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Archives Thirty-three to be honored with awards

July 6, 2022

Bishop Terry R. LaValley will present awards for distinguished service to thirty-three individuals during a special gathering on July 10, 2022, beginning at 2 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg.

The Celebration of the Body of Christ, a gathering which is part of the 150th Anniversary of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, will begin with a recital by Mr. Donald K. Fellows on the new Cathedral organ, and a Holy Hour beginning at 3 p.m., during which the awards will be presented.

Bishop LaValley will honor thirty-three individuals in recognition of their dedicated service.

“It is most fitting to acknowledge those who have served the Body of Christ in so many ways across the years,”Bishop LaValley said. “I am grateful for all the faithful discipleship of these wonderful people.”

The following individuals will be honored:
Nominee: Mr. Bruce P. Bombard
Bruce radiates joy, warmth and welcome in his service at Saint Peter’s Church in Massena and the surrounding area. His concern and compassionate care for the breaved, homebound, and suffering are inspiring. Bruce has been very generous with his time and talents, including his ministry as a greeter and Lector at Mass. Bruce is a daily communicant and a man of prayer who has led Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary and Divine Mercy devotions in the parish.

Nominee: Mrs. Jane A. Boyea
Mrs. Jane Boyea is a life-long parishioner of St. Mary’s in Brushton. Her generous sharing of her time, talent and treasure reflect her love for St. Mary’s, the Diocese and the Church. Jane is a past Trustee, a member of St. Mary’s Finance Council and brings the Eucharist to the homebound. A Commissioned Lay Minister since 2013, she has served on the CLA Advisory Board and is a board member of The Foundation of the Diocese of Ogdensburg. She is a driving force for a wide range of parish activities, including ministry to the homebound. Jane is well loved by people of all ages and is always searching for ways to help her parish and diocese. She is a woman who has brought hope, joy and motivation to others.

Nominee: Mr. James T. Brady
James Brady is a devout Catholic who lives a life of exemplary virtue and service to his Church and his community. Jim serves his parish as Trustee, Lector and usher. Additionally, Jim oversees the parish properties and is active in the Knights of Columbus, bereavement committee and outreach programs to the poor and needy. Jim is highly respected in the community for his work in youth sports programs and Heuvelton Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, where many have benefited from his compassionate and generous service. Jim truly lives out his faith by living a life of virtue and serving others with compassion. I am deeply grateful for his leadership and positive influence on others.

Nominee: Mr. Michael B. Bresnahan, Jr.
Michael Bresnahan is devoted to His Lord and the Catholic Community of Alexandria. His service as cantor, choir member, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion reveals his humble piety and devotion to God. His steadfast support for the priests who have served at the Catholic Community of Alexandria shows his generosity of spirit and compassion for others. A devout family man, Michael has shared the blessing of his life in myriad ways, such as building community by organizing parish meals, decorating St. Cyril’s Church inside and out, and caring for the needy. Michael is an inspiration to his parish and community. I am grateful for his example of prayer and service.

Nominee: Mr. Glenn R. Burdo
Glenn is a man of service who is generous with his time, treasure and talents. No matter what the need, Glenn is always willing to lend a hand. His work as greeter, usher, helper at parish dinners, and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion allow Glenn’s devotion to God and commitment to service shine forth as a beacon of hope. He has served the Catholic Community of Saint Alexander and St. Joseph’s as a member of the Pastoral Council and Finance Council, as a Trustee and member of his parish’s Living Stone Planning team. Glenn is supportive of the bishops and priests of the diocese and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He often gives time and resources to assist with care of the church in all seasons. The diocese and Saint Alexander’s Church in Morrisonville are blessed to have him as part of the community.

Nominee: Ms. Starr L. Burke
Starr Burke is one of the primary providers of assistance to the poor and the homeless in the Plattsburgh area. Her work experience in social services and her active faith have given her a compassionate heart and the aptitude to effectively assist people in desperate situations. Her dedication to living the spiritual and corporal works of mercy have caused her to dedicate herself to outreach to the poor and homeless, to the benefit of her Church and her community. Starr has served as a Board Member to Catholic Charities and on the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Starr serves her parish as an Extraordinary Minister of Communion and catechist in the Confirmation Program. Starr also serves as an advisor to neighboring churches’ programs for the poor. Presently, in retirement, she is coordinating the efforts of Catholic Charities and the St. Joseph’s Outreach Center in Treadwell Mills to assist those with special needs, with special attention to migrants approaching the northern border. Starr provides outstanding leadership in the coordinated ministry of Catholic Charities and St. Joseph’s Outreach Center in Treadwell Mills.

Nominee: Mr. David M. Cline
David Cline’s long service to St. Patrick’s Church in Brasher Falls is inspiring. With his wife, Valerie, he founded a St. Vincent de Paul Society in Brasher Falls. From humble beginnings, by hard work and God’s grace, this ministry grew into a food panty and thrift store to serve the needs of his community. David has labored in the Lord’s vineyard over the years and has remained committed to living out his faith by serving the poorest among us. David is a Commissioned Lay Minister and serves his parish by training altar servers, Lectors and Eucharistic ministers. Dave’s life is centered on God and His Church and his service has been of great assistance to the needy. I am also grateful that David’s and Valerie’s lives of service inspired their son to dedicate his life to service as a priest in our diocese.

Nominee: Mrs. Valerie R. Cline
Valerie Cline and her husband, David, founded the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Brasher Falls and have never stopped caring for the poor and needy. Valerie lives out the spiritual and corporal works of mercy with a spirit of love and generosity. Her service as Treasurer for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, member of the Altar and Rosary Society and catechist for the religious education program has benefited generations of Catholics. Valerie is also active in the Knights of Columbus Women's Auxiliary. She is also a Lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. With her husand, Valerie inspired their son to serve the Church as a priest. I am very grateful for Valerie’s quiet and steady commitment to serve God and neighbor.

Nominee: Sister Sharon A. Dalton, S.S.J.
Sister Sharon, a consecrated member of the Sisters of St. Joseph for 53 years, has served in Catholic education as a teacher and principal throughout the Diocese of Ogdensburg. For the past 36 years, she has been the Principal of St. Mary's School in Ticonderoga. Sister Sharon has a great love for Jesus, which is evident in the way she leads St. Mary’s School and serves the greater community. Sister Sharon’s leadership and “can do” attitude were instrumental in rebuilding St. Mary’s School after a devastating fire. Her determination and loving ways have won her the admiration and respect of students, faculty, parishioners and parents. For her spiritual leadership and good example I am most grateful.

Nominee: Mrs. Ruth C. Demarse
Ruth Demarse has exhibited a love of God and neighbor in a way that has truly made her community a better place. While working full time at Alice Hyde Medical Center, Ruth made time to volunteer at the Malone Adult Center. Ruth has served fellow parishioners and neighbors by driving them to doctor appointments and by bringing Communion to the homebound. Ruth also serves her parish and community by working in the thrift store and outreach programs, and by working at parish bingos. Ruth's selfless actions and commitment to her community serves as an inspiration to her friends, family and peers, and show what it means to truly give back to one's community.

Nominee: Mr. Joseph E. Denoncourt
Joseph Denoncourt has served as an usher at St. Mary’s Cathedral for several decades. Joe has been the “go-to” man at the former St. Vincent de Paul Society (now Our Lady’s Outreach) for anyone seeking assistance. He has been the Treasurer until this past year, when personal illness, COVID, and care for his wife demanded more of his time. He has served on the Pastoral Council, as an usher and in many other ministries. Joe is a devout Catholic who exemplifies service. I am grateful for Joseph’s effective service and for his joyful disposition as he lives out his faith.

Nominee : Mrs. Patricia J. Fassett
A daily Mass participant, Patricia Fassett has been and remains a very active member of St. Mary’s Cathedral parish. Pat has a lively faith life and a deep concern for others. For many years, she has been an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, both to the home-bound and at St. Joseph’s Home. Her decades of work at the Outreach Store continues, volunteering many hours each week. Pat is an outstanding Catholic. I am inspired by Pat’s witness to the faith and the way she joyfully lives out her faith.

Nominee: Mr. Pat A. Fontana, Sr.
Pat Fontana Sr.’s legacy as Principal at Immaculate Heart Central school is a near perfect example of Catholic service. As a father, husband, teacher, administrator, and Principal of IHC, he fulfilled the goal of Catholic education: which is forming disciples of Jesus Christ. His spirituality is well developed, and it was very evident in his leadership. He gave many examples of his rich interior life in his dealings with faculty, parents and students. He helped many schools in the diocese with his ideas and creativity and his willingness to share. He worked hard to make IHC an excellent Catholic school. He loved the Sisters of St. Joseph and honored them as the special women they are. Pat’s active faith and his generous participation in the life of the Church are inspiring.

Nominee : Deacon Gary A. Frank
Deacon Gary A. Frank has served the people of the North Country consistently and well. Gary has been active in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults for many years. Gary is dedicated to sharing his faith with others and serving his faith community. Gary and his wife, Gayle, have worked with couples preparing for marriage and have worked to enhance family life by their ministry in the Family Life Office of the Diocese and the Family Guggenheim program. They also support the youth of the Diocese through their involvement at Guggenheim Summer Camp and their involvement in Youth Ministry on the diocesan and parish levels. Gary was ordained a permanent deacon in 1996 and has served in the parishes of St. Mary’s in Clayton and St. John the Baptist in Lafargeville. I am grateful for his generous service and commitment to forming faithful disciples.

Nominee: Mrs. Gayle G. Frank
Gayle G. Frank has consistently shared her faith in the hope of forming young Catholics, strengthening marriage, helping others to grow in their knowledge of God, and calling others to reflect God’s love and mercy in their lives. To this end, Gayle has served as a catechist and catechetical leader in her parish, director of the Diocesan Family Life Office, Diocesan Youth Minister, and leader of Guggenheim Summer Camp and Family Guggenheim weekends. With her husband, Deacon Gary Frank, she has worked with couples preparing for marriage and with married couples seeking to enhance their marriage and family life. By her hard work and good example, she has assisted others in growing closer to the Lord and becoming committed disciples.

Nominee: Mrs. Connie M. Hatch-Young
In 1996, Connie Hatch-Young volunteered to help for a few weeks as the parish bookkeeper at Saint Patrick’s Church in Colton. After six pastors and a few decades, she continues to serve and does more than just help. She is both competent and kind. She is also a woman of deep faith. Connie has done exemplary work as “the face of the Church” for countless people and priests who have come to the parish and remains very involved in both parish and community events. Her service is given with both joy and generosity.

Nominee: Mr. Jeremiah M. Hayes
Jeremiah Hayes, a native of St. Mary’s Church in Potsdam, moved with his family to Tupper Lake in 1977 to practice Law. Jerry has served for decades on the boards of several Sisters of Mercy ministries including Mercy General Hospital Board in Tupper Lake, Mercy Healthcare Center in Tupper Lake, and Mercy Care for the Adirondacks, for which he currently serves as president. He is a past member of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities. Jerry also served on the Board of the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, where he served as Chair. He is a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Adirondack Foundation. At St. Alphonsus Parish, Jerry has served as a member of the Pastoral and Finance Councils, and as Lector. Charity and justice and living out the social Gospel of the Church, have been hallmarks of Jeremiah M. Hayes, for which he has my deepest respect and gratitude.

Nominee: Mrs. Eileen K. Hayes
In 1997 Eileen Hayes and her family moved from Potsdam to Tupper Lake. Eileen worked as a teacher and, with her husband, raised five wonderful children. Eileen has been active with Mercy Care of the Adirondacks, reaching out to the elderly of the area. She originated early childhood education at Holy Ghost Academy in Tupper Lake and taught there for many years. With her husband, Eileen has been committed to living out her faith and the social teaching of the Church by loving God and neighbor. Her commitment to the domestic church and Catholic education will produce fruits for the Church for years to come.

Nominee: Mr. Gerald J. LaValley
Like Simeon and Anna, Gerald LaValley and his wife, Darlene, are always in Church, and like Simeon and Anna they direct our attention to Christ. He serves as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and volunteers in the Food Pantry or by providing other services. While raising five children, Gerry and Darlene also fostered over sixty children from troubled homes throughout the years. They are an excellent example of married life and recently celebrated their sixty-second anniversary. They share their experience as catechists in the Pre-Cana Marriage Program. Gerry serves as a Lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at Mass and to the homebound. Though retired, Gerry helped to restore St. Ann's Church and continues to offer his carpentry skills to help his parish and assist others in the area with small tasks.

Nominee : Mrs. Darlene M. LaValley
Like Simeon and Anna, Darlene LaValley and her husband, Gerald, are always in Church, and like Simeon and Anna they direct our attention to Christ. Darlene serves as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and volunteers in the Food Pantry or by providing other services. While raising five children, Gerry and Darlene also fostered over sixty children from troubled homes throughout the years. They are an excellent example of married life and recently celebrated their sixty-second anniversary. They share their experience as catechists in the Pre-Cana Marriage Program.

Nominee: Dr. Victor W. Ludwig
Victor Ludwig, and his wife Barbara, are long time parishioners of Holy Cross Parish in Plattsburgh. Dr. Ludwig lives out his faith in quiet ways that have a positive impact on his parish and community. As a physician, Dr. Ludwig was known for his compassion and concern for his patients. In addition to caring for their physical well-being, he also reflected to his patients the compassion and power of Jesus, the healer of souls. His musical talents enhance liturgies at Holy Cross Parish. Additionally, Victor and Barbara serve as sacristans and help with liturgical decorations in their parish. They were instrumental in obtaining the statue of St. John the Baptist when that Church building was renovated.

Nominee: Mrs. Barbara C. Ludwig
Barbara Ludwig and her husband, Victor, are long time parishioners of Holy Cross Parish in Plattsburgh. Barbara serves as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, sacristan and member of the liturgical environment team that decorates the Church inside and out. Barbara and Victor were instrumental in obtaining the statue of St. John the Baptist when that Church building was renovated.

Nominee : Ms. Leslie A. Marvel
Leslie Marvel remains an effective administative assistant and bookkeeper for the parishes in the Plattsburgh area. She served at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church in Cumberland Head, St. John the Baptist Church, and presently at Holy Cross Parish. Her dedicated service and competence was a blessing during the consolidation of the parishes of Plattsburgh. Leslie has also served her Church as a catechist and catechetical leader in the religious education program, leader and teacher in the Vacation Bible School, and coordinator of parish festivals and fundraisers. She is a Commissioned Lay Minister and served on the Eastern Region CLM Advisory Board. Leslie’s competent service and faithfulness have earned her the respect of her pastors, fellow employees, parishioners and her community.

Nominee: Mr. Angelo E. Pietropaoli and Mrs. Suzanne Paietropaoli
Angelo and Suzanne Pietropaoli, from St. André’s Parish in Malone, have been tireless in their work of sharing the Church’s teaching on married love and authentic sexuality. In a world increasingly hostile to the teachings of our faith, their faithfulness, perseverence and courage are so very admirable. They have “walked the walk” in raising their own family, and their children now give witness to the Catholic faith in beautiful and varied ways. Since 1980, Suzanne and Angelo have been instructors and now coordinate the diocesan Natural Family Planning Program. They are active in the Catholic pro-life movement both locally and nationally through ministries like Birthright, Life Chain and the annual March for Life. Together they led a charismatic prayer group and remain active at the Our Lady of the Adirondacks House of Prayer in Ellenburg Center. Angelo was a catechist in Religious Education group. He is in his fourth decade serving as an organist at Saint André Bessette Parish. Angelo helped form the St. André’s Brothers men’s group and is a Third Degree Knight of Columbus.

Nominee: Mrs. Elsie L. Scruggs
Mrs. Elsie Gabri Scruggs is and has been, for decades, a pillar of the Catholic community and a true icon of Christian service in Massena. She and her husband, the late Carl Scruggs Sr., were steadfast supporters of the parish and school for many years. A Commissioned Lay Minister, Elsie remains joyful, passionate, supportive and deeply faithful. For years, Elsie has been a daily Mass communicant. She was very involved as a Lector and in the Sacred Heart Church music ministry as a pianist and organist. Additionally, she gave countless hours of service to Sacred Heart School, and later Trinity Catholic School, joyfully supporting student engagement and fundraising efforts with her musical gifts. She consistently served the elderly at the St. Regis Nursing Home, leading the Rosary and playing music for Mass each week. Elsie was also instrumental in forming and leading an active bereavement outreach and support ministry in Massena and is a Lay Associate of the Servants of Mary.

Nominee : Mrs. Mary Catherine Spilman
Mary Catherine Spilman has been a faithful Catholic her entire life. Mary Catherine generously shares her musical skills as organist for weekend, holy day and funeral Masses at Our Lady of Grace Parish. Additionally, she supports her parish by serving on the hospitality committee and Altar and Rosary Society. Mary Catherine has supported the diocese by working as an administrative assistant in the Diocesan Education Office, and as a volunteer assisting with the archives and special projects at the Chancery Office. Mary Catherine allows her faith to shine forth through her generous service and her good example.

Nominee: Mrs. Donna J. Steenberg
Donna Steenberg is a long-time parishioner of St. Patrick's Church in Brasher Falls. Donna successfully coordinated the Gabriel Project for close to 20 years and continues to lead its team of volunteers assisting mothers in need. She is currently an elementary school administrator. Donna ministered as both a catechist and later as the catechetical leader in her parish. Donna’s faithful service and good example have won her the admiration and respect of her parish family and community. Her work has been a source of blessing for mothers in need and the young people in her parish and community.

Nominee: Mr. Daniel J. Sweeney
Daniel Sweeney is a great example of Catholic service. He has been an active member of the Saint Mary’s Church in Canton and a member of the Education Council, Finance Council, and is the Grand Knight of the local Knights of Columbus. He is a man of the Church. He knows the local Church history better than anyone in the parish, but he does not live in the past. He knows and respects clergy and religious, and he loves his married life. Dan gives the best example of someone living out the lay apostolate. He continues to be involved with Catholic education and service to his parish.

Nominee: Sister Mary Christine Taylor, S.S.J.
Sister Mary Christine Taylor, SSJ has been a force for good in the Diocese of Ogdensburg for more than half of the 150 year existence of the diocese. Scholar, historian, author, teacher, administrator and pastoral minister is a short list of the roles she has played in educating others about God and nurturing their faith. Sister Christine served as a professor of history and religious studies at Mater Dei College, Wadhams Hall Seminary College, and St. Regis Mohawk Branch Campus of Mater Dei . She taught at Catholic schools in Watertown, AuSable Forks, Massena and Carthage. While teaching, she also filled administrative positions, such as a member of the Saint Joseph Leadership Council, academic dean at Mater Dei College and its Mohawk Branch campus, and academic dean at Wadhams Hall Seminary College. Sister Christine’s faith in God and love of learning has been a blessing for countless students across the diocese and across the years, but special mention of her work and life among the Mohawks at Akwasasne needs to be made. Sister Christine was the driving force behind the expansion of Mater Dei College onto the reservation and a driving force behind pastoral outreach efforts for the Saint Regis Mission Church. In addition to serving as administrator and teacher at the St. Regis Branch Campus, Sister Christine helped establish the Office of the Aging of the Mohawk Nation and Partridge House, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program on the reservation. Sister Christine’s work has brought her a number of awards, but her only motivation has been to give glory to God. Recognizing that no award can adequately express our gratitude and respect for all Sister Christine has done, I offer this award as a token of our gratitude and affection for her. I cannot overstate the positive impact Sr. Christine has had on our diocese and our Church.

Nominee: Mr. Michael J. Tooley
Michael Tooley has served as the Diocesan Fiscal Officer for twenty years. In this capacity he has overseen a fiscal office that is supportive of the many parishes, ministries, programs and entities in our diocese. Mike has supported four bishops in his role of Diocesan Fiscal Officer by his leadership and good stewardship. Mike supported his community for many years by serving on the public school board of education. Mike served as a catechist in the Confirmation program at Notre Dame Church for many years. Mike and his family continue to support their parish in many ways. I am most grateful for Mike’s dedicated service to the diocese and his faithful participation in the life of his parish.

Nominee: Miss Michelle E. Watkins
Michelle Watkins and Youth Ministry in the diocese have been linked together for decades. At Camp Guggenheim, in the heart of the Adirondacks, Michelle served as counselor and Waterfront Director for four summers before beginning an eleven year stretch as Camp Director. Making the celebration of the Eucharist, the sacrament of Penance and faith-filled service the mainstays of life at Camp Guggenheim, Michelle touched the lives of countless youths and helped them appreciate the beauty of our Catholic Faith and the joy of being a disciple of Jesus. Michelle possesses a rare ability to share her deep faith and relate to teens. Michelle is an active parishioner at Saint Stephen's Church in Croghan and Saint Francis Solanus Church in Harrisville. She serves as Lector and supports parish Youth Ministry through retreat weekends, hiking trips and outreach programs. She shares her knowledge and gifts with parishes across the diocese and other camps. She is an award-winning teacher of Biology and Environmental Science at Beaver River Central School. Michelle is most generous with her time and the gifts and talents God has given her. Michelle’s tireless efforts and outstanding witness have won her the admiration and respect of the people in our diocese and beyond.

Nominee: Mrs. Linda F. Young
In 1985, Linda Young, a parishioner at St. Agnes Church in Lake Placid, launched the Ecumenical Food Pantry. There was a need to address the real poverty hidden in what was seen as an affluent village. Guided by her faith and aided by a tireless work ethic and persuasive example, she convinced others to provide for the poor and needy through the food pantry and thrift shop. Working out of the basement at St. Agnes Church, Linda’s efforts built a network of care for those on the margins of society. Whether it be a Thanksgiving meal, scholarships for the young, shelter for the homeless or furniture for those who had none, Linda’s leadership has created a bond of love with those who struggle to get by each day. Her humble approach to ministry and her good example have brought out the best of those who serve and those who are served. Her faithful participation in the life of St. Agnes Church is a further sign of her love for the Lord.

The Bishop Wadhams Award was instituted by Bishop Paul Loverde, the eleventh Bishop of Ogdensburg, in 1996, to recognize exceptional service to the Diocese of Ogdensburg by people of the North Country. Previous recipients of the Award include Father Richard Siepka (former rector of Wadhams Hall Seminary), Monsignor Lawrence M. Deno (former Superintendent of Catholic Schools), Mrs. Mary Lou Kilian (Former editor of the North Country Catholic), Monsignor Robert Giroux (former Vicar General), Dr. Gerald Irwin (former professor at Wadhams Hall and Peritus for the Diocesan Tribunal), Sister Kathryn Healy (Chaplain, St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center), Dr. A. B. DeGrandpre (former Knight of the Holy Sepulcher, friend and benefactor of St. John’s Academy, Mount Assumption Institute and Seton Catholic Central School), Clyde A. Lewis, Sr. (Knight of Malta, formation of Bishop’s Heritage Circle), Thomas and Claudia Sanders (Pre-Cana directors and hosts in the international student program at Seton Catholic High School), Henry and Huguette Domingos of Potsdam, New York ( Formation for Ministry Program, Serra Club founders, ministry in their parish), Sr. Donna Franklin, DC (Catholic Charities director for 22 years), Sally Rusaw, Ogdensburg (prison ministry, archivist, teaching), Irving Papineau (board member, catechist, and treasurer of Saint Kateri Hall, Hogansburg), Elaine Cook (administrative assistant, pastoral associate to homebound at St. Regis Mission) and Noreen Barcomb (Sacred Heart Parish, Chazy, catechist, youth minister).

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