Over the next several weeks, Rhode Island Catholic will feature profiles of the 15 winners in the 10 categories of the diocese’s 2016 Lumen Gentium Awards. The honorees will be awarded during a dinner at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln on Wednesday, May 18. Guests wishing to purchase tickets to the dinner — whose proceeds will benefit St. Martin de Porres Multi-Purpose Center and Fruit Hill Day Care for Seniors — are asked to register online at www.dioceseofprovidence.org/lumen-gentium-awards. For any questions about the event, please call 401-277-2121.
PROVIDENCE — Noah DaSilva, 17, is constantly challenging his peers not to settle for mediocre faith or a lackluster prayer life. Instead, the parishioner of St. Philip Parish and senior at LaSalle Academy, encourages them to take their faith seriously, to engage the faith whole-heartedly, to frequent the sacraments regularly and live a life rooted in the virtues, said Father Ryan Simas, who nominated the young man for a Lumen Gentium Award for being a Distinguished Catholic Youth.
DaSilva currently serves as a lector, extraordinary minister of holy Communion, altar server and a sacristan in his parish. He has also served on several teams that organize and lead retreats at the parish for confirmation students.
“Many of his peers ask Noah questions about the Catholic faith and occasionally come to him for advice on spiritual matters,” said Father Simas. “It is evident that God has given him skills and gifts to be a leader among the youth as well as a shepherd to a small flock of sheep — a privilege and responsibility he does not take lightly.”
DaSilva is well known at LaSalle Academy for having a deep prayer life and for being very involved with Saint Philip Parish, but he never thought he’d win a diocesan award.
“I never expected it,” he said. “When Msgr. Kenney told me I was so excited. I was so grateful for the people that nominated me.”
Melissa Roberts, director of religious education at St. Philip Parish, also nominated DaSilva for the Lumen Gentium Award. She said he not only presents himself on parish grounds as a disciple of Christ, but everywhere he goes.
“Whether at home, in the community or at school, you know that Noah lives a life centered on Christ, striving towards holiness,” she said.
DaSilva recalls that after attending the Steubenville East Youth Conference with his parish, he felt a strong calling to the vocation of priesthood.
“Noah has embraced the truth that God’s will is the only thing that will bring true and lasting joy, happiness and fulfillment,” said Roberts.
Regarded as a teacher of faith to his peers, DaSilva always tries to reach his peers in matters of faith by example.
“It’s hard to tell people how to live their life,” he shared. “I’ve always felt if I lead my life as a good moral person, as a good Catholic, my friends would notice that. I would always try to lead by example, by living it myself.”
Along with his parish role models, Roberts, Father Simas and Dennis Sousa, DaSilva shared that his grandmother Josephine played an important role in his faith formation.
“She prays the rosary every day and would always sing little hymns,” he said. “That really planted the seed in my faith and her example really affected me. It all started with her.”
As part of the Christian Service Program at La Salle, the young man has volunteered at the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Fruit Hill Day Services for the Elderly. He explained that even if the elderly men and women are in poor health their faith remains strong.
“Their love for God has inspired me,” he said, adding that he is grateful that a portion of the proceeds from Lumen Gentium tickets will benefit Fruit Hill.