Our Office for Hispanic Catholics will celebrate the 13th annual Noche de Gala, this Friday evening, September 30, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace.
Cardinal George will be there with us at this very special annual recognition dinner and award ceremony honoring Catholics who serve and work in Hispanic ministry in the Archdiocese. Nearly 1,000 people, representing almost 150 parishes offering Hispanic ministry and various archdiocesan agencies, are expected to attend.
The evening will also be an occasion for welcoming our new Auxiliary Bishop and liaison for the Hispanic community, Most Rev. Alberto Rojas,
The Noche de Gala theme, Our Church, Forever Young, Forever Faithful, was selected in conjunction with the Archdiocese’s Year of Teens and Young Adults and the recent World Youth Day in Madrid, and is dedicated to young Catholics in the Archdiocese. All funds raised from this event will be allocated for pastoral ministry with Latino youth.
I would like to share with you the following brief bios of those groups and individuals who will be receiving awards for their dedication to Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago:
Rev. Msgr. Leo Mahon will receive the Blessed Pope John XXIII Award in recognition of priestly dedication to Hispanic ministry. Msgr. Mahon is regarded by many as one of the pioneers of ministry to the Hispanic community in the Archdiocese of Chicago.He was responsible for the formation of various movements and organizations and it was through these movements that a massive evangelization of the Hispanic community took place, thanks to the incredible efforts of Monsignor Leo Mahon.
Misioneras Hijas de San Pio X will receive the St. Teresa of Avila Award in recognition of a woman religious or community in Hispanic ministry. The Missionary Daughters of Saint Pius X are the very deserving recipients of this Award. Twenty-five years ago, the sisters were invited by Bishop Juan Manz, who at that time was the pastor of St. Agnes of Bohemia, to help with evangelization and catechesis. Since then they have served our archdiocese in various parishes as needed, currently ministering at St. Agnes of Bohemia, St. Roman and Epiphany parishes. The sisters dedicate their lives entirely to the service of God and His church from whom they receive their mission and to which they dedicate themselves as consecrated women.
Deacon Feliciano (Felix) Crespo will receive the Saint Stephen Award, in recognition of a deacon in Hispanic ministry. Deacon Crespo, ordainedas a permanent deacon in 1985, has concentrated his ministry on evangelization and on finding new and diverse ways of taking the Good News to the people of God. Preaching and teaching are the key tools of his ministry. After 26 years, Felix continues to exercise his ministry in the St. Wenceslaus and St. Viator parishes as well as in the Semilla evangelization ministry.
Ignacio “Nacho” Perez will receive the Gaudium et Spes Award in recognition of Hispanic lay ministry. Nacho has been a great example of perseverance, generosity and faith in spite of his medical condition. He has been able to maximize his creativity, intelligence and generosity to the enrichment of his youth group and the youth ministry of Chicago. He is the ideal example of what a blessing our youth is to the church.
St. Gall AGAPE Youth Group will receive the Blessed Pope John Paul II Award, in recognition of a teen or young adult or group.It is fitting that the Blessed John Paul II Ministry Award be presented to the youth group Agape, a name that means unconditional and sacrificial love towards self, others and God. Nearly 200 teens and young adults come together on a weekly basis to share each other’s’ lives, experiences and their faith. This group, having been formed during Holy Week 2010, serves as a testament as well as a powerful evangelization tool here in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
We are also delighted that Enrique Rodriguez, a reporter and anchor for Univision News Chicago, will be the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. There will also be entertainment and dancing follow the awards ceremony.
Please join us and our honorees if you can. We have more information about Noche de Gala on our Office for Hispanic Catholics website.