Meet the 2024 Hands of Christ - Catholic Courier

Meet the 2024 Hands of Christ

Through the Hands of Christ recognition program, which is sponsored by the Diocese of Rochester’s Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, the bishop of Rochester recognizes high-school seniors who have been the “Hands of Christ” in their churches, homes, schools and communities.

The recipients are practicing Catholics who have consistently demonstrated a Christian attitude by word and example; have been actively involved in their parishes, as well as their school or communities; and have been positive role models to their peers.

In February 2024, 240 teens received their awards during three recognition ceremonies with Bishop Salvatore R. Matano. The Catholic Courier then offered parents the opportunity to recognize their children by providing additional photos and information for publication. Below are the 94 recipients whose information the Courier received.

To see the full list of recipients and to learn more about the Hands of Christ program, click on the buttons below.


Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick, Owego

Juliana McLaren

High School: Owego Free Academy

Juliana attends Mass regularly, helps with children’s faith formation, and is a basketball cheerleader and National Honor Society member.

Kathryn Donnelly-Taylor

High School: Owego Free Academy
College: Binghamton University

Catholic Community of St. Ann, Sacred Heart, St. Alphonsus & Holy Family, Auburn/Owasco

Jack Hoadley

High School: Auburn High School
College: Plans to major in sports management

My community and church are very important to me. I enjoy being a part of the community, and my faith provides me with the ability to assist and help.

Grace Staehr

High School: Tyburn Academy
College: St. John Fisher University

The Hands of Christ Award is a huge honor that means a lot to me, and I’m very humbled to have received it this year.

Church of St. Jerome, East Rochester

Julianne Corleto

High School: Penfield High School
Involvement: Longtime altar server and lector

“I believe being a Hand of Christ means you are willing to follow Jesus’ lead by helping others, spreading God’s message, and being prepared to sacrifice for your faith.

Trevor Spears

High School: Mother of Divine Grace School
College: Wyoming Catholic College

Trevor is an altar server, member of the St. Jerome’s Youth Group, and a volunteer at Catholic Family Land summer camp. He also is a member of the Diocesan Youth Schola and plays the organ and piano as well.

William Rappold

High School: McQuaid Jesuit High School
College: LeMoyne College

William is a lector, former altar server and a Vacation Bible School volunteer.

Church of the Assumption, Fairport

Melissa Brancato

High School: Fairport High School

“Being the Hands of Christ means going into the world to do God’s work and be a light for others.”

Church of the Transfiguration/St. Catherine of Siena, Pittsford/Mendon

Matt Carpentier

High School: Pittsford Mendon High School

I always feel peace, tranquility & positivity after attending Mass and when I volunteer as a peer leader in youth groups. I have learned and grown a lot because of the experiences I have had through the church.”

Trevor Markevicz

High School: Pittsford Mendon High School

“Being the Hands of Christ means going out and doing the work that God asks us to do—spreading his word to others.”

Victoria Dennis

High School: Pittsford Mendon High School

Riley Whitely

High School: Pittsford Mendon High School

Riley is a member of the National Honors Society, a Link leader, peer mentor for confirmation students, Friends of Strong Memorial High School volunteer, vice president of Animal Club and works at Wegmans.

Elizabeth Cox

High School: Pittsford Mendon High School

Since I was young I have always participated in the church. The Hands of Christ Award to me means being kind to others and loving your neighbor as we love ourselves. The Eucharist has connected me closer to God.”

Angela Kodiyan

High School: Pittsford Mendon High School

The Eucharist makes me feel closer to God, and that makes me feel even more that God is with me, supporting and loving me.

Cameron Watt

High School: Pittsford Mendon High School

Holy Cross, Charlotte

Stephen Leonardo

High School: Aquinas Institute

My faith and belief grow through my time in nature admiring the beauty and complexity that I see.

Nico Young

High School: Aquinas Institute

Nico has overcome physical challenges to remain on his dream of Aquinas football. Having to redirect his lifelong dream of college ball. Obviously he had touched many hearts.— Donna Jacobi, youth minister

Nathan Lewis

High School: Bishop Kearney High School

“Jesus is important in my life as I look to him as a teacher guiding me down the path of life.

Holy Cross, Freeville

Meara Coller

High School: Ithaca High School

Holy Family Catholic Community, Wayland

Aynsley Belcher

High School: Dansville High School

Aynsley is involved in faith formation, Bible school, Christmas pageants, musical ensembles, and is an altar server and lector. She also worked as a counselor at Camp Stella Maris and attended NCYC.

Zachary Heimann

High School: Dansville High School

Holy Spirit/St. Joseph, Penfield

Elliott Roes

High School: McQuaid Jesuit High School
College: University of Utah

Elliott holds high standards for himself and aims to please the Lord. He can be counted on by friends, and even counseled a friend in need, who has returned to the Catholic faith with his family. Elliott was a student counselor at Camp Guggenheim, where he attended adoration frequently and encouraged others to do the same. He was always the last to leave the chapel.” — Jeanne Mooney, faith formation

Kevin Giacobbi

High School: McQuaid Jesuit High School

Cam Gunerman

High School: Penfield High School
Involvement: Livestreaming ministry, altar server

Being an active part of the Mass has been beneficial to Cam in many ways. He has grown in his understanding of the parts of the Mass and the significance of each part. He has shown his value to the community by livestreaming the Mass during a time when many did not attend services. He has a record of 10 years of voluntary service.” — Lisa Milano, faith formation & youth ministry director

Holy Trinity, Webster

William “Will” Madison

High School: Webster Schroeder High School

Will has been an altar server since fourth grade.

Andrew Syracusa

High School: Webster Thomas High School
College: SUNY Geneseo

Andrew has been involved in many parish events, school and community organizations. Andrew has also shown in many ways how the Eucharist is present within him. He makes good choices and always remembers that God is with him. Andrew was willing and able to take his younger cousin, Salvatore, to a couple of prep classes for first Communion.” — Annette and Craig Syracusa

Luca Russo

High School: Webster Schroeder High School
College: Alfred State College

The Eucharist has helped me grow up and mature over the years, and get me to where I am now.



Our Lady of Peace, Geneva

Corey Bailey

High School: Geneva High School
College: Virginia Tech

My relationship with God has grown a lot over the years so I felt that it was my responsibility to help the youth of the church to learn about Christ so that they can come to find the same love and passion for God as I have.

Joseph Hart

High School: Geneva High School

“It’s an honor to receive the Hands of Christ Award. I attend Mass every week and assist the ushers with taking up the weekly collection, which I have done for the past four years. I believe that my faith is an integral part of who I am and how I live my life.”

Evan Merced

High School: Geneva High School

“My faith is very important to me. The Eucharist affects my life because it makes me closer to Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It also helps me grow in my Catholic faith by drawing me closer to God.”

Allie Good

High School: Geneva High School
College: Mercyhurst University

“It is truly an honor to have been nominated and receive the Hands of Christ Award. Being a ‘Hand of Christ’ allows me to continue my faith journey, strengthen my relationship with God, while helping others around me.”

Ava Fratangelo

High School: Geneva High School

“I have always been deeply connected with my faith. I am constantly attempting to help people grow in their faith, especially young children, who may not have anyone to look up to, or a teenager, who is lost and doesn’t know what to do with their life.”

Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community, Penn Yan

James David Tette

High School: Penn Yan Academy

“Showing the youth of our community that kids can make a difference in the world is imperative. Being a positive influence in my community is an important way for everyone to get along and accomplish large projects by working together. A smile and a word of encouragement goes a long way to making someone’s day better.”


Our Lady of the Valley, Hornell

Noah Drouin

High School: Canisteo-Greenwood High School
College: Already in Army National Guard and plans to pursue a degree in education

I see myself as Christ’s hands in the big and little things I do every day. Every day I try my best to help others and make good choices. I see importance in Jesus’s teachings, and comfort in following them and doing the right thing.


Gennaro Picco

High School: Hornell High School
College: Plans to major in biology

I see myself as a Hand of Christ because I try to live my life like Jesus did. I treat people equally and fairly. I see myself as a leader and I try to lead by example to do the right thing. My Catholic faith is important to me and I go to church every week, which brings me closer to God. The Eucharist helps me to be a Hand of Christ because it brings me closer to God. I also feel closer to God after being confirmed last year. I become closer to God also when I serve at the altar, which I have done.

Our Mother of Sorrows, Greece

Amanda Lozy-Lester

High School: Our Lady of Mercy High School

“Receiving the Eucharist is a beautiful gift, and as I take Christ into my body, I make myself vulnerable. I open myself up, fully. I let God in, and I let God support me in my hardships. I feel God’s presence as a light, as a reminder of the joy, love, and mercy
outpouring—if only I am open to receiving it.”

Logan Cook

High School: Hilton High School
College: Mercyhurst University


Madeline Pisciotti

High School: Greece Athena High School

“Being the Hands of Christ means serving to others in my community. I am sent by God to be a servant for others, and through that service, I am bettering my relationship with others and God. My faith thrives on showing love to my community using the gifts which God has given me.”

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rochester

Sofia Vega

High School: Our Lady of Mercy High School

Sofia attends weekly Sunday Mass, volunteers to serve at our pancake breakfast and is a lector.” — Darlene Piersall, faith-formation coordinator

St. Agnes/St. Paul of the Cross/St. Rose, Avon/Honeoye Falls/Lima

Grant McGunnigle

High School: Honeoye Falls-Lima High School
Involvement: Altar server, Boy Scout & a member of his school’s swim team

“By the Eucharist, I have become united with Christ so that he can use me for his will.”

Katherine (Kate) Dailor

High School: Honeoye-Falls Lima High School
College: Bucknell University

Reese DeVito

High School: Avon High School
College: Plans to study agriculture science

“Being the Hands of Christ means helping out when you see a need in your family, community, and world.”

Antonio Vengoechea

High School: Honeoye Falls-Lima High School

“Being the ‘Hands of Christ’ means embodying Christ’s teachings and serving others selflessly, often through acts of kindness, compassion, and charity. It involves actively engaging in actions that reflect Christ’s love and teachings, extending help and support to those in need in the way Jesus would.”

St. Anthony, Groton

Madalyn Perkins

High School: Groton High School
Tompkins Cortland Community College for associate’s degree
College: SUNY Oswego

“Maddie is a wonderful person and has been such a blessing to her family, school and community. She is very honored to win the Hands of Christ Award.” Andrea and Mike Perkins

St. Benedict Parish, Canandaigua/Bloomfield

Edward Goatseay

High School: Red Jacket High School
College: RIT

“Eddie sees himself as a hand of Christ because of his courage to sing as a cantor for Mass. He connects with his community and deepens his relationship with God through acts of service.” Sarah Eaton, director of music

St. Charles Borromeo, Greece

Kalan Brown

High School: Spencerport High School

St. Christopher, North Chili

Amelia Mattia

High School: Spencerport High School
College: SUNY Cobleskill

Amelia volunteered for Vacation Bible School and refurbished the Mary statue.

Abigail Mineweaser

High School: Churchville-Chili High School
College: SUNY Brockport

“It was an honor and a proud full moment to be nominated and receive this award from my parish as did my sister years before me.”

St. Francis & St. Clare Parish, Seneca Falls/Waterloo

Catherine Nearpass

High School: Romulus High School
College: Villanova University

Catherine is a Vacation Bible School volunteer, St. Mary’s Festival worker, vice president of National Honor Society, participates in Envirothon, track & field and various community service work.

Luke Olschewske

High School: Mynderse Academy
College: Finger Lakes Community College

St. John of Rochester, Fairport

Addelynne York

High School: Ruben A. Cirillo High School
College: University of Massachusetts

“To me, the Hands of Christ means being a light. It means being someone who, when I walk into a room, brings God’s warmth, energy, happiness, and most importantly, love into the lives of others. It means someone whose world revolves around the Lord, community and service. It means being a witness to God and helping others in word and deed, lightening the burdens they may bear.”

St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Clyde

Grace Fullerton

High School: Waterloo High School

Grace was an altar server at St. John’s in Clyde for several years. She enjoys dancing on a competition team at the Studio of the Dance Arts in Seneca Falls. She has a part-time job at the Waterloo Outlet Mall.

Joseph Sapp

High School: Lyons High School

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, Irondequoit

Catherine Bondi

High School: Irondequoit High School
College: Will study engineering

“I believe every person’s duty given to them by God is to spread love and help each other. I try to do this every day. I look to bring the light of Christ into young people’s lives by helping them in Sunday faith formation, and helping with the youth ministries at Masses. Attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist brings me closer to God, strengthening my faith, and allowing me to help others at a deeper level. The closer I am to God, the more I can do his work.

Michael Salvatore “Sal” Schmitt

High School: Aquinas Institute

“I see myself as the Hands of Christ because of how I act towards others and my community. I always try to embody Catholic values in everything I do to better my surroundings.”

Lana Rumble

High School: Bishop Kearney High School
College: Monroe Community College

When I look back at the things I’ve done to help others in need, it brings me a sense of purpose and happiness that I have made a difference. I see how Christ’s work is being fulfilled through the small things I’ve done. Receiving the Eucharist gives me strength and helps me realize the love Christ has for me and that I can do all things through Christ.

St. Lawrence, Greece

Justin Ball

High School: Greece Athena High School
College: RIT

Austin Gillis

High School: McQuaid Jesuit High School
College: Nazareth University

St. Louis, Pittsford

Juliana Cabarcos

High School: Pittsford Mendon High School

Julia Coons

High School: Pittsford Sutherland High School

Julia teaches CCD.

Ellie Murphy

High School: Our Lady of Mercy High School
Involvement: Children’s Liturgy of the Word volunteer and cantor at Mass

“I was so honored to receive the Hands of Christ Award. I carry God’s message in my heart and try to share his love. Knowing that he is always with me gives me strength and courage every day.”

Julia Sengenberger

High School: Homeschooled
College: John Paul the Great Catholic University in Escondido, California

“To me, being a Hand of Christ means bringing joy to other people, living the faith, and evangelizing by example.”

Bridget Daniele

High School: Pittsford Sutherland High School

Pierce Lanahan

High School: Pittsford Sutherland High School

Involvement: Pierce is an altar server.

ZaveyAnn Powers

High School: Pittsford Sutherland High School
College: Monroe Community College

“It is an honor to be a Hands of Christ Award recipient. I do not feel it was hard to achieve but when you truly enjoy your faith and you practice it all the time, of course it is easy. I realize it may not always come easy and I will need to work at it to stay close to Jesus.”

St. Marianne Cope, Henrietta

Ayvin Krug

High School: Homeschooled
College: RIT

“I have been the Hands of Christ by showing kindness to others and by volunteering to help out the community whenever I can. I’ve fed the hungry by packaging food and delivering it to those in need, clothed the naked by donating unneeded clothes, and forgiven injuries by letting go of all grudges. Attending Mass and youth ministry has reminded me of the importance of these things and encouraged me to be more like Jesus.”

St. Martin de Porres, Caledonia/Churchville/Scottsville

Oliver Johnson

High School: Caledonia-Mumford High School
College: LeMoyne College

“I always try to help anyone who is in need, assisting any way I can. I also try to help my priest at church. The Eucharist has taught me that when I continue to talk to God, have faith and believe in his word, God will lead me in the direction of continuing to be a Hand of Christ.”

Robert Wilkinson

High School: Churchville-Chili High School
College: St. Bonaventure University

“Being a Hand of Christ means living my life according to God. It has shown me that living by God’s teachings will help me in my life and make me a better person. I will continue worshipping God well into adulthood.”

St. Mary Church, Auburn

Lily Nila

High School: Auburn High School
College: SUNY Fredonia

Lily’s community service started at the very young age of 4, having many benefactors of her community service and volunteerism. Her faith helped her to see the importance of being compassionate, empathetic, and helping. Darlene and Rick Nila

Mary Kate Vitale

High School: Southern Cayuga High School
College: Cornell University

Mary Kate has been an altar server at her parish for the past eight years. She also volunteers at her high school’s weekend backpack program, ensuring food security on the weekends for students who need it.

St. Mary Our Mother, Horseheads

Amelia Rouleau

High School: Horseheads High School
College: Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Amelia was a volunteer for Environmental Science Club, teaching grade-school kids. She was an altar server at Mass before COVID. She also volunteered for drama club help.

St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Ontario

Megan Montgomery

High School: Wayne High School
College: SUNY Canton

Megan plays volleyball, runs track and volunteers at the Ontario Ambulance.

St. Monica, Rochester

Micah Anderson

High School: Aquinas Institute

“The Hand of Christ means to me to continue to know the importance to be closer to God through the different moments in life. I currently enjoy going to a religious high school and attending Mass. These are reminders how the Eucharist helped me be a Hand of Christ.”

St. Pius Tenth Church, Chili

Matthew Hayes

High School: Churchville-Chili High School
College: St. John Fisher University

Matthew participates in unified bowling and basketball. He also is the vice president of Youth Activation Committee and secretary of Senior Class Council. He is on the varsity golf team and is a member of National Honor Society. In the community, he volunteers with Rochester Police Department’s Do the Right Thing Awards program and works at Churchville Golf Course.

Joseph Colabufo

High School: Gates Chili High School
College: RIT

Joseph used to be an altar server. Through Scouts and National Honor Society, he cleans the grounds at St. Pius and helps to set up and take down the outdoor manger and replicator at St. Feehan Church at Christmas. He’s also involved in a food collection for SWEM.

Andrew Bernard

High School: McQuaid Jesuit High School
College: Xavier University

“It is an honor to be recognized for living my life for the greater glory of God.”

Dylan Sweeney

High School: Gates Chili High School

Robert LaDuca

High School: Spencerport High School
College: SUNY Oswego or SUNY Geneseo

“Rob is an exceptional young man who is immediately drawn to others and contemplating how he can help empower them and help others do better and be more themselves. Rob has a reverence for the sacred, a love for others and the ability to welcome and include everyone. It’s a pleasure to have him as a member of the St Pius X Church community.— Bridget and Greg LaDuca

Adrianna D’Agostino

High School: Gates Chili High School
College: Nazareth University

Adrianna attends Mass and volunteering in and out of the church. She’s a member of National Honor Society and treasurer of Service Club and Tri-M Music Honor Society at her school where she volunteers to help support local families and people in the Rochester area.

Ella Coleman

High School: Gates Chili High School
College: SUNY Geneseo

Ella volunteers with parish and school activities and participates in school sports.

Emily Ferguson

High School: Aquinas Institute
College: Mercyhurst University

St. Rita Church, Webster

Nathan Chamberlain

High School: Bishop Kearney High School
College: Monroe Community College

“I believe that everyone deserves a helping hand, and it brings me great satisfaction to be able to provide that support to those who need it the most. In my own small way, I strive to be Jesus’s hands on Earth, spreading love and kindness wherever I go.”

Graceann Merle

High School: Our Lady of Mercy High School

Carli Santoleri

High School: Webster Thomas High School
College: St. John Fisher University

“I am honored to receive the Hands of Christ Award. I believe through my actions and service work that I can become an extension of Christ and a positive role model for others.”


St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Rochester

Dominic Mroszczak

High School: Bishop Kearney High School
College: St. John Fisher University

Brian Whitehouse

High School: Rush-Henrietta High School
College: Florida Institute of Technology

“I would love to say that I am most definitely presented as a Hand of Christ. This, to me, means that I genuinely care for others and my faith. I try to do the better good for others and give attention to the world more so than that of myself.”

St. Theodore Church, Gates

Joseph Macartney

High School: Spencerport High School
College: University of Buffalo

Joseph is a part of the Ranger Robotics team, and a volunteer for Vacation Bible School and Breakfast with Santa at church. He also volunteers for Jr. Lego Robotics.

Ss. Isidore & Maria Torribia Parish, Addison/Bradford/Campbell

Evangeline Ferratella

High School: Corning-Painted Post High School

“Catholicism is important to me and my family. It brings people together and I feel that is the most important part of our religion. The Hands of Christ, to me, is about being with loved ones and sharing our faith.”

Ss. Mary & Matthew Faith Community, Honeoye/Livonia

Grace Denney

High School: Livonia High School
College: SUNY Geneseo or St. Bonaventure University

“Grace was named appropriately, in that she shares God’s grace wherever she goes. As a young woman with autism, she is open and honest with others about her experiences, and goes above and beyond to be kind and helpful. She serves as a cantor in church and is a regular Mass attendee. Grace is a great source of encouragement to others, and always greets others with a smile on her face.”Jeannette Housecamp, director of faith-formation/youth ministry

Southeast Rochester Catholic Community, Rochester

Clay Arnold

High School: Brighton High School

Clay is a confirmation sponsor for his sister and serves as a role model to her. He also coaches soccer and is a lifeguard. Clay’s desire is to unite different groups of people.

Landon Smith

High School: McQuaid Jesuit High School

Finding God in everyone through acts of service and prayer.

Korben Parent

High School: McQuaid Jesuit High School

Korben is currently a lector and a volunteer for the parish’s Supper Program. He previously was an altar server, children’s liturgist and a Vacation Bible Camp counselor.

Ambrose Weidmann

High School: McQuaid Jesuit High School
College: Will study architecture

“Ambrose is an excellent teen who helps us in the parish constantly. He always goes above and beyond! He definitely deserves this award.” — Katie Amann, pastoral associate for faith formation

Tags: Faith in Action
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