Catechetical Honors, Recognition Given at Ceremony

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Bishop-elect Edmund Whalen, vicar for clergy, and Father José Felix Ortega, administrator of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in the Bronx, each received the Terence Cardinal Cooke Award for their “extraordinary commitment, support and leadership in handing on the faith with excellence.”

The Cardinal Cooke Award was one of several honors bestowed Nov. 3 at Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in Ossining at an annual Certification and Recognition Ceremony of the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office in the Department of Youth Faith Formation.

Retired Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Walsh presided at the gathering, which included a prayer service, and Sister Joan Curtin, C.N.D., director of the Catechetical Office, offered welcoming remarks.

The Good Shepherd Award was presented to “outstanding persons serving in the catechetical ministry who, by their life and service, have lived in the spirit of Jesus the Good Shepherd.” Honored were Sister Mary Ann Maceda, O.S.F., director of religious education and certified formation leader for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. Teresa of Avila parish in Sleepy Hollow, and the Blessed Sacrament Province of the Congregation of Notre Dame.

The John Cardinal O’Connor Award, given to catechetical leaders, clergy, parish directors and coordinators of religious education, and others involved in ministry with persons with disabilities, was presented to Donna Milone, religious education special needs coordinator and catechist at St. Clare’s parish on Staten Island.

The Catechetical Office presented its Medal of Honor to catechists who have provided 25 or more years of dedicated service in the archdiocese. They are Socorro Rodriguez-Williams, St. John Chrysostom parish, the Bronx, 40 years; Brother Pius Blandino, O.F.M. Cap., St. Vito and Most Holy Trinity, Mamaroneck, 35 years; John Thompson, St. Columba, Hopewell Junction, 25 years; Mary Elizabeth Thompson, St. Columba, Hopewell Junction, 25 years; Margaret Sullivan, St. Stanislaus Kostka, Pleasant Valley, 27 years; Andrea Tighe, St. Stanislaus Kostka, Pleasant Valley, 25 years; Gina Brillantes, St. Cecilia and Holy Agony, Manhattan, 30 years; JoAnn D’Alessio, St. Cecilia and Holy Agony, Manhattan, 35 years; Milta Rivera, St. Cecilia and Holy Agony, Manhattan, 25 years; Loreli Mahoney, Most Precious Blood, Walden, 25 years; Deacon Edward Woods, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Middletown, 31 years; Maureen Zeiss, St. Francis of Assisi, West Nyack, 25 years; Susan Ganschow, Holy Family, Staten Island, 25 years; Linda Kelly, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Staten Island, 25 years; Carol DellaPenta, St. Peter, Monticello, 25 years; and Ellen Edwards, St. Peter, Rosendale, 35 years.

A letter of appreciation from Cardinal Dolan was presented to the following catechists, who have continued their catechetical service after receiving the Medal of Honor. They are Socorro Rodriguez-Williams, St. John Chrysostom, the Bronx, 40 years; Brother Pius Blandino, O.F.M. Cap., St. Vito and Most Holy Trinity, Mamaroneck, 35 years; Louise Pisano, Most Precious Blood, Walden, 31 years; Patricia Manuli, St. Mary, Wappingers Falls, 30 years; Michele Rusciano, Our Lady Help of Christians, Staten Island, 30 years; and Kathleen Whitehurst, Our Lady Help of Christians, Staten Island, 30 years.

The Advanced Catechetical Leadership Formation Program is a three-year program of courses covering Theology, Church History, History of Sacraments, Development of the Christian Person and Advanced Catechetical Administration. The following people, receiving the certificate of completion, have attained the highest level of formal training offered to coordinators of religious education by the Catechetical Office: Joan Baggs, 
Our Lady Help of Christians, Staten Island; Joy Brideau, 
St. Augustine, Highland; Jane Bunt, 
St. Mary/St. Joseph and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Poughkeepsie; Dorothy Buchalski, 
St. Joseph, Florida; Pamela Crozier, St. Joseph, Somers; Mariana Dalsass, 
Transfiguration, Tarrytown; and Luis Espada, Our Lady of Mercy, the Bronx; Catherine Fife, 
St. John the Evangelist, Goshen; Angelica Frausto, Sacred Heart, Monroe; Gregory Hauck, St. Joseph/St. Thomas and St. John Neumann, Staten Island; Jane Kubenik, 
Holy Rosary, Greenwood Lake; Sister Milagro Mercado, S.C.R., St. Anthony of Padua, South Bronx; Nancy Miller, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Middletown; Susan Munks,
 St. Columba, Chester; Donald Ruzzi, St. Gregory the Great, Garnerville; and Nina Velez-Lopez, 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel/St. Benedicta and St. Mary of the Assumption, Staten Island.

The Basic Leadership Training course is part of the Catechetical Leadership Program for Parish Directors and Coordinators of Religious Education. Completing the course this year were Deacon Santos Arroyo, St. Lucy, the Bronx; Joan Brisson, Christ the King, Yonkers; Carol DellaPenta, St. Peter, Monticello; Luis Espada, Our Lady of Mercy, the Bronx; Mary Humphrey, director of religious education, Resurrection, Rye; Dolores Kosty, SS. Peter and Paul and St. Ursula, Mount Vernon; Gina Mastrangelo, St. Eugene, Yonkers; Elizabeth Rivera, Holy Family, Manhattan; Donald Ruzzi, St. Gregory the Great, Garnerville; and Sister Melba Vasquez, C.N.D., director of religious education, St. Aloysius, Harlem.

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