By JEAN DRISKELL, Special to the Bulletin | Published May 10, 2023
ATLANTA—The Atlanta Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, Inc. (AACCW) held its 46th annual Recognition Day at St. Lawrence Church, Lawrenceville, on March 25.
Recognition Day honors the women and youth from each parish for expressing faith through the work they do in their church, families and communities.
Bishop John Nhan Tran concelebrated the Mass where 49 women and 44 youth were recognized.
“We gather as a church to celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation,” Bishop Tran said in his homily, “and to recognize the women of the archdiocese as well as our youth.”
He shared that if “we say yes to things that are contrary to God’s law you will see a negative effect of the consequences of that yes.”
“However,” Bishop Tran continued, “if we say yes in accordance to God’s will we see a positive effect. For those we recognize today, you have said yes to participate in the life of the church in various ways. Thank you for your yes.”
He reflected upon Mary’s yes to God in faith. “That yes changed the course of history as we know it,” he said.
Bishop Tran stated that Mary’s yes was humble and free and that by going to her cousin, Elizabeth, “she knew life was not just about her but others”
“As Jesus reminded us,” he said, “the greatest among us is the one who is able to humble himself or herself in order to serve.”
“Our Blessed Mother gives us great examples of the virtue of humility,” Bishop Tran said. “We realize that without the virtue of humility it would be very difficult to serve, to love; and for us who are priests, deacons, and bishops it would be very difficult for us to preach.”
Through the holy sacrifice of the Mass, said the bishop, “the Lord will send us forth to be his witnesses.”
Following Mass, Bishop Tran said it was a privilege to represent Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.; Bishop Joel M. Konzen, SM; and Bishop Bernard E. Shlesinger III and to recognize those who have contributed much to the life of their particular parishes.
Bishop Tran expressed his thanks to the priests who attended, the community of St. Lawrence and to its pastor Father Henry Atem.
The work of the honorees
“I felt very humble and honored that they would recognize me because there are a lot of women at the parish that do a lot of good work,” said Pamela Kramer, honored as Woman of the Year from St. Lawrence.
Kramer, president of St. Lawrence’s St. Vincent de Paul conference and a caseworker, said that it is her main ministry.
“I also love being a eucharistic minister and lector,” Kramer said.
“Our parish gets between 300 to 400 calls for St. Vincent de Paul every month,” she said. The conference helps people pay bills, find jobs and connect to other services that they might not be able to provide. They also work with nonprofits like Lawrenceville Housing Authority and other co-ops.
“The people are always appreciative with anything we can do to help,” Kramer said. “We also pray with them whenever we talk on the phone or visit. We are doing Christ’s work. Being Christ’s hands and feet is what our goal is, being able to help people.”
“I was surprised,” said Lorraine Miller, the Woman of the Year from St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro.
“I was humbled by it because in ministry it is never a one-person operation, you need everybody,” she said.
She was director of religious education and faith formation for 10 years at the parish. Miller has been involved with Bible studies, worked with the youth minister for confirmation and operated the gift shop.
“I always thought my gift was being able to encourage others to share their gifts; to receive their gifts and then encourage them to use their gifts in ministry,” Miller said.
She said it is vital to engage other adults.
“It is important to get them involved, to take ownership of their faith and to develop their faith,” she emphasized.
As grace and nature go together, faith and works go together, said Miller.
“We’re called to be the hands and feet of the Lord because he loves us and that’s the bottom line. It’s his love that compels us to love others,” she said.
Since Miller retired in January 2022, her main ministry is caregiver to her husband who suffered a major stroke.
“He needs assistance full time,” Miller said. “It’s important to keep my husband’s mind engaged. I have to help do everything, but I also read to him, do crossword puzzles together, take him to the lake to have lunch on a nice day and go for walks.”
The honorees received a certificate and had their photograph taken with Bishop Tran. A reception followed.
“St. Lawrence made us feel extremely welcomed,” Victoria Nimmo-Walters, president, AACCW, said. “The efforts of the Ladies of St. Lawrence and the Knights of Columbus made the event a huge success.”
OUTSTANDING YOUTH OF THE YEAR
Jonathan Barrera, Our Lady of LaSalette Church, Canton; Ryan Bennett, Good Shepherd Church, Cumming; Lily Anne Carras, St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta; Brandon Marquez Castro, St. Andrew Church, Roswell; Daniel Chelena, St. Michael the Archangel Church, Woodstock; Danielle Clark, St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta; Scott Couch, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Carrollton; Itzel Curiel, St. Matthew Church, Winder; Alonzo Fernandez, St. Pius X Church, Conyers; Brett Forbes, Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain; Shea Granger, St. Oliver Plunkett Church, Snellville; Claire Gregory, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta; Timothy Hang, St. Anna Church, Monroe; Felicitas Kienlin, St. Peter Church, LaGrange; Katherine Lee, Holy Trinity Church, Marietta; Rachel Lee, St. Andrew Kim Korean Church, Duluth; Anastajia Lewis, Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Decatur; Catherine Lilly, St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sharpsburg; Grady Linscheid, St. Peter the Rock Church, The Rock; Sebastian Lopez, St. Patrick’s, Norcross; Sofia Merin, Transfiguration Church, Marietta; Isabella Miles, Holy Cross Church, Atlanta; Morning Miller, St. Brigid Church, Johns Creek; Jayla Musa, St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro; Christopher Nilsson, All Saints Church, Dunwoody; Liam O’Toole, Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Atlanta; Vanessa Onwuamumkpe, St. Paul of the Cross Church, Atlanta; Zoe Palmer, Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Hartwell; Daniel Pina, St. Francis of Assisi Church, Cartersville; Cynthia Ramirez, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church, Douglasville; Cindy Ramos, St. Augustine Church, Covington; Virginia C. Ramos, St. Bernadette Church, Cedartown; Dorothy Ratcliff, Mary Our Queen, Norcross; Omar Rodriguez, St. George Church, Newnan; Mark Rowell, St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell; Cecelia Sampona, Prince of Peace Church, Flowery Branch; Isabella Sandoval, Mision de Divino Nino Jesus, Duluth; David Soberano, St. Matthew Church, Tyrone; Froilan D. Sunga, St. Joseph Church, Washington; Christina Sweeney, St. Ann Church, Marietta;Tina Vu, St. Mary Church, Toccoa; Cooper Wallace, St. John Vianney Church, Lithia Springs; Chandler Ware, St. Lawrence Church, Lawrenceville and Ian Wilkins, St. Vincent de Paul Church, Dallas.
OUTSTANDING WOMEN OF THE YEAR
Mary Adams, St. Joseph Church, Marietta; Cathy Asemota, St. John the Evangelist Church, Hapeville; Mary Becker, Sacred Heart Church, Milledgeville; Ludmila Campos, Prince of Peace Church, Flowery Branch; Maria Santa Ana Cantu, St. Augustine Church, Covington; Fran Carroll, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Atlanta; Jeongsuk Choi, St. Andrew Kim Korean Church, Duluth;Maria A. Collado, St. Bernadette Church, Cedartown; Polly Crozier, St. James the Apostle Church, McDonough; Kathleen Daigle, Holy Family Church, Marietta; Stephanie Daugherty, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta; Claire Dravis, St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Alpharetta; Cynthia Fite, Queen of Angels Church, Thomson; Suzanne Fragale, Transfiguration Church, Marietta; Griselda Garcia, St. Pius X Church, Conyers; Alice Harris, St. Jude the Apostle Church, Sandy Springs; Paulina Hawkins, Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Decatur ;Kathy Holcomb, St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sharpsburg; Clare Holder, St. Elizabeth Seton Church, Warm Springs; Pam Kramer, St. Lawrence Church, Lawrenceville; Laurie Law, Holy Cross Church, Atlanta; Cynthia Li, St. Mary Church, Toccoa; Brenda Lopez, St. Michael the Archangel Church, Woodstock; Sarah Martin, St. Oliver Plunkett Church, Snellvill; Victoria Mburu, St. Francis of Assisi, Cartersville; Thaedra Mercadel-Jones, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, Douglasville; Lorraine Miller, St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro; Belinda Nunez, St. Brigid Church, Johns Creek; Joyce Oda-Story, Christ Our Hope Church, Lithonia; Laura Onstott, St. Joseph Church, Athens; Melissa Owens, Lady of the Assumption Church, Atlanta; Marie Paris, St. Andrew Church, Roswell; Anne Patrick, Mary Our Queen Church, Norcross; Cindy Pendleton St. Peter Church, LaGrange; Sabrina Polote, St. Anthony of Padua Church, Atlanta; Jean Rearick, St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell; Edilma Rigg, St. Ann Church, Marietta; Marisol Rodrigez, St. Peter the Rock Church, The Rock; Pam Rountree, St. Gerard Majella Church, Ft. Oglethorpe; Jenny Rupert, St. John Vianney Church, Lithia Springs; Jennifer Schafer, St. Patrick Church, Norcross; Deb Sepich, Our Lady of the Mountains Church, Jasper; Karen Straub, St. Anna Church, Monroe; Mary Taylor, St. Paul of the Cross Church, Atlanta; Susan Terrill, St. Vincent de Paul Church, Dallas; Michelle Trimarchi, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Carrollton and Gino Wanko, Our Lady of LaSalette Church, Canton.