Lumen Gentium Award Winner Profile

URI student honored for her dedication to college campus ministry


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 For any questions about the event, please call 401-277-2121.

PROVIDENCE — Kathryn Yorke, a junior at the University of Rhode Island and parishioner of St. John Vianney Parish, Cumberland, said she was surprised and honored to learn that she would be the recipient of a Lumen Gentium Award as a Distinguished Catholic Youth. The 21-year-old was nominated for her involvement at the URI Catholic Center and her dedication to serve as a witness of faith through the Center’s Newman Club.

“My faith has grown so much since being at the Catholic Center,” said Yorke. “I am so blessed to have found an amazing group of people who have supported me in pursuing to live a life of Christ.”

When she first arrived at URI, Yorke said, her faith suffered as she encountered the stresses and opportunities of college life. It wasn’t until her sophomore year, when she visited the Catholic Center, that she learned to live her faith as a young person on campus.

“I felt this is where I needed to be,” she said. “I felt compelled to go.”

After that, Yorke became involved in the many opportunities for spiritual growth on campus, including daily Mass, retreats and social activities with fellow Catholics. As hospitality chair of the Newman Club, she plans and cooks dinner every week for students attending club meetings and Soul Food, an event open to URI students where young people gather to share a meal and discuss a topic of importance to the Catholic faith. The support of her peers, she said, has been an important part of her own faith journey.

“There’s a whole other spiritual aspect that comes along with the Catholic Center,” she said. “It’s a lot about how I’ve grown in community with others. It’s a really big community effort, which I really enjoy.”

According to Judy Klopfenstein, administrative assistant at the Catholic Center, Yorke’s contributions have gone above and beyond her social involvement.

“Katie never ceases to amaze us every week with her presence and commitment to fulfilling her responsibilities,” she said.

Though Yorke is a member of several different clubs on campus, she said the programs at the Catholic Center are unique in that the students who participate in them share a common goal.

“Newman is different than other social clubs I am involved in because it’s a club where all of us are striving to live a life with God at the center,” she said. “It is a place I can go to where I can find other students who have a common goal of deepening our relationship with God.”