2013 Vatican II Awards to Honor 15 Deserving Catholics

On Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 15 Catholics will receive the Archbishop’s Vatican II Award for Distinguished Service for outstanding contributions to the Church and society. A prayer service and award ceremony will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 812 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee, 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, with a dessert reception to follow.

The Vatican II awards were established in 1991 to honor men, women and young adults who exemplify the Catholic Church’s vision set forth in the Second Vatican Council.

Service in Administration – Art and Mary Ann Wigchers – St. Joseph Parish, Wauwatosa
After years spent volunteering for local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Art and Mary Ann Wigchers have shifted their focus to empowering young people – especially girls in East Africa – to reach their full potential by supporting formal schools in Ethiopia and Uganda.

Service to the Church – Sr. Joanne Meyer, OSF – Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Milwaukee
Sr. Joanne Meyer, a Sister of St. Francis of Assisi, has been involved with the Catholic Church both on an archdiocesan and parish level for many years. She has served as an associate director of the Permanent Deacon Program, where she worked with deacon wives through one-on-one meetings, group retreats and consultations.

Since 1974, she has been a retreat and spiritual director, where Sr. Joanne has had the opportunity working with pastoral associates of local parishes, deacons and priests, as well as other religious and laity throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Service in Communication – Bob Dolan – St. Jerome Parish, Oconomowoc
Since founding Dolan Productions, LLC in 2006, Bob Dolan has produced many Catholic documentaries broadcast nationwide on EWTN, such as “Hearing God,” the inspirational story of Fr. Christopher Klusman, one of only a handful of deaf priests in the United States. Bob has also published two books, “Life Lessons from my Life with my Brother, Timothy Cardinal Dolan,” and “Waking Patrick.” He was also a co-producer and co-host of the “Living Our Faith” television series (2007-2012) broadcast on WISN-TV, starring then-Archbishop of Milwaukee Timothy M. Dolan, and later Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki.

Service in Ecumenism – Sr. Susan Wood, SCL, Ph.D – Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee
Deeply grounded in her faith, Sr. Susan Wood, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas, is a strong advocate for ecumenical relations. As an educator and chair of the Department of Theology at Marquette University, Milwaukee, she has the opportunity to teach undergraduate, master degree and doctorate students the ways of Christ. In addition to numerous articles, she has also published many books about ecumenism and ecclesiology.

Service in Education – Sr. Deborah Golias, CSA – St. Agnes Chapel, Fond du Lac
Sr. Deborah Golias, CSA is a professor in the School of Education at Marian University, Fond du Lac. As the strengths educator director, she spends much of her time teaching those she calls the “future of the Church.” Her perseverance in educational ministry over the past 53 years has contributed significantly to the hundreds of students who see the Church and the world through the eyes of Jesus Christ. She is also a member of the Archbishop’s Education Commission for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and chairperson of the marketing committee.

Service to Families – Humberto and Ramona Delgado – Cristo Rey Parish, Racine
For more than 30 years, Ramona and Humberto Delgado have been actively involved in their home parish of Cristo Rey, Racine. Their love and commitment to their faith community can be witnessed in the many parish ministries they have been involved with throughout the years, which include working with the finance committee, helping with the parish festival, organizing and speaking at couple retreats and, for Ramona, the role of youth director and religious formation coordinator.

Service in Liturgy – Michael Kamenski – St. Sebastian Parish, Milwaukee
Michael Kamenski, pastoral associate and director of music and liturgy for St. Sebastian Parish, Milwaukee since1997, spends his time giving back to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee as a musician, liturgist and teacher. In addition, he has also held the title of director of music and liturgy for St. Rose of Lima Parish, Milwaukee, St. John Vianney Parish, Brookfield and Christ King Parish, Wauwatosa; for the liturgy celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee; the national conference of the National Association for Pastoral Musicians, Milwaukee; and Festa Italiana and Irish Fest Masses.

Service to the Missions – William James – St. Bruno Parish, Dousman
William James has been instrumental in sustaining the twinning relationship between St. Bruno Parish, Dousman, and their sister parish in Guatemala, St. Augustine, Chahal. In addition, he also leads an annual campaign to raise more than $28,000 for 155 scholarships for Guatemalan students studying to be public school teachers, and helps St. Augustine Parish and the Centro Faustino Villanueva (a nearby school in Guatemala) to enhance trade workshops and investments. He is also involved with the St. Vincent de Paul Society as vice president of the Waukesha Council.

Service to the Priesthood – Fr. Steven M. Avella – Marquette University, Milwaukee
Reverend Steven Avella, a professor of history at Marquette University, Milwaukee, is a well-known figure throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. As an educator, he has taught at St. Catherine’s High School, Racine; St. Joseph High School, Kenosha; St. Francis de Sales Seminary, St. Francis; and Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee.

Fr. Steve has also authored two books on the history of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, “Milwaukee Catholicism: Essays on Church and Community” (1991) and “In the Richness of the Earth: A History of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee” (2003), and is often a guest on various news outlets as an expert on the Catholic Church.

Service to the Priesthood – Fr. Peter Drenzek – Senior Priest
Reverend Peter Drenzek, has been a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for the past 44 years. During that time, he has been a pastor and temporary administer for more than 10 parishes throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

“The mystery of the call to the priesthood continues to astound me on a daily basis,” Fr. Peter explained. “I can’t imagine my life any other way. I am grateful for this recognition, as I simply try to give the best I can for the good of the people of God.”

Service in Society – Robert Sullivan – St. Joseph Parish, Waupun
As a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, prison ministry, the St. Joseph Parish Human Concerns Group, St. John Parish Mission Outreach, Knights of Columbus and the Christian Clergy Group, Robert Sullivan provides service, support and encouragement to his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are hurting and in need. This year, he was also the recipient of the St. Vincent de Paul Society Ozanam Medallion Award, an honor that recognizes individuals who serve as a role model for Vincentians and the broader faith community.

John Paul II Youth Award – José Castillo – St. Anthony Parish, Milwaukee 

José Castillo has served in various outlets in his local community, including participating in the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen, St. Anthony food and clothing drives, St. Anthony blood drives and other campus ministry sponsored functions at St. Anthony High School, Milwaukee. Feeling a call to the priesthood, José, now a freshman at St. Norbert College, De Pere, is currently pursuing his collegiate education and discerning his vocation.

John Paul II Youth Award – Samantha Dresen – Sacred Heart Parish, Racine
A senior this year at St. Catherine’s High School, Racine, Samantha Dresen is actively involved in the school’s campus ministry. In addition to serving as an usher, lector and extraordinary minster of holy Communion at all-school liturgies, she has also helped to lead a series of scriptural rosaries at the school. Samantha has also been the recipient of the high school’s St. Dominic Award (2011-12) in recognition of her extensive work in youth ministry.

 The following is a list of previous Vatican II Award recipients:

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