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Twelve Finalists Selected for 35th Annual National Lumen Christi Award Honoring Service

5/9/2012 - 9:00 AM PST

Catholic PRWire

Each Finalist Receives $5,000 Grant from Catholic Extension; Recipient to Receive $50,000 Grant for Ministry and Diocese

CHICAGO, IL (May 9, 2012) - Catholic Extension today announced that it has selected 12 finalists for its 35th Annual Lumen Christi ("Light of Christ") Award. The Lumen Christi Award was established by Catholic Extension to honor the "hidden heroes" of the Catholic Church--outstanding individuals, groups or ministries that have shown an extraordinary commitment and ongoing dedication to sharing the Light of Christ through ministry in their diocese. Finalists were identified and nominated by their bishop for this honor. In the spirit of Catholic Extension's mission to build faith, inspire hope and ignite change through supporting poor mission dioceses throughout the U.S., each finalist will receive a $5,000 grant for their ministry.

The Lumen Christi Award recipient will be named this fall. The honor comes with a $50,000 grant, shared equally by the recipient and the nominating diocese. The recipient is chosen based on several factors, including a panel of judges. The public has the opportunity to show their support by voting for their favorite finalist through the Catholic Extension Facebook page now through Friday, May 25, 2012.

"The Lumen Christi Award is a perfect expression of Catholic Extension's mission," said Catholic Extension President Father Jack Wall. "Together with our donors, we want to bring the Light of Christ to the poorest and most under-resourced faith communities in America. These 12 finalists have an extraordinary passion and commitment to sharing the Light of Christ with others through their ministries, and we are pleased to honor and support them in their work as they build faith, inspire hope and ignite change throughout America."

The 12 finalists are:

David Balch of the Diocese of Monterey, a director of youth and young adult ministry

Reverend John Hatcher, SJ of the Diocese of Rapid City, a Catholic priest ministering to the Lakota community

Reverend Peter Zalewski of the Diocese of Pensacola, a Catholic priest, regional Catholic television program host and an Air Force Reserve chaplain

Gloria Coronado of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, a Catholic radio network producer and host

Jaime Torres of the Diocese of Little Rock, an associate director of Hispanic ministry and Catholic rap artist

Jesus Abrego of the Diocese of Beaumont, a director of Hispanic ministry

Lourdes Garza of the Diocese of Knoxville, a director of Hispanic ministry

Mary Pat Jahner of the Diocese of Fargo, a co-founder of a maternity home

Richard Gallegos of the Diocese of Boise, a prison ministry volunteer leader

Room at the Inn of the Diocese of Marquette, an interdenominational community shelter

Sister Mary Susanne Dziedzic, CSSF, Sister Mary Johnna Ciezobka, CSSF and Sister Mary Jacqueline Benbenek, CSSF of the Diocese of Charleston, Felician sisters working to improve community resources and safety

Sister Marie Rose Messingschlager, CDP of the Diocese of Duluth, a pastoral minister to Native American communities

About Catholic Extension
Catholic Extension uniquely contributes to the growth and vibrancy of the church in the U.S. by strategically investing in poor mission dioceses to unleash the power of faith that transforms hearts, lives and society. Based in Chicago, this national organization provides funding resources to dioceses and parishes through programs and services investing in people, infrastructure and ministries. This support is given based on need, passion and commitment to the growth of the Catholic faith. Since 1905, Catholic Extension has distributed more than $500 million to communities across America. For more information, visit


Vivid Ascent  IL, 60603 US
Renae Godish - ,  312-346-2005


Catholic Extension, Lumen Christi, Award, Ministry, Diocese, Grant, Service


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