SCRANTON (Sept. 30, 2020) – Five educators in the Diocese of Scranton Catholic School System are being honored for their commitment to Catholic education and being faith-filled examples to young people.
During the Catholic Schools Opening Mass, held Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, each educator received the Saint John Paul II Award for 25 or more years of dedicated service to Catholic education in the Diocese of Scranton.
The recipients include: Ann D’Arienzo, Our Lady of Peace School in Clarks Green; Yvonne Gordon of Holy Rosary School in Duryea; Shari Hilfiger of All Saints Academy in Scranton; Patricia Hopkins of All Saints Academy in Scranton and Sister Karen Steinberg, I.H.M., of Saint Clare/Saint Paul School in Scranton.
“I feel very proud and humbled,” D’Arienzo said after receiving her award from the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton.
During their many years of service, each educator has created an environment to help young people grow and learn.
“I love watching their faces as they connect. It is just amazing,” Sister Karen Steinberg, I.H.M., explained.
The Catholic Schools Opening Mass, celebrated by Bishop Bambera, was broadcast live to all 19 schools throughout the diocese and made available to students taking part in the Diocesan Virtual Academy. Parents and community members were also invited to join in watching the Mass.
Hilfiger, who teaches third grade at All Saints Academy, credits her students for continuing to make her educational experience enjoyable. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, her students have remained positive.
“It has been absolutely amazing. The children have been so receptive. They come in every day and they’re so eager to follow the rules so that we can be there and engage and learn,” Hilfiger said. “We can tell by the smiles on the children every morning that this is where we’re supposed to be.”
Gordon says leading young people to know, love and serve God has been a privilege.
“It is sharing your faith, helping them along the way. It’s a commitment, a vocation, where you want to share with the children what you know about God and your own relationship with God,” she explained.
As she announced the recipients of the Saint John Paul II Award, Catholic Schools Superintendent Kristen Donohue thanked each educator for their service.
“To them, who so diligently teach, lead, inspire, challenge, mentor, affirm and encourage, we express our sincerest gratitude and our heartfelt prayer for their faithful service to the ministry of Catholic education in the Diocese of Scranton,” Donohue said.