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BOSTON -- Is there someone in your life who has played a pivotal role in bringing you closer to Christ?
Have you ever wondered how to thank them?
At this year’s Boston Catholic Men’s and Women’s Conferences, March 17-18, attendees are being given that opportunity.
For the first time, the Boston Catholic Men’s and Women’s Conferences will be presenting Catholics of the Year Awards. One award recipient will be selected from each of the five categories: priest of the year, layman of the year, laywoman of the year, religious woman of the year, and deacon or religious man of the year.
Karl Worth, member of the leadership team for the conferences explained, “The awards have a dual purpose: to celebrate, encourage, and bless those nominated in their work and faith, and to encourage and inspire Catholics in our region by holding up examples of holiness and God’s work in our midst.”
“With these awards, we hope to put up on a stand the humble good deeds of those in our midst so that they can give even greater light to us all and so that we can together glorify our heavenly Father,” Worth continued.
Scot Landry, co-coordinator of the conferences said, “One of the things our team is hoping the nomination process will solve is the criticism that ‘You hear so many negative things about the Catholic Church.’ This is hopefully a way to bring to light some of the good being done.”
“We hope to salute people who have helped renew the Church at this difficult time,” he added.
According to Landry, only conference attendees can submit a nomination. However, attendees can nominate one person in each of the five categories. Submissions can be made either online or on a paper form, he said.
When nominating a person, the form asks the person to describe, with specific stories and examples, how this nominee impacts people’s lives, faith, and holiness.
The nomination period began Jan. 15 and will continue until the Feb. 15 deadline. Even though nominations have only been accepted for one week, so far over 200 nominations have already been made, Landry said.
“Our hope is that we will get thousands of nominations,” he said. “There are so many good stories going on in the archdiocese and we are hoping to hear many of them.”
Once the nomination period has closed, the 22-member leadership team will choose the person in each category who “most stands out,” Landry said.
In addition, if enough nominations are made, Landry is hoping to create a calendar, “365 Pieces of Good News,” he called it, in which subscribers will receive a daily Web mailing with one of the nomination stories.
Winners of the Catholics of the Year Awards will be recognized at this year’s men’s and women’s conferences which will be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. According to Landry, the male recipients will receive their awards during the men’s conference, held on Saturday, March 17 -- the feast day of the archdiocese. The women will receive their awards during the women’s conference held the following day.
Mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley at the conclusion of the Men’s Conference.
This years’ conferences will feature a variety of speakers including Rwandan-born author Immaculée Ilibagiza, and Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus. Cardinal O’Malley is scheduled to address both the men’s and women’s conferences.
According to Landry, over 6,000 tickets to both conferences have already been sold.
“We are way ahead of the women’s conference that was just getting started this time last year, and we are ahead of the men’s conference from previous years as well,” he said.
For more information on the Boston Catholic Men’s Conference or the Boston Catholic Women’s Conference, or to nominate a person for Catholic of the Year, call 617-316-1098 or visit www.bostoncatholicmen.org or www.bostoncatholicwomen.org.