As he looked out over the crowd for the 55th annual Archdiocese of Baltimore Division of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Recognition Celebration, retired auxiliary Bishop William C. Newman thought about baseball.
The gathering honored those who nurture the growth of the church’s promising prospects, much like the sport does with its development system.
“I was thinking that you’re sort of like minor league managers,” Bishop Newman during a homily at the Church of the Nativity in Timonium. “We have a farm system in our church. The youth are on the farm. You are working with them, refining their gifts, challenging them, supporting them and loving them.”
He paused, before jokingly adding: “We have a better farm system than the Orioles.”
The night of worship and honors brought together youth ministers, parishioners and religious from throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Twenty-five volunteers from across the archdiocese were honored for their contributions to parish youth.
Deloris Hawthorne, youth group leader of Baltimore’s St. Bernardine parish, was given the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry’s highest honor- the Companions on the Journey Award.
Mark Pacione, director of the Division of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, called Ms. Hawthorne in the weeks leading up to the ceremony to tell her she would receiving the award for her efforts on behalf of local and national youth.
“I’m just still basking in the glory and just humbled,” Ms. Hawthorne said. “When Mark called I was just so surprised.”
Ms. Hawthorne said her interactions with the youths of Baltimore and in the suburbs taught her that they are all the same.
“You wind up understanding that no matter culture divides, they want to be loved, want to be nurtured and want you to be there for them when they’re going through tough times,” she said. “I take them where they are.”
Honored with the For God and Youth Award were Marissa Alspaugh (St. Timothy, Walkersville), Frederick G. Buettner (St. Francis of Assisi Church, Baltimore), Barbara Mills (St. Ann Church, Hagerstown) and Barbara Moore (Church of the Resurrection, Ellicott City).
Monsignor Thomas L. Phillips, pastor of St. Gabriel in Woodlawn, was given the Medal of Honor for his years of service on behalf of the archdiocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting. Those in attendance spoke of Monsignor Phillips’ desire to help boys grow into leaders.
Also awarded the Medal of Honor was Lawrence Triplett, whose son is Father Michael Stephen Triplett, from Sacred Heart in Glyndon. Mr. Triplett has been guiding force in the archdiocesan soccer program and a voice of fairness in the game.
“I don’t grow tired of this,” Mr. Pacione said of honoring the adults. “We’ve been blessed with many outstanding men and women who serve Catholic youth.”