2012 Award Honorees
Tommy and Shirley Adanandus
St. Joseph Parish, Killeen
Tommy and Shirley have been long-time parishioners. Tommy was a lector for many years and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. Shirley has been a member of the Knight Cappers for three years. She coordinates the scheduling of homebound visits while Tommy assists in providing transportation for the priests for homebound visits.
St. Joseph Parish, Rockdale
Mark serves as an usher but in the absence of an altar server, he is always ready to assist the priest. In his quiet way, he does many jobs for the church such as maintaining and cleaning the parish surroundings. He is a dependable and hard working example of faith for all.
Arthur and Elzena Ambrose
St. Paul Parish, Smithville
Arthur and Elzena have been parishioners since 1991. Elzena is a member of the Altar Society and the local Ladies of Charity. She also assists with religious education. Art is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, an exceptional handyman who maintains and repairs the church grounds and the church hall. Together they help with the parish bazaar and lead the rosary before Mass and offer the parish their spiritual, physical and financial support. Their selfless dedication is a blessing to the parish.
Troy and Mary Anthony
Holy Cross Parish, Austin
Troy and Mary have served the parish wonderfully. Troy is a lector and is preparing for the diaconate. Mary is in charge of the altar servers and ushers. They put in a lot of time and sacrifice to make these ministries work.
Maria Arenas and Paula Gonzales
Santa Teresa Parish, Bryan
Maria and Paulita are sisters. They are mothers and grandmothers who are generous with their time and always willing to volunteer around the church. They are both members of the 8 a.m. choir and the Guadalupanas. They both volunteer with the altar society, the kitchen group, the church office and the bazaar.
St. Joseph Parish, Elk
Julie is a special lady who is not afraid to take on any project for the parish. She serves with great professionalism. She serves as the director of religious education and sacristan.
St. Ann Parish, Rosebud
Margaret is a committed parishioner who dedicates a tremendous amount of time to parish activities. She is an ever-ready volunteer. She serves the parish as an organist, lector, member of the pastoral council, assistant bookkeeper and catechist.
St. Ann Parish, Somerville
“Jim” is a member of the Knights of Columbus. He has served the parish as the primary operator of charitable bingo for more than 10 years. He has also donated his time and talents as a carpenter, electrician and maintenance man. For decades, he has also served as an usher and greeter.
Jack Buckley Jr.
St. Mary Catholic Center, College Station
Jack joined the parish in 2006. Jack is known for his sound business sense built upon rock-solid Catholic values. He has served as chair of the statewide St. Mary’s leadership committee for the last three years. He is the past president and CEO of St. Joseph Health System in Bryan. His experience and expertise guide the parish’s efforts in improving and expanding campus ministry programs at Texas A&M and Blinn College.
Roel and Mary Buegeler
St. Michael Parish, Burlington
Roel and Mary are an exemplary couple who have been parishioners for more than 60 years. They are regular and committed parishioners. Mary is president of the Altar Society and helps clean the church. Roel is an usher and helps with all the work projects he can.
St. William Parish, Round Rock
Liz is the executive director of the Sacred Heart Community Clinic. She answered God’s call to open the clinic, which serves the underinsured and uninsured in the Round Rock area. Despite the many obstacles that come with starting a new nonprofit, she has persevered; she is determined to help the poor and most vulnerable in the community.
University Catholic Center, Austin
Krystle, a recent graduate, serves as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and SFL and staffs the reception area. During the Triduum, she offered assistance, without needing to be asked, anticipating opportunities to work with the staff and students to enhance the liturgy.
José and Victoria Campos
San José Parish, Austin
José and Victoria have been members of San José since its beginning – they live only two houses down from the parish. Both have been enthusiastic supporters of the parish. Victoria is a lector and for many years was the lector coordinator. José is a faithful usher and became the parish’s “flag man” a few years ago when the parish erected a new flag pole. He has faithfully undertaken this responsibility.
Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Granger
Norma taught religious education for more than 40 years. She continues to be a mentor to the teachers and a supporter of the program. She served on the Diocesan Synod, was president of the School Mother’s Club and Parent Teachers Club. She was an active Knights of Columbus wife. She welcomes new parishioners and invites them to participate in ministries. She encourages parents to have their children baptized into the “true church.” She does many acts of unseen kindness, such as making sure children have a ride to religious educations classes, buying diapers for new mothers, giving encouragement to those who are suffering and offering kind words to everyone she meets.
Jose Gaudencio Porfirio and Maria Guadalupe Cazares
Sacred Heart Parish, Austin
Jose Guadencio and Maria Guadalupe have been parishioners for many years. They are active in many ministries including Christ Renews His Parish for the Spanish-speaking community; Gaudencio leads the men’s group and Guadalupe leads the women’s group. Under their dedicated leadership, the parish is constantly revitalized and offers warm welcome to the increasing immigration population.
Manuel and Blanca Cazares
St. Monica Parish, Cameron
Manuel and Blanca are faithful and active parishioners. They were instrumental in the planning phase of the St. Anthony Renovation Restoration Project and helped with the intensive manual labor associated with the project’s beginning. They are members of the Movimiento Familiar Cristiano group and regularly present the gifts at Mass. Blanca is a member of La Sociedad Guadalupana, the Parish Bulletin Advertising Committee, the Mary’s Fest 2012 Committee and the Parish Finance Council, and she is a lector. Manuel helps with parish landscaping needs and maintenance and is a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Rudolph "Rudy" J. Cepak
Holy Trinity Parish, Corn Hill
Rudy has been a generous volunteer for the parish. For eight years, he was the manager of the Parish Activity Center, maintaining the building and coordinating the rentals. During that time, he also volunteered to maintain the church grounds.
Richard G. Cernosek
Sacred Heart Parish, La Grange
Richard has been a parishioner for 60 years. He has served as an usher and greeter for more than 50 years. He has been on the Parish Finance Council for 25 years. He has played a significant role in the financial planning of the parish. His expertise in investing parish resources has been remarkable and a major asset to the finances of the parish. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and Holy Name Society.
St. Mary, Hearne
Mary serves as a dedicated catechist and volunteer. She prepares the classes with devotion and leads the 4-year-old students to a deep appreciation of their faith. She volunteers for church activities throughout the year and her guardianship of the plant wheel for the annual bazaar is well known. She works for the St. Joseph Health Care System and is admired for her compassionate and responsible care of her patients. She speaks up and encourages others to participate in church life. She stands beside others as a mentor who is respected and trusted.
Emmaus Parish, Lakeway
One word that describes Teresa is “generosity.” She is a volunteer receptionist in the parish office. She is involved in children’s education, the parish rosary ministry, outreach to the elderly and a number of other parish ministries. She approaches everything with a wonderful sense of humor and kindness. She is also dedicated to helping take care of anyone or anything in need. She adopted a blind puppy and gave it attention and love throughout its short life.
Jeannette R. Cunningham
Sacred Heart Parish, Waco
Jeannette is an asset to the parish community and the Diocese of Austin. She serves as president of the lectors, is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and sits on the parish council. She is a member of the diocesan Medical Mission Team and a member of the St. Thomas Aquinas Medical Mission Team. She is always ready to serve wherever there is a need.
St. Jerome Parish, Waco
Mary is a founding member of the parish and tirelessly gives of her time and talents. She is a former Pastoral Council representative and is active in the Women’s Society and Empty Nest. She is a greeter and also serves on the Master Planning and Columbarium committees. She was very instrumental in the design and building of the new columbarium.
Dan and Lita Daniel
Christ the King Parish, Belton
Dan and Lita have been parishioners for seven years after retiring from the U.S. Army and a professional organizational consultant, respectively. Hailing from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, they have been an integral part of the parish since their arrival. Dan has served as Grand Knight and Faithful Navigator of the Knights of Columbus Council and Assembly. He is on the Spring Fest steering committee, is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, an instituted acolyte and IT liaison for the office staff. Lita is member of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, secretary of the Pastoral Council, a member of the festival committee and is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion. They do all of this with a “yes first” mentality.
Rudy and Terri Delgado
St. Austin Parish, Austin
Rudy and Terri were married at the parish in 2000 where they were invited to serve the parish as ushers. They have joyfully welcomed visitors to the 11:30 a.m. Mass for years. They are both very active members of the Liturgy Commission. The 35-mile drive to the parish does not deter them from consistently responding to their baptismal call. Rudy also serves on the Arts and Environment Committee and the Pastoral Council.
Paul and Denice Detzel
St. Elizabeth Parish, Pflugerville
Paul and Denice have been parishioners since 1996. They faithfully attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and are extraordinary ministers of holy Communion. They have been married for 43 years and have six children, one of whom died at an early age. They are a great example of selfless dedication and perseverance in the practice of the faith.
Michael and Danielle Devault
St. Mary, Church of the Assumption, Waco
Mike has been on the Parish Council where he served as vice president for one term. He is also a lector, an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, RCIA facilitator and sponsor, and a member of the Altar Society. He also provides technology and computer support to the parish office and helps with the parish festival. Danielle is a member of the Women’s Guild, where she served as president for two years. She is a member of the Altar Society and an integral part of the RCIA team. She helps with the parish festival and wherever there is a need.
Jim and Liz DiSimoni
Holy Family Parish, Copperas Cove
Jim and Liz have selflessly shared their time and talent with the parish for many years. Jim is a West Point graduate and is currently in formation for the diaconate. Liz has dedicated countless hours serving with her beautiful voice and culinary talents. They are always willing to assist in any way in any ministry.
Joe and Mae Fazzino
St. Joseph Parish, Bryan
Joe and Mae are devoted parishioners who are committed to the social ministry of the church and school. Their deep faith has allowed them to work quietly for the Lord in service to families especially at funeral meals, senior citizens gatherings, the annual parish festival and whenever they are called upon. They love the Lord and demonstrate it by exemplary lives of service. This couple makes it a priority to give unconditional love in the form of service to the church and those in need.
Larry and Waldine Frugé
St. John the Baptist Parish, Fayetteville
Larry and Waldine are active members of the parish. Larry has served as president of the Pastoral Council and is on the Building Committee. He also serves as an usher and is a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. Waldine is a member of the Catholic Daughters and Altar Society. They both serve as extraordinary ministers of holy Communion. They set a good example of living a life of faithfulness to the Lord and his church.
Our Lady of San Juan Parish, Moody
Elvira has been a parishioner for more than 20 years. She is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, lector, and is at every bereavement meal where she helps to prepare and serve the food. She is active in the Annual Mission Festival, the major fundraiser for the mission. She offers her time and treasure toward the improvement of the mission by cleaning it and helping to maintain it.
St. Thomas More Parish, Austin
Debra is a visible and active witness to the call of Christ that we serve one another. Her major focus is RCIA and outreach Eucharistic Ministry to nursing homes, which reveals her loving care for all those seeking Christ in the sacraments. She serves on the Pastoral Council and in liturgical ministries as well. Originally from New Orleans, she brings the cultural zest for life that makes up that city.
Peter and Terry Gruning
H.L. Grant Catholic Student Center, San Marcos
Peter and Terry, as a married couple, project the marriage of Christ to his church to many young, impressionable college students making the Catholic Student Center their home away from home.
Terry’s eye for spiritual beauty complements Mass; she makes sure liturgical linens are always available. She can frequently be found in the parish kitchen sharing her culinary talents. Peter is a Third Order Franciscan who serves as a lector and Finance Council member. He is handy with tools, which has helped resolve storage problems. He also serves as an RCIA and sacrament preparation catechist. They serve as mentors to single and married young adults.
Dannie and Terry Hefner
St. Paul Chong Hasang Parish, Harker Heights
Dannie and Terry have been active parishioners for 19 years. They are living examples of a faithful couple and are committed to each other and to parish ministry. Dannie is an active member of the Knights of Columbus. Together, they work behind the scenes to organize the parish directory, produce CDs of parish pilgrimages, help with the parish computers and wherever help is needed. They are selfless and generous in their service to the church and the community.
Enrique "Henry" Hernandez
Sacred Heart Parish, Elgin
Henry is better known as “Perk” and is well-loved and respected by the community. He is the first to volunteer for whatever is needed in helping the church. He made time for the church when he was employed and volunteers even more now that he is retired. Henry never complains or says “no.” He works tirelessly with a great attitude. He is always surrounded by friends.
St. Joseph Parish, Mason
Lola is a retired public school teacher and a lifelong parishioner. She is a member of the Altar Society, having served as an officer; served on the sanctuary decoration committee and has helped with meals for the Mason County Ministerial Alliance Lenten Luncheons. She and her husband have been blessed with eight children, 20 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. They are very proud of their family and have passed on their Christian values to them.
St. Peter Catholic Student Center, Waco
Michael graduated from Baylor University this year. For the last four years, he served the student center with a true servant’s heart after the example of Christ. He has served in various leadership and organization capacities. He has been an altar server, RCIA student director and a member of the Pastoral Council. He also volunteered his IT abilities by maintaining the center’s computers. He is a great example of a servant leader.
Joe and Denise Huerta
St. Louis Parish, Austin
Joe and Denise were married at the parish in 1984. Joe, now retired, was in music ministry but more recently shares his time and skills with the parish maintenance department. He devotes several days a week assisting in numerous maintenance projects on the church property and has become a valued volunteer. Denise has been an active member of the parish since 1979. In 2009, she was honored for 30 years of service in parish music ministry for directing the folk choir, Life Teen choir and Metanoia Choir. Before retiring, she was music director, a cantor, soloist and collaborative staff member. She also coordinated the parish feast day entertainment. Her recording background was also put to good use on Relevant Radio. The parish has been blessed by this couple’s faithfulness to God.
Michael and Ana Jackoskie
St. Paul Parish, Austin
Michael and Ana are outstanding employees and parishioners. Michael serves as one of the custodians. Michael does his work without complaining and is always ready to go beyond the call of duty. Ana serves as the Director of Religious Education. She takes a pastoral approach to her work and helps many people whose only connection to the parish is the religious education program.
Rita G. Jonse
St. Joseph Parish, Manor
Rita has always been a very committed member of the parish. She shows her love for God and his people by her unconditional hard work in the parish. She has been a member of the Finance Committee for many years and currently serves as president. She is the volunteer parish administrator and has been doing all of the parish accounting for many years. She participates in the annual fiesta and also volunteers whenever possible.
Lloyd and Ernestine Jordan
Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Sunrise Beach
Lloyd has been coming to Mass with Ernestine for a long time. He recently completed RCIA and was welcomed into the Catholic Church at the last Easter Vigil. He has been the parish webmaster for the last year. Ernestine has attended Saturday Mass faithfully and has helped count the collection. She always takes part in parish activities. She has recently become the recorder for the Parish Council.
St. Mary Parish, Caldwell
Elizabeth has volunteered her time for the last several years as the senior confirmation catechist. She is also the coordinator of multiple ministries involved in the Mass. She participates in the ministries but has also scheduled and taught lectors, servers and extraordinary ministers of holy Communion. She continues to search for new or different opportunities for the youth of the parish to expand their faith through retreats, volunteer and community service activities inside and outside of the Catholic church. She continues to express a great love, not only for her faith and parish, but also for the community as a whole.
Gerry and Lisa Kasberg
St. Martin Parish, Tours
Gerry and Lisa are a unique couple. They take care of so much around the parish and the rectory. If anything they see needs to be taken care of then they do it. Any time a project comes along and they are asked to help, they always say “yes” and complete it.
St. Martin de Porres Parish, Dripping Springs
Melissa is a devoted wife, mother and an evangelizer at heart. She formed the women’s rosary group; beginning with a few women, this ministry has grown and now meets every Friday morning. She has also served as an RCIA sponsor and started a ministry that provides CDs and DVDs on many church topics. She is a great supporter of the parish and her devotion and depth of faith are an inspiration to all who know her.
Kristin Elizabeth Kinald
Santa Rosa Parish, Andice
Kristin is a young adult of faith and an active parishioner. She is the one person you can always rely on when called upon to help. In 2010 she was the chair of the Fall Festival and at the same time was chair of the Finance Council. She is a true light of faith to the parishioners and the people in her office say the same thing about her.
Lynwood and Jeanette Kleypas
Church of the Visitation, Westphalia
“Lyn” and “Jet” have been very active parishioners for 30 years. They are leaders for most church functions. Lyn serves on the Parish Council and is in charge of the ushers. He is also active in the Knights of Columbus. Jet is active in the Ladies Altar Society and the choir. They have also counseled young people for their marriage preparation classes. For many years they also served as youth ministers.
Roque and Carmen Lavalle
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Taylor
Roque and Carmen serve as extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, directors of the men’s and women’s CRSP teams and Continuation Committee, Sunday breakfast coordinators, catechists, Jamaica volunteers and collection counters. They also teach EIM classes, assist with the Via Crucis and the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They also shine with the light of Christ in their Christian service to the greater community, being a great resource to the Hispanic community, guiding and encouraging them in new opportunities for personal growth and development. They lead by example demonstrating strength of character and a caring for those whose lives they touch.
Bryan and Jennifer Leasure
St. Ignatius, Martyr Parish, Austin
Bryan and Jennifer are involved in every aspect of the parish and school. They have served as members of the School Advisory Board and development committee. They are past chairs of the diocesan Celebrating Catholic Schools dinner and are tireless promoters of Catholic Education in general. Bryan is always ready to lend a hand before, during and after any special event at the school or church. Jennifer is instrumental in the parish’s pro-life efforts, coordinating several annual events and helping with the Gabriel Project. She assists as a nurse in the school. They have contributed to the mission of the parish and have given abundantly of their time, talent and treasure.
Margaret "Peg" Maher
St. Mary Parish, Wimberley
Margaret is the widow of a deacon who served the parish years ago. Now in her 80s, she still leads the Crisis Bread Basket in Wimberley. She will retire from that job at the end of this year when she turns 86. She has been an RCIA catechist for many years. As keeper of the priestly vestments, she has been countless hours washing, ironing, cleaning and preparing for liturgies. Until recently she ironed the pall before every funeral. She has led Scripture study in her home and served as a lector. With her husband, she served on the Diocesan Mission Council and at the UT Catholic Student Center. With her pending retirement, she hopes she will have time for weekly Scripture study and to participate in more Ladies Guild activities. Having done it for many years, she said she will continue to iron purificators.
St. Mary Parish, Temple
Bruce is a man of faith who stands out as a quiet witness by the way he lives his life. With his family, he has been a member of the parish since 1982. He is the soul of the religious education program where he first served as a catechist but now is a Guardian Angel, a group of men who see to the safety of all the children in religious education. He takes care of the media for all parish presentations and works diligently with the Knights of Columbus. He volunteers at the parish picnic and is a strong supporter of the pro-life cause. He amazes the parish by anticipating needs before they are expressed.
Sean McGuire †
Office of Social Concerns
Sean was a man of prayer, faith and action. Recognizing a need for more information and education on social issues in the church, he led an effort at the parish to sponsor three conferences on important justice topics. The Harvest of Justice conferences held in 2007, 2008 and 2009 focused on Catholic social teaching, immigration and economic justice. Due to his efforts, hundreds of Catholics know more of what the church teaches and are able to live their faith more fully. He was a man who loved to come home in the evenings to spend time with his wife, and always spoke highly of her. He was a loyal friend, an inspiring leader and a man of integrity and honor.
Pablo and Margarita Mendez
St. Mary Parish, Lampasas
Pablo and Margarita are a true example of a Catholic couple living their life in the faith. They volunteer every chance they can without any question. They volunteer in the kitchen, on the bereavement committee and also take care of the church grounds. They are true Christian examples for their family and the parish.
St. Margaret Parish, Giddings
Marie is a lifelong parishioner. She has been a faithful member of the Altar Society and an extraordinary minister of holy Communion. She volunteers at the Fall Festival and to clean church pews several times a year. She is employed to clean the rectory and parish office.
Bob and Ileana Napoles
St. Patrick Parish, Hutto
Bob and Ileana have been parishioners since 2006. They are both active in the parish. Bob works the soundboard and video equipment for the parish and occasionally joins the choir. Ileana has been choir director since joining the parish. She has brought the liturgy to life with spiritual music. They are examples of good stewardship in the way they give of their time, talent and treasure to God and the parish.
Mario and Maria Olivarez
St. Eugene Parish, McGregor
Mario and Maria have been parishioners since 1976. They serve as extraordinary ministers of holy Communion. Mario has taken the Eucharist to the homebound and offers his talent as a DJ toward any activity hosted by the church. He is also a member of the Finance Committee. Maria is a Curstillista and a catechist. They are always willing to give their time and talent to the parish and always help with fundraisers and the annual Fiesta.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Temple
Lucy has faithfully served the parish for many years. She gives generously of her time and talent to the parish, working with RCIA, parish fundraisers, the annual jamaica and the parish breakfasts. She provides meals for the priests’ gatherings such as the Priests’ Emmaus Support Group and the parish reconciliation services. She cleans the church and rectory weekly and helps with the religious goods store.
Mary Lou Pesina
St. Francis On The Brazos Parish, Waco
Mary Lou has been a longtime member of the parish. Her service and dedication to different ministries over the years has truly encouraged others to be active in the church. She is a living example of a faithful lady committed God’s work.
Mary Jane Pfeifer
St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Kingsland
Mary Jane has been a longtime parishioner. At 83 she is still attending daily Mass. She has volunteered as the parish secretary for more than four years. She is very dedicated in her work despite occasional health problems. She participates in most of the parish’s activities.
Anh and Lien Pham
Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Parish, Austin
Anh and Lien were part of the parish when it began in 1990. Their own family, children and grandchildren are also faithful members of the parish community who are involved in church activities and ministries. They both can be counted on to help no matter what is asked. The parish is grateful for their generous contributions and dedicated service.
St. Luke Parish, Temple
LaVerne has made stewardship a way of life. She has served in many ministries including: as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, a lector, the Women’s Society, prayer chain coordinator, rosary coordinator, choir and Bible study. Her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament has been instrumental in adoration at the parish. She is a blessing to the parish community and truly exemplifies stewardship.
Bernard A. Pivonka
Holy Rosary Parish, Frenstat
Bernard is a lifelong member of the parish who has dedicated his life to service. There is seldom an event at the parish that he does attend and volunteer his services in some form or fashion. He is an example of what it means to give of a person’s time and talent and an exemplary example of kindness and patience.
Vernon and Candy Pohlmeier
St. John Neumann Parish, Austin
Vernon and Candy have been active parishioners since 1988. Candy began as a volunteer in the church nursery and then became Nursery Director. She has served in that capacity for 14 years and has been the parish preschool teacher for five years. Vernon is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and has served as Grand Knight of the parish. He has volunteered as an usher, an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, church liaison to Eagle Scout candidates, a core team member of Brothers in Christ and in That Man is You. For the last several years, he has volunteered as a handyman. In 2011, he joined the staff as a part-time facilities manager.
St. Mary, Church of the Assumption, West
Dan is a lifelong member of the parish. He took care of his mother for 59 years. He married 15 years ago at age 60 and became the stepfather of five and grandfather of nine. It was called the “Wedding of the Century.” A home builder before retiring, he served as the general contractor of the new parish center and Knights of Columbus Hall. He has fried thousands of chickens for wedding receptions and parish and Knights of Columbus picnics. Proud of his Czech heritage, he oversaw the new Infant Jesus of Prague Ancestral Prayer Garden.
St. Joseph Parish Parish, Cyclone
Nancy has been the church organist for 30 years. She has been a catechist for 20 years. She has been a parishioner for more than 35 years. She is an example of strong, Catholic faith throughout the community.
Tommy and Sherry Rodgers
St. Mary, Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Lago Vista
Tommy and Sherry have been parishioners since 1984. In the past, Sherry was the Director of Religious Education and taught First Communion classes. She worked with the youth program, Parish Planning Committee, sang in the choir and worked with art and environment. She is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and has served as parish secretary since 1997. Tommy is always willing to help in any capacity. He is a lector and extraordinary minister of holy Communion and works with art and environment. He is a charter member of the Knights of Columbus and helped produce the parish’s pictorial directory. He enjoys driving parishioners to doctor appointments and treatments.
Maria Eugenia "Jeannie" Rodriguez
St. Mary Parish, Brenham
Jeannie’s selfless acts of service to the parish have been felt in many aspects of parish life. She has been a catechist for 25 years and helps the religious education coordinator prepare for weekly classes. She is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and takes communion to the homebound and sick. She is a member of the Parish Council of Catholic Women and volunteers her time with the parish festivals and functions.
Jose "Joe" Sanchez
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Austin
Joe is 88-year-old veteran of World War II. He has been in the Legion of Mary for more than 50 years. He has served as an usher, in the rosary ministry, on the parish count team, with the prison ministry and as chair of the jamaica. He has conducted bingo and raffles and coordinated the After Easter Sunday Dance at the Palmer Events Center. He prays the rosary daily at people’s homes and at funerals. He visits the sick and serves at every Sunday Mass and special liturgy. He is a pillar of strength and faith in the community and is a humble servant who seeks no recognition.
Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry
Morag has been volunteering with the diocesan Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for five years. She is a subcommittee head for the diocesan programs such as the Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference and Servus Dei and the coordinator for Cross Training. She is loved at her parish and seen as an example among the other parish youth ministers in her deanery. She always puts her full heart into all of her work especially when it comes to the youth of the diocese and is a great example of Christ’s love.
Ilario "Larry" Simonette
St. Stephen Parish, Salado
Larry has been a parishioner of many years and served as lector for daily Masses, hosted Adult Formation Classes and coordinated the parish five-year plan in conjunction with the diocesan Pastoral Plan. He served on many committees including the Social Justice Committee and Emergency Response Committee, and he is the current Parish Council president. He has coordinated the Fall Festival for the last two years. He established, monitors and updates the parish website. Larry brings a quiet wisdom and is willing to go the extra mile when help is needed.
Bennie and Waldine Skutca
St. Mary Parish, Ellinger/Hostyn Hill
“Joe” and Waldine are longtime active parishioners. They work at all the fundraisers and work with taking care of plants and flowers around the church. Joe has always taken care of the water well and has installed water lines to the cemetery and flower beds. He also serves as an usher at Mass. Together, they help to take care of the church and are always willing to help when asked.
Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Marak
Merlene is a lifelong parishioner. For the last 30 years, she has served as the parish secretary and bookkeeper. She has served on parish committees and was an officer for the Altar Society. She is an example of faith for the entire community.
St. Anthony Parish, Bryan
Regina is a lifelong parishioner. She is strongly devoted to serving the needs of her parish, the local community and especially the poor. She is the coordinator of the parish Meals on Wheels program and she directs the Thanksgiving Baskets that provides a traditional Thanksgiving meal to more than 200 families. She also coordinates the annual Advent Giving Tree. Her dedication to prayer and willingness to help those in need are truly inspiring.
Charlotte A. Spence
St. Mary Parish, San Saba
Charlotte has been the volunteer parish business administrator for many years. She is a member of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and the Ladies of Mary. She is a faithful lady and an example of Christian faith.
St. Anthony Marie de Claret Parish, Kyle
Maryrae has been a member of the parish since 2002 when she began teaching Bible classes and helping with religious education. She helped develop the parish’s program of Generations of Faith. She became the director of religious education in 2005 and is now the DRE diocesan representative. She helps with other ministries such as prayer group; she is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and the EIM coordinator for the parish. She is a good example to the community by participating in the sacramental life of the church and always being available to people.
St. Ferdinand Parish, Blanco
Gary has volunteered in several capacities in the parish. He is always available to pick up parishioners who can’t drive and bring them Mass. He serves as sacristan, an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, lector and in homebound ministry – along with anything else he is asked to do. His quiet, unassuming and faithful demeanor is an inspiration to all who come in contact with him.
Gary and Milly Summy
St. Peter Parish, Goldthwaite
Gary and Mily have been parishioners for more than 15 years. Milly edited the church bulletin and served as a catechist. She also provides technology and musical resources to the choirs. She serves as a lector and extraordinary minister of holy Communion, and she is on the Parish Council. Gary is a hospitality minister and serves on the Finance Council. They both served diligently on the Church Building Committee.
Ocia Sweed Sr.
Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Washington
Whatever Ocia is asked to help with at the parish, he does it respectfully, with integrity from his heart and with his Catholic faith as guidance. He spends countless volunteer hours maintaining the church and parish hall. His faith and leadership are appreciated.
Robert and Kelly Tavarez
St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Austin
Robert and Kelly are strong witnesses of what it means to be disciples of the Lord. They participate in the following ministries: Exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Natural Family Planning, marriage preparation, Knights of Columbus, choir, Boy Scouts and they are extraordinary ministers of holy Communion. They give witness to married and family love. Their love for the church is evident by how they serve and how they continue to teach their children and friends about the treasure of our Catholic faith. They have always been quick and eager to serve the parish and the diocese.
Good Shepherd Parish, Johnson City
Marjorie has been president of the Finance Council for the last nine years. She is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, lector, helps with fundraising and in all capacities of parish life. She is faithful and dedicated example of Christ-like living.
Louis and Genevieve Tepera
St. Matthew Parish, Rogers
Louis and “Gennie” are active parishioners. She serves on the Finance Council and in the Ladies’ Society. She is also a lector, money counter and catechist. Louis helps with the maintenance and repairs in the church as well as care of the church grounds. They are always willing to work hard for the needs of the parish.
St. John Vianney Parish, Round Rock
Charmiel exudes care, compassion, gentleness, sensitivity and concern. She is part of the parish social ministry program, leads the bereavement ministry and organizes workshops and retreats for caregivers and people dealing with illness or end-of-life issues. She is also an extraordinary minister of holy Communion to the sick and homebound. There is no hesitation when she is asked to help those in need and she has a great ability to get others involved as well.
Ben and Mary Ulcak
St. John the Evangelist Parish, San Marcos
In 2000, Mary joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and a year later, Ben joined. They have functioned as a team, making home visits and taking care of the needs of the poor and needy in the San Marcos area – even responding to emergency situations, day or night. Ben served as vice president for four years and has been president for two years. Mary has spent time concentrating on difficult cases and special needs. They have coordinated with other groups and organizations to improve the quantity and quality of assistance available.
Stephen and Kathleen Venzon
Ascension Parish, Bastrop
Steve and Kathy have been very faithful to the church, the parish and the priests. They have been involved in many activities and ministries in the parish. During the Bastrop wildfire, the parish became the first shelter. Steve took control with the help of the Knights of Columbus and other volunteers to serve those in need.
Delia Villarreal and Esperanza Campos
St. Albert the Great Parish, Austin
“Dee” and “Hope” are sisters who have given selflessly of their time for many years as heads of the parish Art and Environment Ministry. From Holy Week to Christmas, the parish is reminded by their tireless efforts of what it means to be of service in Jesus Christ’s name. They are committed and devout parishioners.
St. Theresa Parish, Austin
Charles can be described as a humble servant of Jesus Christ. He has served on multiple diocesan and parish committees. He was the parish spokesman for the Our Faith~Our Legacy campaign. He was one of the founding members of the parish and was present at the groundbreaking 47 years ago. He served on the parish building committee and the Diocesan Building Commission. He has reached out to help those in need and has been an example of Christ’s compassion.
St. Mary Parish, Mexia
Louise is a cradle Catholic whose fire and enthusiasm are warm and transforming. She educated her children in God’s ways. She contributed tirelessly her God given talents to the many ministries of the church. She has sewn liturgical vestments and she is always present in the various activities and programs of the church.
St. Mary Parish, Lockhart
Mary has been a parishioner since 1993. She has been involved in the Ladies Altar Society, pro-life activities, the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and continues to coordinate the parish library. She also serves in several civic organizations.
Larry and Ruth Wisneski †
St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, College Station
For the last decade, Larry and Ruth served the parish in various roles, in an unassuming way, in a spirit of true service and joyful gratitude. Ruth died shortly after being nominated for this award. She was a convert who came to the church 24 years ago and helped many others find the faith working as a member of the RCIA team. Larry supports the activities of the Knights of Columbus and has faithfully served as sacristan at daily and Sunday Masses. Year after year, they were involved in practically every major parish activity. No task was too small for their loving hands and hearts. Their married life was a true inspiration and model of Christian marriage.
Walter and Kathleen Yucikas
St. Margaret Mary Parish, Cedar Park
The parish has had the pleasure of watching Walter and Kathleen meet, fall in love and grow in spirit as husband and wife. Walter was received into full communion with the church at the 2007 Easter Vigil. Now, he coordinates the lectors, serves on the SpringFest Committee and is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the parish IT committee and is involved with RCIA. Kathleen is involved with Kids Night Out, Respect Life Ministry, Social Committee and Prayer Shawl Ministry. They were both involved in Christ Renews His Parish retreats and they are extraordinary ministers of holy Communion.
Edwin and Donna Zimmerhanzel
Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Kovar
Edwin and Donna were married at the parish in 1959 and have been members ever since. He has helped with the vast renovations and additions, including the fabrication of detailed railings at the church entrance and the completion of bathrooms. Donna has spent many hours in tedious work updating burial records and information. The completion of this project is an invaluable resource to the parish. Together they serve as members of the Sts. Peter and Paul and Barton’s Creek Catholic Cemeteries Committee.