|Bishop Sample speaks before presenting the|
Catholic Services Award to Edna on July 27th.
|Edna receives the award from the Bishop.|
|With her daughters Linda and Phyllis.|
|Edna shows off the award.|
|Bishop Sample blesses the reception held at St Anthony's in Edna's honor yesterday.|
Because Edna's health had deteriorated a little, Bishop Sample first presented the Award to Edna on Friday July 27th at the Brookridge Assisted Living facility to which she had just moved. However, Edna was determined to make it for the previously arranged date of September 2nd and, thank God, she was able to be with us. The parish erupted into a spontaneous standing ovation when Edna was wheeled to the sanctuary for the presentation of the award at the end of Mass yesterday.
Other photographs were taken - I'll update the post with a link but check out the UP Catholic Facebook page.
Here is the citation that the Chair of our parish council, Mrs Sandy Hause, submitted as we nominated Edna for this award. It will give you some idea of what an extraordinary person she is.
Commitment to the mission of the Catholic ChurchEndorsements from parishioners, as well her pastor (me) were also submitted.
Edna Hocking is a life-long member and a "forever-giving" member of St Anthony Parish in Gwinn and we treasure her! She has served in countless positions and immeasurable committees for many, many years, but the one that she is most proud of is her 75 years as an active member of the Choir of St Anthony Parish! A rare distinction that no one has held before her and I dare say it will never be accomplished again! She joined the choir as a young girl and as the years went by, she was asked to lead daily "Latin Mass" along with many other distinctions at weekly Mass. Even though she was working with her husband in their store and then at the Gwinn Bank before her retirement, she never ever faltered in her dedication to her God, her parish, her choir! She is an exemplary witness to her Faith by never missing an opportunity to use her voice to praise God in all special devotions, for funerals, and all Masses. You can always depend on her to be there, no matter what it takes to make sure that it happens. Please allow me to also mention that by her example, her two daughters both began singing in our choir and then in their own respective parishes after they began their careers. Her daughter Linda is the organist at St Joseph Parish in Sioux Ste Marie, MI and has shared her talents with us on many occasions; many times when we were urgently in need of an organist.
It is extremely difficult to know where to start and, indeed, where to end explaining Edna's qualities in this category. She inspires all of us that work with her or know her, on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, I never try to schedule any meeting that she would be involved with unless I talk to her first!! Her schedule is that jam-packed! Though she has had a few health problems of late, she simply works with and around them and keeps on going!
She has been an officer and active member of our Altar Society since its inception and its is joy and a gift to be able to have her share all those years of knowledge with us which reminds us that we have the same goals in mind always. Serving! She has been on every committee possible associated with this organization, from elaborate dinners and fund-raisers to Carnival planning and numerous other special events through the years, but I believe that she would tell you that her copious amount of hours spent working on the Funeral Luncheon Team has been (and is) her greatest joy! Being part of that special group of ladies who immediately drop everything in their own lives in order to ensure these grieving families, having lost loved ones, are well cared for and shown mercy and love is of utmost importance to her. There is never a family who not only appreciates the donation of food and service time, but who feel truly blessed by the Corporal Work of Mercy when their hears are so sorrowful.
In additions, she performs this same service at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Member. In either organization, she is on the phone like lightening to ensure enough donations are secured to feed everyone, and in Gwinn, that can be a lot of people! She is very active in this organization as well and is their past-president, along with many other leading roles. Her leadership in their ever on-going Pasty Project is heralded far and wide! She arrives by 5:00 a.m. on Pasty Day and always says it is "just to try to get a jump on things!" She continues to mentor and inspire and still work banquets for them as well. Like I said, "forever-giving" is our Edna!
Edna is a member of our St Anthony Parish Pastoral Council and our Finance Council. Her ability to remember specific facts and numbers is utterly amazing and she never, ever ceases to participate by sharing her much-valued assessments or input and ideas to a given topic or situation. We are so enriched by her wisdom.
In addition to all that I have shared with you, there are many other organizations to which Edna belongs and is a vital link in their objectives and goals. They are as follows:
Forsyth Township Library Board Member ... currently extremely busy working on plans and development for a new Library in Gwinn.
Historical Society of Gwinn ... lends her mind and ideas to his important organization that honors and chronicles the founding of his Community.
"Share Food Group" ... For 20 years she arrived at our local Club House at 5:30 a.m. to receive and check in the food truck that came from Wisconsin for orders placed through her. Another prime example of her fierce dedication to whatever she does and for whomever she does it! The behind the scenes time this project took is unreal!
"Merry Mixers" and work in the Senior Center ... [Edna's leadership in this was explained in an attachment to the submission.]
Study Club of Gwinn ... This group has been in existence for many years in Gwinn and they study everything from books to engaging guest speakers that will educate and enlighten them on any number of subjects. She never misses!
"The Red Hats" of Gwinn ... And the, just for fun, she joined the "Red Hats!" How could a "gal" miss the opportunity for a lovely meal at a great place, or a trip to Michigamme shops, or an Ice Cream Social! I just had to add this because it just further exemplifies that Edna never stops inspiring by her service, her devotion, her beautiful radiant sharing of her time and talents with everyone and every group she serves on and always, serving her God is most important in her life. The Holy Spirit guides her and she "preaches and teaches" with every action she takes. "As often as you do it one of the least of my brothers, you do it for me", said our Lord and I think this is certainly the scriptural quotation that embodies how Edna lives her life, consistently and faithfully for so many years.
In presenting the award, Bishop Sample remarked that when he telephoned Edna to inform her of the award, she said she didn't want it! After a little persuasion, she accepted. This was, the Bishop said, the reaction of one who truly deserved the award.
I hope that others in the parish, especially our young, will be inspired by Edna's example of service to God, Church and Society.