More than 150 people gathered to celebrate honorees at the annual Celebration of Lay Ministry at St. Mary, Mother of the Church in Garner on August 27. Bishop Burbidge celebrated Mass; Father Marcos Leon and Father Andrew Santamauro, O.F.M. Conv., concelebrated.
Hosted by LEMA (the Lay Ecclesial Ministers’ Association), the Mass honored those lay ministers who have reached a significant milestone in their service to the Church.
Honored for 10 years of service were: Joseph M. Batta, Judith Ramirez and David Chegue; for 15 years: Jennifer Deloatch, Eleazer Toral, Maggie Davis and Lucio Vasquez; for 20 years: Wendy Edwards; for 25 years: Garnette Poston and Pierre LaPierre; and for 30 years: Bea Callery. A Lifetime Service Award was given to Helen Hudson of Holy Cross Church in Durham for answering God’s call to serve for more than 50 years.
The celebration also recognized new Master Catechists, those in our community who have pursued theological study and developed the skills to train adults for catechetical ministries.
Those awarded with the title Master Catechist are Paul Abbe, Reginna Ford, Mary Gillespie, Jennifer Gurecki, Deacon Richard Mickle, Donald Roneska, Michael Griffith and Hilary Shynett.
After the Eucharist, Bishop Burbidge recognized each honoree individually with a certificate or gift of gratitude. For her extraordinary service, Mrs. Hudson was also given a plaque and was asked to say a few words. Without hesitation, she thanked her family and her community who were her “constant support,” expressing that it was a blessing to serve the Church.
In his homily, Bishop Burbidge called upon the examples of Saint Monica, Pope Francis and Mother Teresa. He expressed that the five great qualities and virtues all servants of God must embrace and practice are: prayer, mercy, humility, charity and joy.
Paraphrasing Pope Francis, Bishop Burbidge said, “There are great challenges in ministry, let’s be realistic, but never let that take away your joy, your hope and your vigor in service to God.”