Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius Confer Servant Leadership Awards for Service and Passion for the Faith

The 2023 recipients of the Servant Leadership Award are pictured at the Basilica of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Danville.
The 2023 recipients of the Servant Leadership Award are pictured at the Basilica of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Danville.

On October 29, the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Danville awarded the Servant Leadership Award to 20 outstanding high school juniors and seniors from the Diocese of Harrisburg. The ceremony took place at the Basilica of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Danville. Over the past 21 years, the congregation had honored over 1,350 teens in the Dioceses of Bridgeport, Charleston, Chicago, Gary, Harrisburg, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Scranton, Syracuse and Trenton with the Servant Leadership Award.

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 ceremony were Brady Backhaus, Hannah Bartholomew, Victoria Bartholomew, Ethan Brown, Luke Campbell, Julie Desciak, Lillian Grace Dessecker, Anna Garpstas, Meredith Hickey, Alyson Lender, Emily Maag, Alexa Michele Maher, Gabrielle Marie Marciniak, Paige J. Mattucci, Landon Mark Mazur, Kaiden Daniel Miller, Yeilyn Alicia Malara Remirez, Jessa Robert, Anastasia Schlegelmilch and Georgiana Elizabeth Snyder.

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 mentors selected were parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, youth ministers, Scout leaders, deacons, sisters and priests, who have been role models for the teens. Mentors recognized by the teens have made a difference in their lives by modeling servant leadership as a way of life in their family, parish and community.

Sister Barbara Sable, SS.C.M. General Superior of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius, presents the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Awards to Sister Maria Theresa Hronec, SS.C.M., Sister Suzanne Duzen, SS.C.M., Dorothy Grimm and Mary Kay Bartol, accepting the award on behalf of Father Andrew Stahmer.
Sister Barbara Sable, SS.C.M. General Superior of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius, presents the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Awards to Sister Maria Theresa Hronec, SS.C.M., Sister Suzanne Duzen, SS.C.M., Dorothy Grimm and Mary Kay Bartol, accepting the award on behalf of Father Andrew Stahmer.

At the ceremony, the Sisters also honored six adults who received the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award in the ministries of evangelization, education, elder care, justice, and peace 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.

The 2023 Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Awards went to:

Evangelization—Father Andrew Stahmer

Father was the recipient of the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award for Evangelization. began his ministry as a teacher in the Baltimore City Schools, and later as a loving caretaker for his mother. Over the last 19 years, he has served as a priest in the Diocese of Harrisburg, freely inviting everyone to his parish, Holy Angles in Kulpmont, evangelizing every generation and faith tradition, even accompanying youth from his parish to World Youth Day.His service to his parish is primarily about the people there. One can see Father Stahmer with First Communicants, parishioners, preaching – all the elements of a good evangelizer. He is clearly someone whose life demonstrates servant leadership; someone who would be the first to offer others his chair, his jacket, or his ready smile, rather than a long sermon. His mind and heart have always been open to the breath of the Spirit and proclaiming the Good News.

Education—Sister Suzanne Duzen, SS.C.M.

Sister Suzanne was the recipient of the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award for Education. Sister Suzanne has served for over 50 years in education, primarily as an elementary school principal, and also as a Religious Education program director and teacher. Sister Suzanne has not only been an inspiring teacher and administrator, but someone who is able to tap talents and empower children, youth, colleagues and families to be active participants in mission. She has encouraged both students and teachers to be problem solvers. She has also shared her passion for social justice, involving teachers, students and families in liturgies, prayer services and many peace and justice activities, making it a point in every parish she served to educate everyone about our responsibility for each other and for the common good. Sister Suzanne currently serves at St. Columba School in Bloomsburg as librarian and religious education teacher.

Elder Care–Cynthia Hornberger and Vicki James

Cynthia Hornberger and Vicki James were the recipients of the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award for Elder Care.  hey have served in the Food Service Division of Maria Joseph Manor in Danville for a combined total of over 70 years. Maria Joseph Manor is a ministry of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius, offering personal care and the opportunity to live in a cheerful, spiritual environment. Both Cynthia and Vicki offer all residents a strong sense of hospitality, service and love, and provide a warm welcoming presence to residents and their visitors at Maria Joseph Manor. They take the time to know the residents and understand their likes and their preferences, serving the elderly with respect and compassion.

Justice and Peace and Care for Creation – Dorothy Grimm

Dorothy Grimm was the recipient of the Father Mathew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award for Justice and Peace and Care for Creation. Dorothy has been a promoter of the care of creation long before environmental justice and preserving our planet were in the news. For the past 50 years, she has seen the need to do whatever it takes to promote awareness of the care and preservation of God’s gifts of creation. She has modeled a renewed sense of the sacredness of everyday things we use and too often take for granted, and has worked to bring about change in laws and social policies concerning the environment and care for the poor and most vulnerable members of our society. Through her membership in the Harrisburg Chapter of Pax Christi since its establishment in 2000, she has been an avid promoter of earth consciousness, and a  promoter of peace,

Ecumenism—Sister Maria Theresa Hronec, SS.C.M.

Sister Maria Theresa Hronec was the recipient of the Father Mathew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award for Ecumenism. Sister Maria Theresa has served for more than 60 years as a nurse, teacher and chaplain in hospitals and hospices and prison, and in doing so she has spent a lifetime ministering to individuals of all faiths. In serving as a bereavement counselor and Multiple Sclerosis support group facilitator, she used every opportunity to reach out to others, no matter their faith. Through her membership in national organizations, she has helped other healthcare professionals extend the healing presence through their work. Most recently, for the last 20 years, Sister Maria Theresa has reached out to the national community with her translations of traditional Slovak religious hymns and the reflections she wrote about these hymns, published monthly in the national Jednota newspaper and Sokol magazine.These translations continue the spiritual legacy of Saints Cyril and Methodius, who were master teachers and translators.

(Sister Barbara Sable, SS.C.M., is the General Superior of the Sisters of Saints Cyril Methodius.)

By Sister Barbara Sable, SS.C.M., Special to The Witness

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