. John the Evangelist, New Hartford
 
Margaret Iffert
Church of the Annunciation, Clark Mills
 
 
Western Region
 
Patricia Van Nortwick
St. Mary, Cortland
 
James Perfetti
St. Anthony of Padua, Cortland
Carole Harris
St. Margaret, Homer
 
Margaret (Peg) Orzel
St. Stephen-St. Patrick, Marathon/Whitney Point
 
James and Brenda Hiza
St. Joseph, LaFayette
 
Paula and Michael Skvarch
Immaculate Conception, Pompey
 
Ted and Patty Shaw
St. Leo, Tully
 
Lawrence E. Gray
St. Patrick, Jordan
 
Brenda DeGroff
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Syracuse
 
Anne Lawton
Most Holy Rosary, Syracuse
 
Marilyn J. Madison
Our Lady of Lourdes, Syracuse
 
Frederick and Jeanette Mohr
St. Anthony of Padua, Syracuse
 
Dolores Brule
Spanish Apostolate in collaboration with Office of Black Catholics, Syracuse
 
Jay K. and Young H. Lee
St. James, Syracuse
 
Harold and Rita Thompson
Blessed Sacrament, Syracuse
 
Alberta P. DeStefano
St. Vincent de Paul, Syracuse
 
Kathleen A. Kinsey
Immaculate Conception, Fayetteville
 
Frank and Frances Pavone
St. Ann, Manlius
 
Henry (Hank) Centore
St. Charles-St. Ann, Syracuse
 
Joseph and Rosalie Durand
St. Francis Xavier, Marcellus
 
Edward M. Campagna
Holy Family, Syracuse
 
John M. LaManche
St. Michael-St. Peter, Syracuse
 
Charles C. Hawks
Sacred Heart, Cicero
 
Frank and Edie Zdep
St. Margaret, Mattydale
 
Coleen Dembowski
St. Rose of Lima, North Syracuse
 
Frank Sylvester
Pope John XXIII, Liverpool
 
Cait Clark
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Liverpool
 
Terrance and Theresa Wellenzohn
St. Joseph the Worker, Liverpool
 
George and Carole Van Skoik
St. Augustine, Baldwinsville
 
E. Scott Brown, Jr.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Baldwinsville
 
Claudette and Jim Pitts
St. Mary of the Assumption, Baldwinsville
 
Laurie A. Mogilewski
St. Stephen, Phoenix
 
Sabatino Porrino
Our Lady of Pompei-St. Peter, Syracuse
 
Gerald Mott
St. John the Baptist-Holy Trinity, Syracuse
 
 
 

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