Behind-The-Scenes People Have Day In Spotlight
Published: February 28, 2008
ATLANTA—More than 30 archdiocesan and religious priests, including celebrant Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, gathered at the altar at the Cathedral of Christ the King Saturday, Feb. 16, to recognize women and youth from parishes throughout North Georgia.
While friends and family members packed the cathedral, armed with smiles and cameras, 56 women and 47 young people were honored. The Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women hosts the annual Recognition Day to give attention to the hard work and dedication of outstanding women and youth in the Catholic community all year long. Music was provided by a ministry from Christ our King and Savior Church, Greensboro.
Addressing the assembly, Archbishop Gregory thanked all of the Catholics in the archdiocese, especially those being honored, for their service to the church, citing the willingness of the women’s organization to reach out in practical and needed ways.
“One of the things that the AACCW does with exquisite grace is to practice compassion and to help others to become more compassionate,” he said. “I have repeatedly been impressed with the projects that the Council of Catholic Women has taken upon themselves, both here in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and in the other dioceses where I have seen their faith and charity in action.”
The archbishop also took a moment to recognize the good examples set by many of the youth in the archdiocese, connecting it with the Gospel call to love others, even those who are enemies.
“These young men and women inspire their parishes with their selflessness and generosity of spirit,” Archbishop Gregory said. “Along with the women of this archdiocese, these youngsters make us believe that Jesus’ admonition is not only doable but that it is being done with great effectiveness throughout these 69 North Georgia counties.”
Each parish was invited to submit the names of one outstanding woman and one outstanding youth to receive the honors. Following Communion, Joan Brown, president of the AACCW, Archbishop Gregory and Father Paul Berny, the spiritual moderator for the AACCW, stood in the front of the church to present a certificate of recognition to each honoree.
As each name was called, family members quietly walked along the side aisles to snap a picture of the memorable occasion. Many smiled as they walked back to their seat, giving silent confirmation to other family members that the moment had been safely captured.
When all women and youth were recognized, the assembly loudly applauded each group.
After the crowd sang the recessional song and the procession of clergy left the cathedral, everyone gathered in the parish hall for a reception.
Many stopped by tables that were set up with juice, coffee and sweets, while others enjoyed the company of fellow Catholics or stood in line for a picture with the archbishop.
A brief walk through the hall proved that many recognized that serving others is vital to the church and to Christian living.
Father Jack Durkin, pastor of St. Monica Church, Duluth, and one of the concelebrants of the Mass, spoke of the importance of the day—inspiring others to serve generously.
“We celebrate this to recognize the service that they (women and youth) give us,” he said. “Their example encourages others.”
Daniel Rhiner of St. Mary Church, Rome, was among the teens honored during the ceremony, but he couldn’t be present to receive the award because he was giving a presentation at a youth group retreat for St. Mary teens at the same time.
The Rome High School senior, who became an Eagle Scout last year, serves the community through his parish as well as other means. One of his many projects is assisting with Challenger Sports, a sports program for special needs children.
Rosemary Potts, honored by her parish along with her daughter, Kathleen, said it was important to encourage young people who are the church of the future.
“We recognize the youth because they will continue the service of the church,” said Potts, a member of St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell, where she serves as a eucharistic minister and as first- and second-grade coordinator for religious education.
Her daughter, a senior at Pope High School, is actively involved with St. Peter Chanel’s teen community, serves as a eucharistic minister like her mother and assists the parish school of religion. She also has participated in Christian leadership retreats.
Kathleen Potts spoke of how impressed she was with her mother, especially with all the time she gives to the church, while still being able to take care of her family.
“I am really proud,” said Kathleen of the honor her mother received. “I couldn’t think of a better person from our parish.”
Also among the youth recognized was Alexis Conti, a parishioner at St. Michael the Archangel Church, Woodstock. Conti, a senior at Woodstock High School, has been very involved with the Life Teen group at her parish, from attending pro-life rallies to feeding the hungry to encouraging her fellow teens.
“She holds her peers to a high level of understanding,” said Chris Berens, Life Teen youth minister at St. Michael the Archangel. “She is a very selfless girl.”
St. Michael the Archangel chose Noreen Jaconetti as the outstanding woman in the parish this year. A returning Catholic just a few years ago, Jaconetti since then has become very involved with her parish. In addition to serving as an office volunteer, Jaconetti also works as the secretary for the parish’s 50+ Club and is a sponsor for those entering the Catholic Church in RCIA.
“She is always willing to do anything someone asks of her,” said Debbie Quinn, office manager at St. Michael the Archangel. “She is a great inspiration to everyone.”
For more information about the Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, visit the archdiocesan Web site at www.archatl.com and click on Catholic life.