On Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 15 individuals 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.
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.
The recipients of the 2011 Vatican II Awards are:
Service in Administration – Jay and Kiara Mack
As chairpersons of the Catholic Stewardship Appeal in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee three years running, Jay and Kiara Mack have worked tirelessly to ensure successful campaigns so that the important ministries of the Catholic Church may continue. The Macks have recruited a multitude of individual and corporate donors, and also have helped to secure funding for a series of Sunday morning broadcasts on WTMJ radio that featured Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki.
Kiara Mack serves as president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Anthony on the Lake Parish in Pewaukee. There, she and her husband Jay work one-on-one with people in need and help to coordinate the monthly meal program. The Macks are members of St. Charles Parish, Hartland.
Service to the Church – Celwynne Conell
Celwynne Conell began her ministry of serving others with the Milwaukee Chapter of The Arc, a national organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, after her daughter was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Conell has devoted 13 years to an annual fashion show fundraiser to benefit the organization and another 10 years organizing a summer camp for mentally disabled children.
This year marks her 14th year managing a Communion Ministers program at Froedtert Hospital, Wauwatosa, where she organizes, trains and keeps statistics for the 45 active Communion ministers from surrounding parishes who volunteer their time at Froedtert’s hospice ward. Conell is a member of St. John Vianney Parish, Brookfield.
Service in Communication – Margie Mandli
Margie Mandli utilizes her professional expertise to find innovative ways to evangelize both within and outside her home parish of St. Anne in Pleasant Prairie. After working for 17 years in corporate public relations, Mandli changed her career path to independent consulting so she could devote more time to her family and to parish ministry work.
As an outreach ministry leader at St. Anne’s, Mandli created a video series about faith to enhance the parish’s website. She also coordinated a “Date Night” program for married couples, which included video segments of couples telling the stories of how they met, in a humorous and loving way. Mandli has also served as the communication chairperson during the formation of All Saints Catholic School, Kenosha.
Service in Ecumenism – Marge Didier
Marge Didier has devoted much of her life to healing the scars of division within her ancestral homeland of Northern Ireland. In 1979, Didier helped launch the Milwaukee Chapter of the Ulster Project. Each summer, the organization pairs Northern Irish teens with Roman Catholic and Protestant American teens and their families. Together, they begin a friendship with one another by attending Catholic and Protestant prayer services to learn about each other’s faith and participate in family activities and facilitated discussions.
Didier served as the project’s national coordinator for a decade and remains on the board of directors for the Ulster Project of Greater Milwaukee. She also helped to open a food pantry in Wauwatosa with support from churches of various denominations in the surrounding area and has served on the Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission. She is a parishioner of St. Jude the Apostle Parish, Wauwatosa.
Service in Education – Patrick Murphy
Catholic education has always been at the center of Patrick Murphy’s life. He began his professional career at Marquette University, serving as assistant treasurer and later progressing to the concurrent roles of assistant provost and assistant secretary to the Marquette Board of Trustees. After leaving the university to form the management consulting firm, P.J. Murphy & Associates in 1977, he continued to lecture at Marquette University and DePaul University in Chicago, and later served as a visiting professor at ULBRA University in Brazil. He has also been president of the Serra Club of Milwaukee, an organization dedicated to the promotion of vocations.
In 1987, Murphy was appointed to the board of the Educational Foundation of the Archdiocese, today known as Partners Advancing Values in Education, where he brought the skills of his profession as a consultant to help further Catholic education within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He also sat on the board of St. Anthony Hospital, where he was chairman from 1982 to1986. Murphy is a member of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Milwaukee.
Service to Families – Zongcheng and Mayhoua Moua Family
Born in Laos, Zongcheng and Mayhoua Moua spent time in refugee camps in Thailand before immigrating to the United States. Since arriving in Milwaukee 20 years ago, they have worked tirelessly to bridge cultural and generational divides.
As members of St. Michael Parish, Milwaukee, the Mouas and their three children have used generous donations from a sister parish to establish a tutoring program for refugees from Myanmar in Southeast Asia. They also run a consulting firm to help minorities incorporate into their new culture.Their fundraising efforts have allowed a sister parish to be built in Thailand. In addition, the couple has brought volunteers of all ages together to renovate the Samaritan House, a former convent located in Milwaukee, to be used as a gathering space for young people.
Service in Liturgy – Rev. Stephen Malkiewicz, OFM
For more than a quarter-century Fr. Stephen Malkiewicz, a priest in the Order of Friars Minor, has played a major role in the formation of priests, deacons and lay ministers during his priestly ministry. After 13 years spent at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary as director of worship and teaching courses in liturgy and sacraments, he now serves as associate director of Human and Spiritual Formation at Sacred Heart School of Theology.
Fr. Malkiewicz remains a member of the American Franciscan Liturgical Commission, of which he previously served as chairman, and works on other liturgical bodies within his order. He has shared his expertise on topics such as the Mass, the sacrament of reconciliation and, most recently, the Roman Missal translations, with parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Service to the Missions – Jean Baumgardner
Jean Baumgardner felt the call to mission work early in life. During high school, she served in Toronto and later among Native Americans in Pine Ridge, S.D. While attending Marquette University, she spent time in El Salvador, and in addition served 10 days at an orphanage in Guatemala with the organization, Friendships Without Borders, Inc., as well as six weeks working at the Working Boys Center in Ecuador.
In 2010 Baumgardner joined Passionist Volunteers International in Honduras for a year, where she created a daily lunch program for children. She also helped to write a grant which funded an initiative to bring potable water to Majada Verde, Honduras, a small village of about 1,000. Baumgardner attends St. Patrick Parish, Milwaukee.
Service to the Priesthood – Very Rev. Ronald Gramza
Fr. Ronald Gramza has served as a mentor to those on the road to the priesthood, whether as a member of the Admissions Board, or interviewing potential candidates for Saint Francis de Sales Seminary. In 2010 he was elected to the Priest Placement Board and currently serves as dean for his district. No matter what he does, however, Fr. Gramza makes it his mission to “be there for fellow priests” by being a companion to those who serve.
Among his assignments over time was a four-year stay at an archdiocesan parish in the Dominican Republic, where parishioners helped him understand issues of immigration and of the poor, and even helped him learn Spanish, something he continues to practice today. Seven different parishes within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have been blessed to have Fr. Gramza serve as a guiding leader in their faith community.
Service to the Priesthood – Rev. John Pulice
Fr. John Pulice finds fulfillment providing guidance along life’s educational and spiritual journeys to students and parishioners alike. During his five years as principal of Messmer High School in Milwaukee, Fr. Pulice learned the importance of diversity within the Catholic Church when he encountered firsthand the richness that the multicultural high school brought. In addition, he also served as guidance director and teacher at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay.
Fr. Pulice was a member the Faith in Our Future steering committee, an archdiocesan-wide effort that supports Catholic education and faith formation for 700,000 Catholics. Retiring from priestly ministry in 2009, he continues to serve St. Roman Parish, Milwaukee, on a part-time basis. There, he imparts to parishioners the social justice lessons he’s learned throughout his ministry and in an effort they might become even more generous with their time, talent and treasure.
Service in Society – Sr. Shawnee Daniels-Sykes, SSND, Ph.D.
Sr. Shawnee Daniels-Sykes, a vowed member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, has the distinction of being the first and only female African-American Catholic bioethicist in the nation. Driven by memories of unethical behavior she witnessed while in nursing, she has worked to address problems that plague racial minorities and lower-income patients.
Sr. Daniels-Sykes is an assistant professor of theology at Mount Mary College and serves as adjunct professor for the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in Louisiana. In addition, she serves as a volunteer faculty member at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and belongs to St. Martin de Porres Parish, Milwaukee.
Service to the Church: John Paul II Youth Award – Catherine Ryou
Catherine Ryou believes young people should embrace their faith and their culture. On Sundays she spends time teaching these lessons to Korean children at her parish, incorporating Korean language lessons with an emphasis on its deep culture, to the mix. Additionally, she can also be found playing the organ during Mass and helping with the church choir. Ryou is a member of St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Milwaukee; a personal parish for Korean Catholics.
Service to the Church: John Paul II Youth Award – Sam Meier
Sam Meier spent much of his time at Catholic Memorial High School, Waukesha, helping fellow classmates see Christ in themselves. He was a member of the Campus Ministry Leadership Team during his junior and senior years of high school, and helped to plan all of the high school’s religious events. Through CMLT, he had the opportunity to manage lectors for school Masses, was a freshman retreat mentor during his senior year, coordinated the liturgical music committee and helped the Ignite Student Youth Group, an adoration-centered youth group that also plans social time for participating teens. Meier belongs to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish, North Lake.
The following is a list of previous Vatican II Award recipients: