LINCOLN — More than 900 gathered at Twin River Event Center on Wednesday, May 15, in a sold-out event, celebrating the 15 individuals and groups honored by the Diocese of Providence with the 2019 Lumen Gentium Catholic Service Award.
First bestowed by the diocese in 2013, the awards honor those who “toil in the vineyard of the Lord,” giving selflessly of their time and talent in service to the church and its ministries.
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Reflecting on Pope Francis’ letter on everyday holiness, Bishop Tobin said the Lumen Gentium evening was an opportunity “to honor the saints among us.”
“The fact is, our room tonight is filled with saints — in the Holy Father’s words ‘ordinary people’ who have come together and we recognize tonight because they have done some extraordinary things,” the bishop said. “Those who we honor tonight carry on the work of the Church in very real and tangible ways: preaching the Gospel, educating children, serving the poor, defending the gift of human life, advocating for justice and helping the community in many, many ways. They are the saints among us. They truly do their work without much recognition, but tonight we come together to give them that recognition so we extend our very sincere congratulations to the awardees.”
Diocesan Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia Msgr. Albert A. Kenney serves as chairman of the Lumen Gentium Executive Committee, which selected from among the numerous nominees candidates to be approved by Bishop Tobin to receive the award. He began the distribution of awards by recognizing Keith and Lisa Kline from St. Philip Church, for their work in parish service.
“You would be hard-pressed to find someone at St. Philip who does not know the Klines and their commitment to the church,” said Msgr. Kenney.
Honored, humbled and overjoyed was how Keith and Lisa were feeling Wednesday night.
“What a beautiful gift for the diocese to share in the excitement for all that is happening in all different parishes. It’s so special,” said Lisa.
Keith shared how happy he was that the proceeds from this year’s Lumen Gentium Dinner will benefit Catholic Youth Ministries which provide leadership training, evangelization, faith formation, gathering and recognition programs and competitive athletic opportunities to Catholic youth throughout the Diocese of Providence.
“That’s been our entire life, involved in family ministry and youth ministry. That means a lot to us,” he said.
Many continued to be honored throughout the evening for their selfless works, driven to truly live out the Gospel through their words and deeds.
Catherine Turbitt, who was honored with an award in the category of Catholic Education, was cheered on by dozens of family members who traveled across the country to join Turbitt in celebrating her special moment.
Throughout the evening, the large crowd continued to applaud winners enthusiastically, many rising to their feet to pay tribute to Sister Carol Anne Murray, RSM, for Lifetime Achievement in Catholic Education, as well as the Little Sisters of the Poor who were honored with an award in Community Service & Charitable Outreach for their longtime presence at St. Jeanne Jugan Residence in Pawtucket.
“We are so humbled and grateful to be recognized tonight,” said Sister Mercy Stella Theresa, Mother Superior. “We give all glory to God.”
Since 2013, 89 individuals and groups — representing 54 parishes — have been recognized. The awards banquets have raised more than $450,000 in support of numerous diocesan ministries.