Holy Name Society bestows awards on members

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - Updated: 1:00 pm
By JOHN FRANKO Staff Writer

They ranged in age from 17 to 101, but they all had the same goal in mind — to make the Holy Name of Jesus known by the way they live their lives.

“You understand completely that the faith is lived out heroically in the ordinary moments of our lives,” said Bishop David Zubik. “That’s the very definition of holiness.”

Some two dozen members of the Diocesan Union of the Holy Name Society were recognized for their witness to the faith during the 55th Pittsburgh awards ceremony April 2 at St. Paul Cathedral.

Bishop Zubik pointed out that when challenges to the church arise, members of the Holy Name Society are ready in faith, hope and love.

“A true lifeblood in our parishes,” he said. “A rich part of our faith, always promoting a strong respect for God’s holy name and a deeper devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist.” 

Holy Name members evangelize often without public notice, the bishop noted. So many times people are caught up in the business of their lives that they don’t realize the extent of their accomplishments. But those who were being honored live by example and action. They do the best they can by keeping God’s commandments.

“It is who you are,” he said. “It is what you are meant to be.”

Bishop Zubik was among those honored with the Medallion Circle Award, the highest the diocesan group can bestow on a person. Also receiving the award were Father Albert Zapf, pastor of Our Lady of Joy Parish in Holiday Park; 101-year-old Raymond Lorenz of St. Pamphilus Parish in Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood; and Henry Pipp of St. Patrick Parish in McKeesport.

Receiving the Diocesan Appreciation Award were Matthew Davey of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Meadow Lands; James LeDonne of Our Lady of Joy; Robert McFadden of Our Lady of the Angels in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood; Michael Raszewski of St. Patrick; Larry Robertson of St. Patrick; and Casper Winkler of Mary, Mother of Hope Parish in New Castle.

Winkler and Pipp also received the Pittsburgh Diocesan Holy Name Life Service Award, which recognizes those over the age of 75 who have devoted more than 40 years of active service to the Holy Name Society. In addition to the pair, those receiving the award were Anthony Ciallela and Nick Russo of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in New Castle; Bennie DeProspero, Gennaro Geraneo, Anthony Lepore and Thomas Petrovitch of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in New Castle; Charles Mazzi of St. Vitus Parish in New Castle; and Anthony Campana and Anthony Mastrofrancesco of St. Titus Parish in Aliquippa.

Honored posthumously was Ralph Peak of St. Vincent de Paul.

The Pittsburgh Diocesan Holy Name Catholic Youth Award was presented to Lindsey Dorenkott, 18, of St. Ursula Parish in Allison Park, and Mark LaMont, 17, of St. Vincent de Paul.

In her essay, Dorenkott stated that she strives to make the daily choice of living with as much joy as possible and exemplify to others the “incomparable happiness that comes only from a relationship with God.”

“Speaking openly about religion can be seen as taboo,” she wrote. “Yet I find that talking candidly about my religion allows for those who do not believe, or do not typically hear religion being discussed openly, to hear Catholicism in terms of continued fulfillment and endless joy rather than solely long prayers and solemn Masses. Above all, I aim to sustain the attitude recognizing that God’s plan is perfect and that all blessings come graciously from above.”

In his essay, LaMont noted that it is easy to practice the faith during Sunday Mass, but more challenging to live it throughout the week. He said that he volunteers at activities such as the fish fry and nut roll sale. While his grandmother was alive, LaMont added, he would take her to a local restaurant each week to pray the rosary with her friends. Since her death, he has continued to join them, and even talked other young people into coming.

“Although we are taught ‘to walk by faith and not by sight,’ it is much easier said than done,” LaMont wrote. “As Catholics, we are expected to be ‘the sight’ by living the faith and setting good examples for others. We can only hope that God’s whispers in our hearts translate well to our actions.”

Father William Siple, diocesan director of the Holy Name Society, said the members are an important witness to a secular world that doesn’t want to talk about Jesus. They do many “wonderful” works in parishes that promote the Holy Name of Jesus.

“We just show that it’s not just talking about it, but it’s doing it,” he said. “It’s living it, each in their own way.” People are realizing, Father Siple added, the importance and vitality of putting the faith into action.

Bishop Zubik told the gathering that the work of the Holy Name Society is centered on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. They answer the call to live the faith in the world — in their neighborhoods, workplaces and families. He pointed to St. Therese of Lisieux and Capuchin Father Solanus Casey, who witnessed holiness through ordinary acts of love.

“This is the work of the Holy Name Society,” he said. “This is the work that you continue to do.”

The Holy Name Society promotes respect for the Most Holy Name of God; devotion to the Eucharist; faith in the Catholic Church and the magisterium; loyalty to one’s country; and respect for all authority, civil and religious. Once only open to men in the diocese, Bishop Zubik granted permission for women to join the local society in 2014.

More information is available by calling 412-444-5051, or by e-mailing hnsdiopitt@gmail.com.

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