For the past 12 years, the Shining Star Awards dinner has been conducted by the diocesan Catholic Migration Services to honor the contributions to the Church and community by immigrants. It has become so popular that each year there are now two dinners to accommodate all the people who want to attend.
This year, more than 500 people came to each of the affairs that were held at Gargiulo’s Restaurant, Coney Island. Awards were handed out by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio to 26 ethnic ministries served by Catholic Migration Services.
We have listed all the names of the honorees, along with some photos from the dinner, in this week’s centerfold.
Space doesn’t permit me to highlight each one, but I have chosen a couple, a single woman and a married man to represent those so honored.
Four couples were among the honorees, including Frans and Maria Samosir who were nominated by the Indonesian Ministry. Members of St. Mark’s parish, Sheepshead Bay, they each were born in Indonesia. Frans immigrated here in 1974 and his wife came in 1999 when she married Frans.
Both are active in several parish activities. Frans is an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, a catechist, member of the choir and the Charismatic prayer group. In 2008 when Pope Benedict XVI visited New York, Frans helped organize the Indonesian community to participate in the welcome. He also organized the Indonesian tradition of Mother’s Day, during which moms are presented a rose by their husband and then are served dinner by their spouses.
Maria, a registered nurse, is part of the choir, Rosary Society and Charismatic prayer group at St. Mark’s. She also conducts Bible lessons.
They both are active in parish bereavement efforts.
Gerardo Pinto was chosen by the Italian Ministry as its recipient. A member of St. Mel’s parish, Flushing, he serves as a Eucharistic minister, and lector and is active in many different activities of the Italian community. He is president of the Italian-American Association Club and helps coordinate many of the Italian processions held in the neighborhood.
A retired stylist in the pattern industry, he has been in New York since 1973. He has been married to his wife Maria for 32 years and they have three children.
Myriam Gillis, a 28-year-old member of St. Jerome’s parish in Flatbush, was born in the United States.
Among her various church responsibilities are youth leader, choir director, and leader and dance choreographer of Young Disciples of Jesus. She also sings with the Haitian ministry Choir of Brooklyn and Queens.
The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she participates in the Haitian and English Charismatic Renewal and participates in the annual Youth revival held in her parish. She participated in World Youth Day in both Australian and Spain.
Gillis, who holds a degree in physical education, works as an administrative assistant at One-on-One Physical Therapy. Single, she hopes to marry one day and raise a family.
Assisting Bishop DiMarzio present the Shining Stars Awards was Father Patrick Keating, CEO of Catholic Migration Services. Speaking at the dinner was Msgr. Ronald Marino, vicar for Migrant and Ethnic Apostolates, who was the originator of the Shining Stars concept.