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Diocese of San Jose Honors Catechists with 47th Annual Saint Pius X Awards

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By Liz Sullivan

It is an event that is older than the Diocese of San Jose.
On May 9, the Diocese held the 47th Annual Saint Pius X Awards Banquet at Villa Ragusa restaurant in Campbell. The event began in 1970 when the parishes in Santa Clara County were a part of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. In 1981, the Diocese of San Jose was created.

The evening honored 85 catechists for 10-to-50 years of service of religious education ministry. Overall, the honorees combined for 1,365 years of service to the Diocese. Three honorees have served for 50 years: Beth Palladino, Holy Family; Giulia Gallego, Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Harvey Chaffin, Saint Maria Goretti.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me to meet so many people,” said Father John Hurley, CSP, the Diocese’s newly appointed Vicar for Evangelization and the evening’s keynote speaker. “I am grateful and blessed that we continue to celebrate faith formation in our diocese. So, why are we here tonight? To evangelize the fruits of our labor. Go and make disciples. Go is the last word we hear at the end of Mass.”

The event is the collaboration of the Diocese’s departments of Catechetical Ministry and Hispanic Apostolate, which now fall under the Office for Evangelization, headed by Father Hurley.
Of all of the catechists who were honored, only one was a surprise.

Bishop McGrath announced that Wendy Scherbart, the retiring Director for Catechetical Ministry, was the fifth recipient of the Sister Maria De La Cruz Aymes, SH, Award for Excellence in Catechetical Ministry.

“I thank all of you,” said Scherbart, who is retiring on June 8 after 14 years as director. “You have shown me courage; courage to do the hard work and the good work; to do the work of Jesus Christ.”

Sister De La Cruz was an acclaimed leader in modern catechetics and the author of the “On Our Way” series, which provided the foundation of religious education for a generation of Catholic youth. The Bishop met her when he was a seminarian in Ireland in 1969 and they became friends when he moved to San Francisco after his ordination a year later. He established this award in her honor.

“Wendy, you are very deserving of this award,” said the Bishop. “You have taught countless teens to others about the Word of God. You have led by the example of your life.”

The Saint Pius X awards are named in honor of Pope Saint Pius X, 1835-1914, who as Pope encouraged daily reading of the Bible, directed liturgical renewal and encouraged Catholics, especially in Italy, to become involved in political issues to achieve peace and order. He was most noted for lowering the age of First Communion to the age of reason.

50 Years
Harvey Chaffin, Saint Maria Goretti
Giulia Gallego, Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Beth Palladino, Holy Family

40 Years
Richard Kohl, Holy Spirit
Blessie LaScola, Holy Family
Ernie LaScola, Holy Family
Lucy Rocha, Saint Maria Goretti
Jeanne Smith, Saint Catherine of Alexandria

35 Years
Josephine Bartolome, Our Lady of Peace
Ana Leticia Garcia, Saint Cyprian
Karen Patel, Church of the Ascension

30 Years
Mary Morris, Saint Victor
Rosa Zaldivar, Saint Mary (Gilroy)

25 Years
Veronica Arimboanga, Saint John the Baptist
Karen Barone, Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Katherine Bulanon, Saint Lucy
Linda Fedalizo-Hughes, Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Evelia Franco, Saint Mary (Gilroy)
Patrick Godar, Church of the Transfiguration
Truc Hoang, Our Lady of La Vang
Kimberly Lynch, Saint Catherine of Alexandria

10 Years
Christ the King
Margaret Balistreri
Jose Antonio Don Lucas
Martha Larios Rios
Thanh Nguyen

Church of the Ascension
Vi Mix
Evelyn Tanner

Holy Spirit
Xochitl Curiel-Castillo

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Arturo Melgarejo
Maria Luisa Sanchez

Our Lady of La Vang
Chi Nhan Bui
Luyen Thuong Le
Cathy Nguyen
Ha Ton
Huy Vo

Our Lady of Peace
Brendan Croom
Loretta Knippel
Ashley McGlone
Christopher McGlone
Fred Spicknall

Our Lady of Refuge
Patricia Garcia Saavedra

Sacred Heart of Jesus
Ada Arciga
Adriana Espinoza
Rosa Galaviz
Silvia Magaña
Gabriel Manzo

Sacred Heart, Saratoga
Antonella Corno
Beth Henderson

Saint Anthony
Katrina Votaw

Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Margarita Moreno
Kathy Picchi

Saint Cyprian
Rito Castañeda

Saint Elizabeth
Bill Henzel
Ryan Neri
Cecily Thanh Nguyen

Saint John the Baptist
Leilani Ostrom

Saint Joseph, Mountain View
Maria Luisa Romero
Luz Maria Tobar

Saint Joseph of Cupertino
Joyce Damozonio
Florence Li

Saint Julie Billiart
Ana Avila
Nancy Ibarra
Edith Ruiz
Alma Sanchez
Jorge Toulet

Saint Justin
Yvonne Montes
Catherine Pham

Saint Lawrence the Martyr
Alicia Arreola Martin
Mubedi Kaninda
Don Martin
Anney Morris
Elizabeth Sanville
Cynthia Vaz

Saint Leo the Great
Patricia Bonillas
Angie Yepez

Saint Lucy
Bernardo Albayalde
Dora Ovalle
Joyce Damozonio
María Lorena Torres

Saint Maria Goretti
Bertha Aguilar

Saint Mary, Gilroy
Kathy Dockendor F.
Julia Gaeta
Leticia García
José Ramírez

Saint Simon
Emely Carey

Saint Thomas of Canterbury
Trisha Quilici