On Sunday, November 19th, at the 10:30am mass the Spirit of St. Thomas Award was given to Lou and Gina Imperioli, Haydee and Manuel Torres and Enid Cervino, although Enid was not able to be present at the Mass. This award is an acknowledgment of the contributions that the recipients make to the life of our parish. In the words of our Pastor, Msgr. Maniscalco, "It is impossible to exaggerate how important to a parish people like Lou and Gina, Haydee and Manuel, Enid and their predecessors in receiving the Spirit of St. Thomas award are.
Some of you reading these words may have the responsibility to recruit volunteers for organizations and projects of your own. You know the wonderful feeling when people respond positively to your invitation. So too in a parish, a pastor has many wonderful experiences of people’s generous response to invitations to serve. Our St. Thomas Award recipients are excellent examples.
Active participation in the life of the Church should be a top priority for parishioners no matter how busy they are because this participation flows from the share we received in the mission of Jesus Christ himself at the moment of our baptisms. The good we do in serving the Lord in the community of the Church is not something we have to leave behind us when we die. No, it is an everlasting treasure that we bring with us from this world into the next to present to the Lord as evidence that we have been his disciples.
Gina Imperioli began her career in service as a Catechist teaching 6th and then 8th grade. She missed one week of class to deliver her second daughter and then came back the following week to teach! As their family grew, Gina passed the torch to her husband Lou who taught 6th & 8th grades, and he has been faithfully teaching 7th grade for twelve years. Gina and Lou were part of the original Family Mass Committee and continue to plan and the monthly Family Masses along with the other volunteers. Their faithful dedication to this ministry of worship and hospitality is much appreciated. Lou is an active participant in the Pastoral Council and serves as a Eucharistic Minister at Mass and brings Communion to those who are homebound.
Haydee and Manny both serve as 6th grade Catechists in the Religious Education Program. They team taught at first and then branched out and as the need arose and taught their own classes. Haydee and Manny faithfully serve as Eucharistic Ministers at Parish Masses. They have also been team leaders for the “Living the Eucharist’ Program and serve on the Parish Council. Manny has been an active member of the Knights of Columbus at St. Thomas and serves as Grand Knight. Haydee has volunteered to be the “Professional Photographer” at many of the parish liturgies and events, and many of her pictures have appeared in the bulletin and on the website.
Enid Cervino just received her “Bishop John R. McGann Award” at St. Agnes Cathedral for forty years of volunteering in the Religious Education Program. Enid began when her children were ready to attend Religious Ed class, taught various grades, worked as assistant director of the office, and currently helps out in the office. Enid has been involved for many years in our “Knitting and Crocheting Ministry and has also taken on the awesome task of organizing the group, serving coffee and refreshments, and bringing the completed projects to the hospitals for distribution to the patients. This wonderful group of ladies creates hats, blankets, sweaters for newborns; prayer shawls for the grieving; hats for cancer patients and lap blankets for the sick and for veterans. Enid also serves as a Eucharistic Minister for the parish Masses."
Our parish owes all our awardees a debt of gratitude for their many years and varieties of service. As you know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Or to put it more scripturally, “Go and do likewise”!