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Chicago (September 27, 2011) - The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Hispanic Catholics will celebrate the 13th annual Noche de Gala, at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, September 30, at the Drury Lane, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago, will attend this annual recognition dinner and award ceremony that honors 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.

In addition to the regular awards and presentation, the evening will also be an occasion for welcoming the 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.

The following individuals will receive awards in recognition of work and 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. Regarded by many as one of the pioneers of ministry to the Hispanic community in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Msgr. Mahon 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.

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. Twenty-five years ago, the Missionary Daughters of Saint Pius X were invited by Bishop John Manz, who at that time was the pastor of St. Agnes of Bohemia, to help with evangelization and catechesis.  Since then they have served the Archdiocese of Chicago at numerous parishes and currently are ministering at St. Agnes of Bohemia, St. Roman and Epiphany parishes.

Deacon Feliciano (Felix) Crespo - will receive the Saint Stephen Award, in recognition of a deacon in Hispanic ministry. Deacon Crespo, ordained as 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 through his preaching and teaching.  After 26 years, he continues to exercise his ministry at 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. Perez has been a great example of perseverance, generosity and faith to his youth group and the youth ministry of Chicago while dealing with a serious medical condition.

St. Gall AGAPE Youth Group – will receive the Blessed Pope John Paul II Award, in recognition of a teen or young adult or group. The youth group Agape, a name that means unconditional and sacrificial love towards self, others and God, is composed of 200 teens and young adults who come together on a weekly basis to share each other’s’ lives, experiences and their faith.

Enrique Rodriguez, news reporter and anchor for Univision Chicago, will be the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.

Entertainment and dancing follow the awards ceremony. 

For more information, please call Fr. Marco Mercado, Director, Office for Hispanic Catholics, 312-534-1080 or visit

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