Catechists Speak the Word, Teach Souls
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
September 16, 2021

DIOCESE—Catechetical Sunday is a day to honor teachers of the faith. This year’s theme is “Say the Word and My Soul Shall Be Healed.”

In the Rockford Diocese, long-term awards will be given to catechists who are being honored for a milestone year of service.
Recipients of the Bishop O’Neill Award in Catechetics are faithful Catholics who deserve recognition for outstanding service, normally rendered over a considerable period of time. 
Prayer for Catechists
Loving Father, we pray today for our catechists. We thank you for their gift of ministry in your Church.
Grant them your wisdom that they may grow in the understanding and teaching of your Word.
Grant them also your love that they may be fruitful heralds of your Word and lead others to love you.
Pour forth your Holy Spirit upon them to grant them wisdom about what is important; knowledge of the truths of faith; understanding of their meaning; right judgement about how to apply them in life; courage to persevere even in the face of adversity; reverence before all that is sacred and holy; and that loving zeal which leads others to a transforming encounter with your Son.
We pray this through Christ, our Lord. 
Source: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
It is not necessary that a parish or school have award recipients every year. Persons receive the Bishop O’Neill award only once. 
The following catechists will be honored at parishes, most during the weekend of Sept. 18-19.
Long-term Catechists (and years of service) 
Algonquin: St. Margaret Mary: Gene Barish 15, Sue Jay 15
     Sacred Heart: Maria Garcia 15, Eladio Gonzalez 20
     St. Mary: Julia Galvan 40
     St. Nicholas: Diana Hernandez 10, Olga Martel 10, Antonio Piedra 10, Maria Rosales 15
     St. Rita of Cascia: Judith Alvarez 10
Batavia: Holy Cross: Edward Crockett 10
Carpentersville: St. Monica: Socorro Becerra 15
East Dubuque: St. Mary: Kathy Williams 20
Elburn: St. Gall: Darlene Biggs 40
Geneva: St. Peter: Terri Frieders 10, Matthew Reed 15; Lisa Hass 20; Mary Kay Gould 35
Hampshire: St. Charles Borromeo: Rebecca Dumoulin 10, Susan Wiland 10, Jan Olson 15
Harvard: St. Joseph: Abigail Estrada 10, Karla Mejia 10, María Ávila 15, Teresa Ortíz Mondragón 15
Huntley: St. Mary: Michael Sitko 15
Rockford: St. Patrick: Rotha Waldsmith 18
Somonauk: St. John the Baptist: Kristine Taylor 10, Beth Westbrook 15, Karen Taylor 20,
Sugar Grove: St. Katharine Drexel: Matt Striedl 10
Bishop O’Neill Award
Algonquin: St. Margaret Mary: Helen Jost, Lisa Parrish, Mary Ann Watt
     Holy Angels: Patricia Heneghan, Leticia Torres
     Sacred Heart: Irma Almaraz, Griselda Hernandez, Ruth Morales
     St. Mary: Julia Galvan
     St. Nicholas: Victor Mancilla, Marilou Mancilla, Ronaldo Tovar
     St. Peter: Jennifer Gruhlke, Judy Treend
Carpentersville: St. Monica: Aida Ceja, Fany Tinajero
East Dubuque: St. Mary: Deacon Tony Keppler, Deacon Doug Kremer
Geneva: St. Peter: Christie Graham, Jamie Gardner-Haycox, Ken Japlon, Nikki Lutzow 
Hampshire: St. Charles Borromeo: Christopher Gisseler, Theresa Gisseler
Harvard: St. Joseph: Abel Martinez, Sandra Meza, Teresa Ortíz Mondragón
Huntley: St. Mary: Vicki Kubik, Sarah Tunzi
Lena: St. Joseph: Kim Goebel, Amy Kempel
     Holy Apostles: Amber Emmert, Sabrina Krepel, Maria Macias
     St. Patrick: Robert Foster
Somonauk: St. John the Baptist: Karen Taylor
Sugar Grove: St. Katharine Drexel: Jennifer Contreras, Joseph Riddle, Nicholette Riddle
Sycamore: St. Mary: Kim Coovert
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