COLORADO SPRINGS. As Christians we are called to serve without seeking recognition for that service. As Paul wrote in Philippians, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5, NIV).
While a servant shouldn’t serve to seek recognition, it is good as fellow Christians to recognize the service of others, which inspires us as an example for all. That is exactly what the Marian Award, given out each year by the St. Mary’s High School Board of Directors, does.
Nominations for the 2018 St. Mary’s High School Marian Award are now being accepted. Nominations can be submitted online or through a printable form, both of which can be found at www.smhscs.org/marian-award/. The Marian Award is presented in recognition of unselfish service to others and outstanding contributions to the community. The award has been presented annually since 2001.
In the last 16 years, St. Mary’s has honored a variety of men and women who shine the light of Christ through their service. Over that last five years those recipients have included those who have served the school, those who have served through public office, and those who have found ways to serve the greater Colorado Springs community. Here is a look at the last five recipients, which we hope will serve as an inspiration for this year’s nominations.
Mike Biondini ’66 was recognized in 2017 for his service to St. Mary’s during the past 15 years. During those years, Biondini has served as a counselor, assistant principal, and principal. He said he sees faith as how we treat others and conduct our lives daily. It is a trait that he sees reflected in the list of past Marian Award recipients. Biondini said when he looks over the list of past Marian Award recipients, he feels honored to be included, especially among so many people whom he has known and admired for so many years.
“It is quite a distinguished group of people,” Biondini said. “I’m in awe of the people who continue to come forward to support St. Mary’s.”
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers ’70 received the Marian Award in 2016. Suthers was honored for his faith-based leadership in his roles as mayor, Colorado Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for Colorado and the Fourth Judicial District Attorney. While serving in public office as a person of faith requires a delicate balance these days, Suthers has not shied away from sharing his belief in Catholic education and his support of St. Mary’s High School.
In 2015 Nick and Margaret Colarelli received the award for their service to foster families through the Fostering Hope Foundation. The foundation grew out of the desire that the Colarellis, their five children and grandchildren had to work together to give back to the community. Fostering Hope uses teams of volunteers from more than 25 faith communities in Colorado Springs to support families who foster children from traumatic and difficult backgrounds. That support includes everything from providing meals to babysitting to tutoring to helping the children get to court-mandated appointments.
Jack and Bernadette Johnston became the first married couple to receive the Marian Award, which they were given in 2014. The Johnstons were instrumental in helping to keep St. Mary’s open in the late 1980s as the school shifted from a diocesan-supported school to an independent Catholic high school. The couple has also been active in the Right to Life movement for many years.
The late Father Bill Carmody was presented with the Marian Award in 2013, even though he was a little embarrassed by the attention. Father Carmody wanted the light of his work to shine on Christ, not himself. But the St. Mary’s Board of Directors felt that Father Carmody’s work in the prolife movement was deserving of the recognition as he served as an example to the Catholic youth in the Colorado Springs community.
The remaining past Marian Award winners — including Leo Smentowski ‘54, 2001; Father Rawley Myers, 2002; Andrew Middlemist, 2003; Leonard L. Buresh, 2004; Betty Elliott Faricy ’70, 2005; John D. McCord, 2006; Bambi Venetucci, 2007; Don Mersman ’71, 2008; Thomas S. Kelly, 2009; Bishop Richard C. Hanifen, 2010; Chuck Murphy ’54, 2011; and Leroy Hoelting, 2012 — have each made significant contributions of service to the St. Mary’s family and the local community.
This year St. Mary’s asks that the St. Mary’s family and the local Catholic community will prayerfully consider nominations for the 2018 Marian Award. Whose name will be added to this distinguished group in the fall?
(Amy G. Partain is director of communications for St. Mary’s High School.)