Award recipients serve in many ways - Catholic Courier

Award recipients serve in many ways

Though Tim Chichester said he keeps “really busy,” he wasn’t too tied up to spend a day volunteering for a Special Olympics event earlier this fall at SUNY College at Brockport. His stated motive for aiding athletes with developmental disabilities was basic, yet profound.

“I was thinking how it feels after helping someone. It feels good,” said Tim, 17, who attends St. Patrick’s Church in Mt. Morris.

Marren Hunter, 17, also stays on the go as a three-sport athlete at Auburn High School. Yet she set the time aside two years ago to take part in a Crop Walk, and raised $340 — the highest individual total at her parish for the annual fundraiser, which is dedicated to ending hunger locally and globally.

Marren also attends Sunday Mass regularly with her mother at Sacred Heart Church, where she has served as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion since first volunteering for the role two years ago. Performing this liturgical ministry is vital, she said, because it leaves her “just knowing that I’m involved in the church and connected to the church.”

Tim and Marren are among many worthy recipients of the annual diocesan Hands of Christ award. In fact, this year features an all-time high of more than 800 high-school seniors being honored for outstanding service in their parishes, schools and communities.

The 2005-06 Hands of Christ recipients will be honored at three prayer services: Nov. 5 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at St. Mary of the Lake Church, Watkins Glen; Nov. 8, 7:30 to 9 p.m., St. Joseph’s Church in Penfield; and Nov. 9, 7:30 to 9 p.m., St. Lawrence Church in Greece.

“I’m really excited and honored to know I’m being recognized. I’m just really appreciative,” Marren said.

Tim, noting that an older brother and sister earned Hands of Christ awards, remarked, “I’m very glad I got it.”

He appears quite deserving, based on his service record. Tim volunteered at the recent Special Olympics through the Key Club, a junior Kiwanis service group. At St. Patrick’s, he has been an altar server since fourth grade and is also a youth-group member. And, as a Boy Scout, he has helped clean the yard of a blind woman and is currently working on an Eagle Scout project that involves clean up of a local cemetery.

An important ritual for Tim occurs every Wednesday at Mount Morris Central High School. At 6 p.m., he and some friends gather in the cafeteria for Bible study. Tim likes the fact that this activity “gets us in the school environment talking about God.” Regarding societal sentiment over prayer in public school, he commented, “Some people don’t like that, but they shouldn’t take it from everyone else (by making laws banning such actions).”

Another Hands of Christ honoree who is public about his faith is Jason Lodge, 18, from Schuyler Catholic Community. He’s visible in parish life as a member of his small Christian community — a teen religious-education discussion group. He also depicted Christ for the Living Stations of the Cross this past spring. In addition, Jason recently chose a special project for his shop class at Watkins Glen High School, forming a wooden plaque of praying hands. This creation raised some questions from his peers, yet Jason said he was proud to have done it for his faith.

“It makes me feel good inside,” he said, adding that “it came out pretty nice. It’s hanging up on my wall over my bed.”

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