About 150 persons gathered at the Dyker Beach Golf Course on Nov. 5 for the fifth annual fundraiser, “Celebrating Lay Ministry: Working in the Vineyard of the Lord.”
At this event, which benefits the Pastoral Institute Scholarship Fund, graduates of the Pastoral Institute’s Lay Ministry Program were honored with the St. Pope John XXIII Award for Excellence in Lay Leadership.
For the past five years Cara Bloncourt Elie has served the St. Mary Magdalene parish community in Springfield Gardens as the coordinator of youth ministry (GIFT – Growing in Faith Together), which she was a part of as a teen and continued serving through her college years. She helps the parish’s high school teens grow into discipleship through, prayer, catechesis, community and service.
In addition, she serves on the Deanery Youth Council, the parish’s Pastoral Planning Council, as a lector and in the communication ministry where she helped develop and maintain the parish’s website and Facebook page.
Whether serving the young, aged or those in-between, Catherine Crimmins is always there for the people of God at St. Gregory the Great parish, Bellerose. She leads the parish’s bereavement support group, started a successful St. Valentine’s Day prayer breakfast for widows and widowers, implemented a December evening candlelight prayer service to support parents and loved ones whose children have died and teamed with the bereavement group at Our Lady of the Snows parish to support a greater number of those in need.
She also conducts regular Bible and prayer sessions for parishioners in her own home, gives witness talks to Confirmation candidates, has supported St. Gregory’s teen group by cooking meals for their prayer and service nights and has been an eighth-grade catechist for over 32 years.
The third honoree, Beatriz Garcia serves Divine Mercy parish, Williamsburg. She is extremely active as a leader in the Spanish-speaking community. She is a lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and teacher in the Spanish language RCIA. Divine Mercy parish is made up of three worship sites and she helps by coordinating the scheduling of the liturgical ministers at St. Nicholas.
The three women have completed the diocesan Lay Ministry Program and have been commissioned as lay pastoral leaders.
Also recognized was the Class of 2006 of Lay Ministry Program as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of their commissioning as pastoral leaders for parishes.
The Pastoral Institute Scholarship Fund, which is administered by the Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn and Queens, provides support that enables many to take advantage of the programming provided by and through the School of Evangelization’s Pastoral Institute.
For further information about the Pastoral Institute, contact: Gerald J. Tortorella at 718-281-9556 or gtortorella @diobrook.org.