GREECE — They lend a hand at church through serving on parish council;
performing liturgical roles; volunteering for faith-formation programs;
and doing youth-group activities.
They lend a hand in the greater community through volunteering at
the fire department or ambulance corps; getting involved in
fundraisers; joining service efforts at school; helping the poor,
elderly and developmentally disabled; tutoring; staging Eagle Scout
projects; and even going on mission trips to faraway lands.
On a more intimate level, they’re helping hands for family members,
friends and neighbors who may be facing such challenges as illness and
These hands employ their academic, athletic and musical skills, not
to mention their gifts of faith — a faith they defend even in the face
of peer pressure, a faith that has perhaps helped them overcome
From the view of diocesan officials, all the hands share one common
link: They are an extension of Christ’s hands.
Approximately 1,500 hands — belonging to 750 or so young men and
women — were recently honored at Hands of Christ ceremonies, held
annually to recognize high-school seniors throughout the diocese for
outstanding service. Three gatherings took place this month, with
Bishop Matthew H. Clark presiding over each service: at Greece’s St.
Lawrence Church Oct. 14; Ithaca’s Immaculate Conception Church Oct. 18;
and Fairport’s Church of the Assumption Oct. 21.
This year featured a record number of Hands of Christ recipients. At
the start of the Oct. 14 ceremony, Sean Patrick Collins said he was
impressed by the high volume of peers who filled the pews at St.
Lawrence. Sean’s own parish certainly helped in that regard: He was one
of 20 recipients in attendance from St. Christopher in North Chili.
“It’s a great thing to see all these other youth come together. It
feels good to know they’re doing similar things,” said Sean, 17.
Bishop Clark presented each award winner with a Hands of Christ
plaque. Upon processing back to their pews, many beaming recipients
paused to exchange hugs with family members, youth ministers and
“I was very excited and honored,” Kathryn Monahan, 17, said of her
Hands of Christ nomination. Kathryn, from St. Michael’s Parish in
Newark, said she enjoyed the festivities Oct. 14 despite the long trek
to St. Lawrence — “one hour and three minutes,” she reported.
Bishop Clark told the young honorees their enthusiastic commitment
to service inspires him as well as other adults. He also reminded them
that helping others should continue throughout their lives. “It is
always in giving that you receive,” he said.
Sean, for one, appears to have priorities that would suit him well
for adulthood. He continues his longtime roles at St. Christopher
Parish in altar serving, teaching faith formation and volunteering for
the annual clothing drive — even though, as he put it, he could be
devoting more time to “making more money, doing sports, lots of stuff.”
Why the continued focus on his parish?
“That’s what Jesus would do,” he replied.
Kathryn is equally busy at St. Michael’s in Newark by teaching faith
formation, assisting with confirmation and cantoring. She also takes
part in parish and diocesan youth events.
Of her strong commitment to her parish and her faith, Kathryn
commented, “It was important to me as a kid, and it’s important to me
now. Important things, you make time for.”