For Immediate Release
Contact: Maria Zone
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Hartford
Archbishop Blair to Honor Volunteers with the Saint Joseph Medal of Appreciation on Sunday, March 19th
Hartford, Conn. – (March 16, 2017) Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will recognize volunteers from across the Archdiocese of Hartford with the Saint Joseph Medal of Appreciation on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, 140 Farmington Ave., Hartford at 3 p.m. There will be 188 recipients from 148 parishes.
The medal recipients volunteer their time and talents in a variety of ways that enhance their parish communities. Some are religious education teachers, sacristans, and Eucharistic Ministers, while others publish their parish bulletins, serve the homebound and coordinate parish events. According to Archbishop Blair, they set an exemplary example for others by adhering to the scripture: “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all the humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:1-2).
Individuals as well as married couples were selected to receive the medals by their parish pastor. Among the many noteworthy volunteers are:
Eric and Janice Albetski of Saint Catherine, Broad Brook: Eric is a lector at Saint Catherine, and he and his wife both sing in the choir. They also coordinate a bereavement group to help people not only cope after a loved one dies, but to help them plan the funerals of loved ones or even their own. According to Catherine, “[You should] Strike when the iron is cold and prepare for death,” says Janice, who was inspired by her mother-in-law, who took the time while she was healthy to let family members know of her wishes once she passed. According to Rev. Daniel Wojtun, “The Albetski’s always find the time to serve God and His people.”
Marie Connors of Saint Clare, East Haven: As a graduate of the Catholic Biblical School of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Marie is well equipped to lead the adult Bible groups at Saint Clare Parish. The group meets Wednesday evenings for two hours. “It is a thrill for me to teach people about the Bible,” says Marie, who has been the instructor since 2013. She is also an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and helps to coordinate the lectors at her church. In addition, she has been a long-time member of the Ladies Guild and volunteers at the parish carnival.
Shirley Erickson of Saint Jude, Derby: Shirley is an original member of Saint Jude Parish having been a parishioner for 55 years. At 81 years young, she has always put her parish at the center of her life. She typed the parish weekly bulletin for many years, volunteers for the annual festival committee, and has been a reading tutor at Saint Mary School. Her pastor, Rev. Christopher Tiano, describes her as a “selfless, caring and giving person who is available when needed and has been an integral part of Saint Jude Parish.”
William and Blanche Grego of Saint Bernadette, New Haven: Both serve parishioners who are homebound by bringing them the Eucharist. Blanche is a parish council member and helps with the altar and decoration committees. Recently, she and William started a landscaping committee to beautify the church grounds. “It’s important that people care about their church,” she says. The committee has already uprooted old bushes and cut unruly vines that were covering the church windows. They hope that the weather cooperates so they can showcase their work for Easter. William, a retired professional photographer, now serves as the parish photographer.
Amilcar and Nancy Rodriguez of Saint Joseph, Bristol: For 15 years, Nancy has been working with the Hispanic community at Saint Joseph Parish helping to prepare families for the Sacrament of Baptism. She educates them about the role of godparents and educates them about the liturgy. Her husband, Amilcar, assists in preparing Spanish-speaking altar servers. He was involved for many years in the Spanish Knights of Columbus. He and his wife both serve as Eucharistic Ministers of Holy Communion and lectors.