Linda G’s Award

From the ceremony, in honor of our accomplished youth. If you missed it, see it here!

I have been asked to come to Mass today to present the St. Timothy Youth award to a student in St. Mary’s parish.  The students throughout the Diocese are nominated from many parishes.  A small number of recipients are given this award.

The St. Timothy Youth Award given to youth by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry in collaboration with the Life & Family Evangelization Office of the Diocese of Rockford.  It is the highest recognition from the NFCYM for a Diocese to confer upon a Catholic Junior High or High School youth (13-18).

The student must display the following qualities to be selected for this award:

Lives as a disciple of Christ, setting a positive example for other youth

Witnesses to their faith by exhibiting Catholic moral and integrity

Demonstrates Gospel values through service to others

Exhibits Christian leadership in parish, school, and/or community setting

As we have watched this person over the last year, we have witnessed a transformation in one young man.  He attended the Confirmation Class of 2020-2021 at St. Mary’s Parish.  We have had tasks for the students to do.  In the start of the year, he showed up infrequently.  Almost never participated in class.  Shortly before his confirmation date he was addressed by the Parish RE director for delinquent assignment and lack of attendance. Since that time, he has been a different student.

He shows up for class regularly and participates in the class discussion.  Many classes he has openly participated in the classroom discussion.  In small group settings, he shares his faith and ideas freely.  In open discussions, he volunteers answers and adds his thoughts to the discussion.  He even asks questions at times to learn more of his faith.

I have observed his willingness to volunteer at the fish fry fund raiser by taking carry outs to the cars for patrons.  This eliminates the need for aging patrons to not have to get out of their car and go into the building.  I have seen him clean up after class, e.g., wiping off chairs, putting chairs back in order, he helps sanitize the pews after Mass, he helps his brother learn his prayers and works with him for First Communion, he helps his Mom with his younger siblings. He also helps his Grandparent with yard work and shoveling snow.  The transformation from not attending class to volunteering in the community is astounding to me. His kindness self-sacrifice demonstrates to the Christ lives in him.

At this time, I would like to call up Osar Torres Ovalle up to accept this award.