Linda Gonzalez, a student in St Mary’s Parish, was presented the St Timothy Youth Award on Sunday, October 18, 2020. Students throughout the Diocese are nominated for this award, which is 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 between the ages of 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

Linda is an outstanding student in the classroom. In Religious Education she is the top student for active participation. It shows in her knowledge of the Catholic faith when doing different activities, questioning the students in parts of faith of Catholic teaching, and during prayer times.

Linda knows the prayers and the orders of the decades of the rosary, which mysteries are together, and what order they are said in. When introducing the nontraditional prayers said at the beginning of class and end of class, she participates to the best of her abilities. She is very engaged in the class by her participation and questions that are posed to the students.

Linda has also been very active in fund raising events, including the Fish Fry on Friday nights and past May Fest activities. Her service at the fish fundraisers is waiting tables and following up with patrons to make sure they have everything they need. In this service, she presents a very humble and inviting graceful persona that reminds us of how Christ’s mother Mary must have been in her service to God. Her presence is an invitation to call us to service with joy and happiness.

Linda actively participates in the Hispanic Masses with the liturgy in prayer and song, acting as an altar server, and singing in the choir. Her persona is very reverent during Mass. All of these are a true model of how to engage in Mass.

The energy Linda projects is contagious in an uplifting way to the call of holiness. She is the bench mark for our religious education class and our young people, and is a strong force that drives people to grow in faith.

— Ann Peters, CRE