Area teens honored with Pope St. Pius X Youth Award

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FALL RIVER, Mass. — Fifty-four young persons from parishes throughout the Fall River Diocese received the Pope St. Pius X Youth Award from Bishop George W. Coleman in the context of a prayer service on May 6 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River.

The annual award, named for the pontiff who created the Fall River Diocese in 1904 and presented for the first time in 2001, recognizes teens who serve their parish community with selflessness, commitment and dedication.

Nominated for the honor by their pastor, recipients are active in a variety of ministries and programs within their parishes. Some are lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, teachers in parish Religious Education programs; others are altar servers, leaders in youth groups, and members of retreat teams.

Pope St. Pius X Youth Award recipients must have already received the Sacrament of Confirmation, be at least a sophomore in high school and not older than 19. Recipients participated in the award prayer service, offered readings, intercessory prayers and reflections.

During the ceremony, two recipients offered those in attendance personal reflections about receiving the award.

Mary Geralyn Burke, from Christ the King Parish in Mashpee, said, “I am aware that today is the day that one person from each parish is represented, but I really wish my whole youth ministry and all the other faithful communities I am involved in were here today. Every one of us has helped our youth ministry spread God’s love and grace to the younger kids and even adults within our parish and community. These people are my second family; I can count on them for anything. We have all been friends since we were younger and I know these friendships are going to last for the rest of my lifetime.

“Every one of them has made me and guided me to be a more caring, strong, friendly, generous, loving, and faithful person I am today.”

Matthew Gagnon of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Swansea also expressed his gratitude and love for the Church. “I am truly honored to receive the Pope St. Pius X Youth Award, however it seems odd to get an award for what we are all supposed to do — help others. My faith is my identity; it’s a way of life.

“To me, faith is action. When we pray and go to Mass we act upon our love for God. When we are out in the streets serving the community we are God’s instruments of love and compassion. If one is trying to be faithful and Christ-like in life, action is required. It takes action to be a Catholic. It is not always fun, easy, socially-acceptable or, in some places, legal, but with faith in God we are given strength to succeed.”

“To my fellow recipients, your willingness to take action brought you here,” he concluded. “Even when times are hard or you are placed in new circumstances, continue to take action and put God first. You will never fail because God will never fail you.”

The sentiments echoed Burke’s closing remarks: “So remember tonight,” she said. “How good it feels to have served God with the love and grace He has granted upon us all. No matter if you do something big or small to help someone in need, you can make a difference and grow in God ‘s faith. You may even have enlightened someone without knowing and this is what God has chosen us to do. By going and making a difference you are answering the call from God, and each of us recipients are being rewarded for just that tonight. Let’s all continue to make a difference in the lives of the people around us, whether they are in our parish or not. Anyone we help in our lives will touch each of our hearts and hopefully you will do the same to them.”

The following is a list of the Pope St. Pius X Youth Award recipients and their parishes by deanery.

Attleboro Deanery

Monica A. Curtin, St. Mary Parish, Mansfield; Mary G. Day, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Seekonk; Korey J. Dufault, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Attleboro; Andrew J. Forte, St. Mary Parish, North Attleboro; Emily Horan, St. Mark Parish, Attleboro Falls; Timothy Legg, Sacred Heart Parish, North Attleboro; Cory Rebello, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Attleboro; and Collin P. Walter, St. Mary Parish, Norton.

Cape Cod Deanery

Mary G. Burke, Christ the King Parish, Mashpee; Shaelyn K. Calvey, St. Margaret Parish, Buzzards Bay; Kezia S. Duarte, St. Mary-Our Lady of the Isle Parish, Nantucket; Joshua B. Ford, St. Joan of Arc Parish, Orleans; Peter Z. Hartnett, Corpus Christi Parish, E. Sandwich; Liam Loiselle, Our Lady of Victory Parish, Centerville; Kevin P. Nicolai, Holy Redeemer Parish, Chatham; Katelin E. Oberlander, St. Pius X Parish, South Yarmouth; Sarah A. Peninger, Holy Trinity Parish, West Harwich; Sean Quinn, St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, North Falmouth; Molly P. Shanahan, Our Lady of the Cape Parish, Brewster; Rory P. Trimble, St. Francis Xavier Parish, Hyannis; and Emily S. Turner, St. Patrick Parish, Falmouth. 

Fall River Deanery

Sierra N. Aguiar, St. Michael Parish, Fall River; Xavier R. Faria, St. Bernard Parish, Assonet; Sara Ferreira, St. Dominic Parish, Swansea; Matthew T. Gagnon, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Swansea; Sean Galego, Sacred Heart Parish, Fall River; Jameson T. Hughes, St. John the Baptist Parish, Westport; Matthew J. Machado, Santo Christo Parish, Fall River; Anthony J. Mahoney-Pacheco, Holy Name Parish, Fall River; Jillian Sargent, St. Patrick Parish, Somerset; Cameron Souza, St. Joseph Parish, Fall River; Gabrielle Souza, St. Thomas More Parish, Somerset; Shawn Szczupak, St. Stanislaus Parish, Fall River; and Thomas Zmuda, Good Shepherd Parish, Fall River.

New Bedford Deanery

Shashawna S. Amaral, Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Parish, New Bedford; Samantha H. Correia, St. Joseph Parish, Fairhaven; Mayse M. Dias, St. Lawrence Martyr Parish, New Bedford; Raquel M. Ferreira, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, New Bedford; Victoria Johnson, St. John Neumann Parish, East Freetown; Frederick M. Kalisz, III, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, New Bedford; Taylor Markey, Our Lady of Fatima Parish, New Bedford; Luke McGraw, St. Mary Parish, Fairhaven; Allison M. Paiva, St. Julie Billiart Parish, North Dartmouth; Bessy P. Rivas, St. Kilian Parish, New Bedford; Brett M. Santos, St. Mary Parish, South Dartmouth; Giovanni Sequeira, Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, New Bedford; and Andrew Tricker, St. Patrick Parish, Wareham; 

Taunton Deanery

Jacquelyn R. Bechtel, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish, North Easton; Ashley Correia, Annunciation of the Lord Parish, Taunton; Meghan Dunne, Holy Cross Parish, South Easton; Evangelos Mines, St. Ann Parish, Raynham; Joseph Silveira, St. Anthony Parish, Taunton; Joshua Tibbels, St. Nicholas of Myra Parish, North Dighton; and Jazmin L. Wallace, Holy Family Parish, East Taunton.

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