Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Bishop Senior Bestows Lorica Awards on Ten Individuals for Exemplary Service

The Diocese’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day centered on special recognition for ten individuals who received this year’s Lorica Award – named after the prayer attributed to the patron saint of our Diocese – for demonstrated integrity of faith and generosity in service.

Bishop Timothy Senior conferred the award during Solemn Vespers on the fifth Sunday of Lent, March 17, at St. Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg.

“We celebrate this feast and celebrate with great joy those who are being honored with the Lorica Awards today. Your witness to your faith, your commitment to your vocation and your service to the Church is an inspiration to all of us,” Bishop Senior said during his homily.

The 2024 Lorica Award recipients are:

  • Joanne Bauer of St. Joseph Parish in Lancaster, a parish volunteer for more than 35 years and a member of the Legion of Mary since the 1980s, through which she visits parishioners and welcomes new members
  • Walt Bell of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in York, who serves as a Boy Scout leader, religious education catechist, member of the team for the Christian initiation of adults, and case assessor for the Diocesan Tribunal
  • William DeLise of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Waynesboro, who serves as a member of the parish council, as a sacristan, and in ministry to the sick and homebound
Lorica Award recipients stand with Bishop Timothy Senior following Solemn Vespers on the fifth Sunday of Lent. From left are Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, John Messinger, Joanne Bauer, Sister Rita Smith, SSJ, Dawn Henry, Joseph Scartelli, William DeLise, Carol Lark and Terry Klugh. Not pictured is Walt Bell, who was unable to attend.
Lorica Award recipients stand with Bishop Timothy Senior following Solemn Vespers on the fifth Sunday of Lent. From left are Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, John Messinger, Joanne Bauer, Sister Rita Smith, SSJ, Dawn Henry, Joseph Scartelli, William DeLise, Carol Lark and Terry Klugh. Not pictured is Walt Bell, who was unable to attend.
  • Dawn Henry of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Hanover, who volunteers at the parish thrift shop, coordinates the parish’s transportation ministry, visits the sicks, and founded the parish’s Medical Equipment Loan Locker for those in need of medical supplies
  • Terry Klugh, principal of Lancaster Catholic High School, for his work for the Diocese for more than 45 years, including as teacher, athletic director, principal and director of religious education
  • Carol Lark of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Lykens, who serves as a catechist, housekeeper for the rectory, fish fry volunteer, lector and instructor for altar servers.
  • John Messinger of St. Joseph Parish in Mechanicsburg, for his work in purchasing, cooking and serving meals, including homemade soups, dinners for those who are alone on Thanksgiving, weekly dinners for families in religious education, and donuts after Mass; and for his service as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
  • Joseph Scartelli of St. Pius X Parish in Selinsgrove, who serves as a lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and gives his time as a member of the team for Christian initiation of adults, visiting the sick and assisting those seeking an annulment from the Diocesan Tribunal
  • Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, from the Diocesan Offices in Harrisburg, for her service as a member of Diocese’s Information Technology Department, faculty member for the Diocese’s formation program for the permanent diaconate, coordinator of the Diocese’s formation program for spiritual directors, and columnist for The Catholic Witness
  • Sister Rita Smith, SSJ, of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Harrisburg, for her years of dedication and compassionate care for students as principal of Holy Name of Jesus School and director of religious education for the parish

The Lorica Award is bestowed annually by the Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg upon lay persons who have contributed significantly to the life of the local Church and exemplified the Catholic Christian way of life. Named after the renowned prayer attributed to St. Patrick, the recipient has demonstrated clearly that they have “bound to their heart” the strength of the Triune God through integrity of faith and generosity in service.

Following the presentation of the awards, Bishop Senior recognized candidates who will receive the sacrament of Confirmation this Easter, making them full members of the Catholic Church.

In his homily, the bishop reflected on the day’s Gospel reading (John 12:20-33), in which Jesus says, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

“My brothers and sisters who are being honored today with the Lorica Award, we have seen Jesus in you, in the dying and rising with your service, in the remarkable ways in which you have been fruitful in living your faith in service to the Church,” he said. “You challenge us to call to mind our own unity with Jesus in the dying and rising, each in our own way; nevertheless, it’s inescapable for us as Christians.”

“St. Patrick, in his witness, in his life of faith, modeled this in an extraordinary way as well,” Bishop Senior said, recalling the saint’s escape from slavery in Ireland and his decision to return to preach the Gospel there.

“Seeing and coming to know Jesus intimately enables the laying down of our lives in service to others, that transformative encounter that the Lorica recipients have shown us through their fruitful lives of service,” he said.

At the conclusion of Solemn Vespers, Lorica Award recipients reflected on their desire to serve the Church.

Joanne Bauer, who volunteered with Meals on Wheels for 35 years and has given of her time and talents at St. Joseph Parish in Lancaster for more than 35 years, said, “I just love serving, and I love the people I serve.”

“It’s a humbling feeling to receive this award,” she said. “I just enjoy what I do for the Church.”

Joseph Scartelli, of St. Pius X Parish in Selinsgrove, also expressed humility in the Diocesan recognition.

“There are so many people in our parish that do so many things and they’re wonderful, faithful people who are also worthy of this award, and so I am humbled to receive it,” he said.

“When you’re doing something for 30-35 years, you figure you’ll just keep going until you can’t go any more. It’s just part of who I am. Serving others gives meaning to life,” he said.

(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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