MILWAUKEE — Fifteen members of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee were recognized with Vatican II Awards on Wednesday, Nov. 11, at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee, for their contributions to the Catholic community of southeastern Wisconsin.
This year’s award recipients are:
Service in Administration: James Piotrowski, Three Holy Women Parish, Milwaukee. A commercial banker for many years, Piotrowski oversees business operations, finances and buildings and grounds concerns for four parishes: Three Holy Women, Our Lady of Divine Providence, Old St. Mary and SS. Peter and Paul, Milwaukee.
Service to the Church: Carol Abraham, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Twin Lakes. After being invited by her parish priest to get involved in the parish, Abraham’s volunteer efforts have snowballed. She served as a lector, sang in the choir, coordinated retreats and joined various committees. She’s also a member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and Synod Preparatory Commission.
Service in Communication: Gene Mueller, St. Mary Parish, Hales Corners. Mueller, with 33 years in local radio, is the voice of radio spots promoting the Soles for Catholic Education Walk and serves as the annual event’s emcee. He’s also a lector and auction host at his parish.
Service in Ecumenism: Dan Di Domizio, St. Benedict the Moor Parish, Milwaukee. A professor in the religious studies department at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Di Domizio participates in the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee’s Committee for Interfaith Understanding and works to break down religious barriers. He and his wife, Jacqueline Haessley, have hosted an Interfaith Conference-sponsored “Amazing Faith Dinner Dialogue” in their home.
Service in Education: James B. Simon, Holy Family Parish, Fond du Lac. Simon co-chaired a task force that combined five parish grade schools and St. Mary Springs High School into a single kindergarten-through-12th grade system, operating out of one location. He’s been a supporter of Catholic education in the Fond du Lac area for more than four decades and served on the archbishop’s Catholic Schools Commission for 15 years.
Service to Families: Deacon Mark and Jane Jansen, Holy Angels Parish, West Bend. As FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study) facilitators, they host engaged couples in their home to discuss issues the newlyweds may face. They also help prepare couples for the baptism of their children. Deacon Jansen helped create Destination Marriage, “date nights” for couples involving socialization, inspiration, practical talks and food.
Service in Liturgy: Peggy Hughes, Lumen Christi Parish, Mequon. Director of music and liturgy for 27 years for Lumen Christi Parish, Mequon (formerly St. James Parish), she is also a member of the Synod Preparation committee and the Implementation Committee.
Service to the Missions: Thomas and Karen Guszkowski, Old St. Mary Parish, Milwaukee. The Guszkowskis, as members of St. Francis Borgia Parish, Cedarburg, established a twinning relationship with a parish in Uganda.
Service to the Priesthood: Fr. Timothy Kitzke – Vicar General for Urban Ministry, co-pastor for Three Holy Women, Old St. Mary’s, Our Lady of Divine Providence, and SS. Peter and Paul. Fr. Kitzke oversaw the merging of Holy Rosary, St. Hedwig and St. Rita as Three Holy Women, Milwaukee, and his approach worked so well that he was appointed to the pastoral team of three more parishes: Old St. Mary, SS. Peter and Paul and Our Lady of Divine Mercy. He was recently appointed Vicar General of Urban Ministries for the archdiocese.
Service to the Priesthood: Capuchin Franciscan Fr. Martin Pable, Minister to Priests. Known as Br. Marty, Fr. Pable serves under the Vicar for Ordained and Lay Ecclesial Ministry to help priests cope with whatever is troubling them. He also conducts individual spiritual direction and helps out at Good Shepherd Church, Menomonee Falls.
Service in Society: Vincent Noth, Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish, Milwaukee. Noth, director of Riverwest Food Pantry, led a change in the pantry’s mission from providing emergency food to growing communities. The pantry will begin hosting dinners prepared by clients and volunteers; some of the food comes from gardens tended by groups. Cooking demonstrations are another way the pantry reaches out to the community.
John Paul II Youth Award: Abbey Gagne, St. Peter Parish, Slinger. Gagne, a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, is a violinist who plays at weekend Masses, special Masses and weddings at her parish. She also has lived out her faith when a student at Slinger High School by spending her free time volunteering in the special education department. She volunteered weekly to help a young paraplegic painter by helping him set up his supplies and holding the canvas. She also volunteered at a group home for elderly people with disabilities.
John Paul II Youth Award: Hayes Wass, St. Mary Parish, Hales Corners. Wass, a senior at Catholic Memorial High School, Waukesha, has collected shoes for the homeless, delivered Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to the poor, served on his parish’s social concerns committee, and coordinated his parish’s Lenten outreach program.