Cheverus Awards 2013: A Great Class!

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley said the work of the Church would grind to a halt if not for people like those who received the Cheverus Award, Nov. 24, at a vespers service for the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Cardinal Sean preaching at Cheverus Awards

Cardinal Sean preaching at Cheverus Awards

“Each year we gather at this time so that the Catholic community might express our gratitude for some 100 men and women who faithfully serve the Church from their parishes and schools, central administration, campus and prison ministries, promoting the Gospel of Life, taking Holy Communion to the shut-ins, in countless examples of corporal and spiritual works of mercy,” Cardinal O’Malley said in his homily.

Worshipers at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

Worshipers at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

At the evening prayer service, 95 laypeople, deacons and religious received the Cheverus Award from Cardinal O’Malley — alongside two recipients who were honored last year — in recognition of their commitment to parish life, to the Church, and to serving God’s people. In the midst of the 95 recipients were some from our Ethnic communities including the following:

Mr. and Mrs. John Cheboryot and Mercy Anampiu, St. Michael Parish Lowell – Kenyan Apostolate
Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Jr. and Gracita Chiefe, St. Mary Parish Randolph – Filipino Apostolate
Ms. Marlieia Costa, St. Anthony Parish Everett – Brazilian Apostolate
Deacon Alfred Geneus, St. John the Evangelist Parish Cambridge – Haitian Apostolate
Sister Magdalene Ikeda, PDDM, Regina Cleri Boston, Japanese Apostolate
Mrs. Sonette Kammer, St. Tarcisius Parish Framingham, Brazilian Apostolate
Dr. Aloysius Lugira, St. Mary Parish Waltham, Ugandan Apostolate
Mrs. Helen Monteiro, St. Patrick Parish Roxbury, African American Apostolate
Mr. Joseph Nguyen, St. Bernadette Parish Randolph, Vietnamese Apostolate
Ms. Paule Verdet, Sacred Heart Parish Newton, Hmong Apostolate
Ms. Claudia Suarez, Madonna Queen Shrine, Hispanic Apostolate
Ms. Ruth Andrews, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, African American Apostolate

Ms. Ruth Andrews, St. Katherine Drexel Parish, African American Apostolate

Ms. Ruth Andrews, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, African American Apostolate

 

Ms. Helen Monteiro, St. Patrick Roxbury, African American Apostolate

Ms. Helen Monteiro, St. Patrick Roxbury, African American Apostolate

 

Deacon Alfred Geneus, St. John's in Cambridge, Haitian Apostolate

Deacon Alfred Geneus, St. John’s in Cambridge, Haitian Apostolate

 

Ms. Paule Verdet, Sacred Heart Parish Newton, Hmong Apostolate

Ms. Paule Verdet, Sacred Heart Parish Newton, Hmong Apostolate

 

Mercy Anampiu, St. Michael Lowell Parish, Kenyan  Apostolate

Mercy Anampiu, St. Michael Lowell Parish, Kenyan
Apostolate

 

Dr. Aloysius Lugira, St. Mary Parish Waltham, Ugandan Apostolate

Dr. Aloysius Lugira, St. Mary Parish Waltham, Ugandan Apostolate

 

Sr. Magdalene Ikeda, PDDM, Regina Cleri Boston, Japanese Apostolate

Sr. Magdalene Ikeda, PDDM, Regina Cleri Boston, Japanese Apostolate

 

Ms. Marileia Costa, St. Anthony Parish Everett, Brazilian Apostolate

Ms. Marileia Costa, St. Anthony Parish Everett, Brazilian Apostolate

 

Mr. john Cheboryot, St. Michael Parish Lowell, Kenyan Apostolate

Mr. John Cheboryot, St. Michael Parish Lowell, Kenyan Apostolate

 

Mr, Anthony Jr. and Gracita Chiefe, St. Mary Parish in Randolph, Filipino Apostolate

Mr. Anthony Jr. and Gracita Chiefe, St. Mary Parish in Randolph, Filipino Apostolate

 

Mr. Joseph Nguyen, St. Bernadette parish Randolph, Vietnamese Apostolate

Mr. Joseph Nguyen, St. Bernadette parish Randolph, Vietnamese Apostolate

 

Cardinal Sean, Mrs. Sonette Kammer and friends, St. Tarcisius Parish Framingham, Brazilian Apostolate

Cardinal Sean, Mrs. Sonette Kammer and friends, St. Tarcisius Parish Framingham, Brazilian Apostolate

“Today we are here because so many make such loving sacrifices and give such generous service without any fanfare or recompense,” he said.

Each year, the pastors of one third of the parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston are given the opportunity to nominate a layperson or married couple for the award. The archdiocese asks that the pastor nominate a parishioner who has served the parish well over an extended period of time and has done so in a quiet, unassuming and, perhaps, unrecognized fashion. In that way the award recognizes the unsung heroes of the archdiocese.

Additionally, each of the regional bishops chose a deacon and a religious from their region. Bishops honor the recipients based on the same kind of service provided by laypeople who receive the award. The Archdiocesan Central Ministries also nominate recipients for their service on archdiocesan committees or leadership of important ministries.

“Today we want to thank them and thank God for them,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

First presented in 2008 at the celebration to mark the conclusion of the archdiocese’s bicentennial year, the medal is named for the first bishop of the archdiocese, Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus, who led the diocese from 1808 until his return to France in 1824. Bishop Cheverus died in 1836 as the Archbishop of Bordeaux. The oval-shaped medal made of sterling silver bears a likeness of Bishop Cheverus based on the Gilbert Stuart portrait, with Bishop Cheverus’ coat of arms on the reverse side.

After refusing to renounce his fealty to the papacy at the time of the French Revolution, Bishop Cheverus escaped to England before coming to the United States.

“It wasn’t easy to be a Catholic in those days,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

Bishop Cheverus traveled all over New England in rough country, built theological bridges between the minority Catholic and majority protestant populations of Boston, ministered to Native American tribes throughout the region, and earned a reputation for hard work.

Cardinal O’Malley said the people who received the award stood ready to take up the kind of heavy lifting in the work of the Church, which the first bishop of Boston did not shy away from.

“These awardees are carrying the piano. Now there are others who are content to carry the piano stool, or write the sheet music, but these are our heroes and heroines who say yes to God and to their Church,” he said.

To see a slideshow of the pictures from the Cheverus Awards Click here

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