By: Marjorie Rosa
In a night full of excitement and anticipation, the 2010 “Huellas Awards” were presented. Gathered at Resurrection Parish in Winter Garden Dec. 3, nominees, joined by families and friends, enjoyed a happy evening.
“For Hispanic Ministry it is an honor to recognize these men and women who have given the extra mile in each of their ministries,” said Tomas Evans, director of the Diocese of Orlando Office of Hispanic Ministry.
In its third year, the Award of Excellence given by Hispanic Ministry was given the name of “Huellas” (footsteps). “When you see the nominees and learn what they have done for the community, we realize they are really following the footsteps of the Lord through the service they provide,” Evans explained.
Delivered in three categories, the awards recognized the work of excellence from a priest, a deacon and a layperson.
“I want to thank all my team because through them we have been able to help many people,” said Dr. Gabriel Umaña, who won in the category of layperson for his service in La Guadalupana Clinic in Ocala. The clinic started operating six years ago thanks to Umaña, nurses and secretaries. In six years, many people without health insurance have received help with basic medical needs through the clinic.
When the name of Deacon Felix Morillo of Good Shepherd Parish in Orlando was mentioned, the room echoed with joyous approval. “Thanks for this honor,” he said upon receiving his award. Several people of Good Shepherd Parish accompanied the deacon on that special night. Deacon Morillo regularly visits nursing homes as part of his ministry.
“Huellas” award in the category of priest was given to Father Paul Henry, pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in Orlando. Father Paul Henry is well-known for his commitment to all God’s people.
“Lord, I am not worthy. … I am overjoyed to be associated with the beauty of the Lord’s face to be found among all people. We are blessed to be a communion of cultures, and that is what it is all about,” Father Henry said.
“Our parish is blessed with a vibrant, diverse community and with dedicated, faithful ministers,” shared Jessica Rosado, who nominated Father Henry. “I am privileged and humbled to know their stories of faith and to see their goodness to our community in action,” Rosado added.
Hispanic Ministry received nominations for the awards from around the diocese. “I had the privilege of being in the celebration of these awards for three consecutive years and it is extremely interesting as it is becoming more difficult to select the winners from all the good nominees,” shared Yvette Hernandez, administrative assistant for Hispanic Ministry.
“Knowing how to share the word and the teachings of God, watch the delivery, dedication and committed service of many brothers as well as being living examples, has been very rewarding and inspiring to me,” Hernandez added.
Buena Nueva FM, the Spanish-language radio station of the Diocese of Orlando, also joined Hispanic Ministry at the gala awards ceremony giving “La voz celestial” (The heavenly voice). Nominated programs were ‘Mosaico de fe’ (the Mosaic of Faith), ‘Compartiendo’ (Sharing) and ‘Por el camino de Emaús’ (On the road to Emmaus). Several elements were considered when choosing the winner, such as production, technical development, program formats and of course, evangelization through radio.
‘Compartiendo,’ transmitted from St. Catherine of Siena Parish, was the recipient of ‘La voz celestial.’ “I thank God for this recognition,” said Elba Fontanez with joy. Fontanez is the producer of the program. “I also thank the station for trusting us. It is an effort of the whole parish, as the radio is part of our ministries,” Fontanez said.
Fernando Sanchez, diocesan president of Movimiento Juan XXIII (John the 23rd Movement), presented the recognition, ‘Amor, Entrega y Sacrificio’ (Love, Dedication and Sacrifice), which was also given at the gala. Father Fernando Gil and Ivelisse González received the award.
“This has made me reflect on my commitment to God, the Church and others,” said Ivelisse González. “Receiving the award ‘Amor, Entrega y Sacrificio’ took me by surprise because I believe that many people may have been worthy of it, yet it was like an alarm clock at this time of Advent. I understood that my service in recent years has borne fruit and that my commitment must be even greater,” she added.
“It was a wonderful experience, very enriching for us in the office to meet these people. I think they are living examples of true Christians and those around may feel inspired to make a work of excellence as well,” shared Thomas Evans, adding “I hope that next year many more are encouraged to nominate those people who make a difference in our communities, in our Church.”
Rosa-Lugo is station director of Buena Nueva FM 104.1.