Bishop Michael Cote recently presented three high school students with the St. Timothy Award for outstanding Catholic character, integrity and Christian leadership.
The three recipients are Ann Lucia Bernadette Geoly, a student at Ledyard High School and member of Our Lady of Lourdes in Gales Ferry; Nathalie O’Neill, a student at Mercy High School and member of St. Pius X in Middletown; and Olivia Riccio, a student at Morgan High School and a member of St. Mary of the Visitation in Clinton.
The St. Timothy Award is sponsored by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry and is the highest honor any diocese may bestow on its youth. In presenting the award to recipients recently, Youth and Young Adult Minister Liza Roach said, “These young women have witnessed the value of a personal faith life that has motivated them to serve others through Christian outreach in their parishes, communities and high schools. They embody the qualities of moral integrity, prayer, good works and Christian leadership, which are the hallmark of this award.”
For the past four years, Ann has been a teacher’s aide in her parish’s fifth and second grade faith formation classes. She has volunteered at the church’s Lenten Fish Fry for the past five years and helps out at the rectory with bulk mailings and other tasks. She is also a member of the Ledyard High School Student Leadership Council and a student member of the Ledyard Board of Education, making her an active participant in local government. Josephine Cometa, the parish catechetical leader who nominated Ann for the award, wrote of Ann, “By giving of herself and her time through volunteering, I have seen her faith grow over the past few years. Her compassionate nature and positive attitude are great examples to all she encounters.”
Mercy High School Theology Teacher Meg Malafronte nominated Nathalie for this year’s award. She cited Nathalie’s consistent commitment to Christian outreach activities and the message of caring that she has brought to both her parish and high school communities as examples of Nathalie’s moral integrity and leadership. In nominating Nathalie, Malafronte wrote, “I have taught at Mercy for 18 years, and rarely see a young person so naturally involved and generous with her time and talents…I would trust her to teach, model and encourage the light of Jesus with any age group or evangelization effort.”
Olivia is president of her parish youth group, lectors, assists with the faith formation program and vacation Bible school, and is a peer ministry leader. She also has been involved in community service with the local food pantry and soup kitchen, Special Olympics and bringing ‘Prayer Bears’ to Yale New Haven Hospital. “She is a phenomenal young lady who goes over and above what is asked of her,” said Peggy Abbott, faith formation coordinator at St Mary’s in Clinton, who nominated Olivia for the award.
“We congratulate Ann, Nathalie, and Olivia on receiving this award and in recognition of their witness to Christ’s love alive in their hearts,” Roach said.
By Mary-Jo McLaughlin