The Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Danville awarded the Servant Leadership Award to 27 outstanding high school seniors from the Diocese of Harrisburg late last month. The virtual ceremony took place at the Basilica of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Danville.
The Servant Leadership Award recognizes distinguished high school juniors and seniors who are joyful witnesses, compassionate proclaimers, and enthusiastic builders of the Kingdom of God. The focus of the award is on teens who remain active in their faith and parish beyond Confirmation, and who actively serve in their parish, school and community.
Receiving the award in the virtual ceremony were: Lauren Ayres, Ralph Chip Baker, Matthew John Bowman, Nicholas William Dorkoski, Olivia Erickson, Hanna Farzin, Santina Rosa Fazio, Caroline Feese, Riley Patrick Hammond, Laura Hilkert, Miranda Keller, Paul Michael Killinger, Isabella Kubasek, Sarah Rose Mahoney, Johnathan Robert Manning, Andrew Jacob Marulanda-Rea, Kyra McKinnon, Ann Metrocavage, Julianne Mieckley, Dominic Morano, Thomas Rydzewski, Steven Sauer, Robert Lawrence Scalia, Claudia Marie Seidel, Andrew Thomas Snyder, Anna Marie Starvaggi, and Gavin John Yoder
Each teen was given the opportunity to select one person as a mentor who has encouraged them to generously use their time and talents as a follower of Jesus. The chosen mentors were parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, youth ministers, Scout leaders, deacons, Sisters and priests who have been role models for the teens. The mentors have made a difference in their lives by modeling servant leadership as a way of life in their family, parish, and community.
Over the past 18 years, the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius have honored nearly 1,300 teens in the Dioceses of Bridgeport, Charleston, Chicago, Gary, Harrisburg, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Scranton, Syracuse, and Trenton with the Servant Leadership Award.
At the virtual ceremony, the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius also honored four adults who received the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award in the ministries of evangelization, education, elder care and ecumenism. Father Jankola was a priest from the Diocese of Scranton who was instrumental in recognizing the need for Religious Sisters to educate children, and founded the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius in 1909.
One lay person and one Sister who serve in the Diocese were presented with a Father Jankola Award: Susan Smith and Sister Seton Maria Connolly, SSCM.
Smith has worked with the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius to establish a “home away from home” at Maria Hall in collaboration with Columbia Montour Home Health and Hospice, and now maintains the hospice home at Maria Hall under the LHC Corporation. Smith proudly states that the Maria Hall hospice home has served 733 guests and their families. She began her health care journey in 1974 as a Cytotechnologist at Geisinger Medical Center. She received her nursing diploma from Geisinger in 1990 and from Bloomsburg University in 1993. She received her Nursing Master’s degree from College Misericordia in 1996, and has been a practicing RN for 28 years.
Sister Seton Marie Connolly, SSCM, has a professional background in education and as a board-certified chaplain. Over the years, she has consistently displayed great strength and success in the field of chaplaincy. She has provided compassionate care to people of diverse religious backgrounds, and strives to help the individual utilize their own spiritual beliefs as a resource for healing. Sister Seton Marie’s professional background has made her a valuable resource to resident physicians, chaplains, hospital staff and hospice personnel of all faiths. She has presented workshops and seminars focused on the resolution of complex medical, organizational and personal ethical dilemmas to audiences within various healthcare settings at both the local and state level. Sister Seton Marie has served as a chaplain in several ministries and settings, including St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Del., Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, and currently at Danville State Hospital. She also coordinates the outreach of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius to the Danville Jubilee Kitchen.
The ministries of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius include evangelization, education and care for the elderly and sick. Their motherhouse is located in Danville. Visit www.sscm.org to learn more.
(Photo courtesy of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius.)
By Sister Barbara Sable, SSCM, Special to The Witness